Monday, November 28 2022

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid ran away with the Hart Trophy last season, picking up all 100 first-place votes, as he scored 105 points in the shortened 56-game season.

This year, the MVP race is loaded with possibilities.

McDavid won the scoring race again, with 123 points, but there are seven others from playoff teams who have 100-point seasons. Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews is the NHL’s first 60-scorer since 2011-12 and three others have 50 goals. Even a goalie, New York Rangers‘ Igor Shesterkin, could be in the mix.

The NHL announced its schedule for revealing the three finalists for each award: May 9, Norris (defenseman); May 10, Vezina (goaltender), May 11, Calder (rookie), May 12, Hart (MVP, writers vote), May 13, Ted Lindsay (MVP, players vote), May 16, Masterton (perseverance), May 17, Selke (defensive forward), May 18, Lady Byng (sportsmanship), May 19, Adams (coach), and May 20, King Clancy (humanitarian)

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USA TODAY Sports’ NHL staffers are here to make their picks for some of the top regular-season awards:

Hart Trophy

Jimmy Hascup: McDavid

Mike Brehm: Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames

Jace Evans: Matthews

This seems to be one of the more competitive Hart Trophy races in years – with forwards Matthews, Gaudreau, McDavid, Leon Draisaitl (Oilers), Jonathan Huberdeau (Panthers), Kirill Kaprizov (Wild) and goalie Igor Shesterkin (Rangers) worthy of receiving votes. Matthews led the league in goals and had 106 points (sixth), while McDavid finished seventh in goals (44) and first in points (123). Gaudreau was an offensive catalyst for the Flames all season with 40 goals and 115 points, which tied for second.

Vezina Trophy

Hascup: Shesterkin

Brehm: Shesterkin

Evans: Shesterkin

An argument could be made that Shesterkin is an MVP contender. In a season that saw scoring reach its highest mark since 1995-96, he carried the Rangers, who often struggled to defend around the net. If you like the traditional stats, Shesterkin’s 2.07 goals-against average leads the league. So does his .935 save percentage. He ranks sixth in wins. If the fancier stats are more your thing, he ranks first in goals saved above expected at 34.1. He’s probably the surest lock for any of the major awards.

Finalists (listed alphabetically): Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames; Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators; Shesterkin

New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin seems a lock to win the Vezina Trophy, but could he be in the mix for NHL MVP?New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin seems a lock to win the Vezina Trophy, but could he be in the mix for NHL MVP?

New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin seems a lock to win the Vezina Trophy, but could he be in the mix for NHL MVP?

Norris Trophy

Hascup: Roman Josi, Predators

Brehm: Josi

Evans: Josi

Josi paced all defensemen with 96 points while Colorado’s Cale Makar led defensemen with 28 goals and finished with 86 points in 77 games. Josi finished first, slightly ahead of Makar, in points per 60 minutes at even strength and both averaged about the same time on ice per game. Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman will be in the mix, as always.

Finalists (listed alphabetically): Hedman, Josi, Makar

Jack Adams

Hascup: Darryl Sutter, Flames

Brehm: Sutter

Evans: Andrew Brunette, Panthers

Sutter replaced Geoff Ward last season and now the Flames are playing like everyone expected. Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane had career years under Sutter. The Flames’ ranking in goals per game jumped from 20th last season to sixth while their goals-against average went from 16th to third. Brunette led the Panthers to the league’s best record after replacing coach Joel Quenneville, who resigned. Mike Sullivan, who led the Penguins to a 103-point season despite Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin missing significant time, and Minnesota’s Dean Evason are among those also in the mix.

Calder Trophy

Hascup: Moritz Seider, Red Wings

Brehm: Seider

Evans: Seider

Forwards Michael Bunting, the flashy Trevor Zegas and Lucas Raymond led NHL rookies in scoring, but Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider was fourth with 50 points. He was 20 for most of the season and showed poise at a position that requires a lot of adjustment at the NHL level. He led the Red Wings in ice time at more than 23 minutes a game, killed penalties and played the power play.

Finalists (listed alphabetically): Bunting, Seider, Zegras

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL award picks: MVP race a toss-up; Igor Shesterkin lock for Vezina?

Source: Yahoo Sports

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