Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award – Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
There’s not much more McDavid could’ve done to earn this acknowledgment that he’s the NHL’s most valuable player.
He just produced the 15th-highest point-scoring season in league history with only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemeiux, and Steve Yzerman ever besting his 153 points. He also led the NHL in goals, helped drive the league’s best power play, and even played more penalty minutes than he ever had in his career.
No player came within 20 points of McDavid’s total, and he logged more ice time than any other forward. He was unquestionable the NHL’s greatest offensive force — and while of the NHL’s superstars might be able to claim they made a greater defensive contribution, the gap in offensive production was too big for those cases to gain steam.
The Oilers superstar’s claim the award is extremely difficult to nitpick, and this Hart Trophy is the third of his career — making him one of just nine players with at least three. He’s got a good chance to add to that collection considering he’s just 26, and one more win would in an elite group of four with four-plus wins that includes just Gretzky (9), Gordie Howe (6), and Eddie Shore (4).
With McDavid’s win, the Edmonton Oilers now have 13 Hart Trophy wins in franchise history. Only the Montreal Canadiens have more (17).
Like McDavid, Karlsson put together a historic season in terms of raw offensive production.
Karlsson’s 101 points were the 15-most an NHL defenceman has ever produced, and no blueliner has managed a triple-digit season since Brian Leetch in 1991-91.
The 32-year-old’s prolific campaign came a something of a surprise, as he hadn’t topped 45 points since arriving in San Jose prior to the 2018-19 season. Staying healthy had been an issue for the Swede in recent years, but he played all 82 games in 2022-23 — and the departure of Brett Burns also opened the door for him to control the puck more and drive the Sharks offence.
Although Karlsson’s production in unimpeachable, there are those who believe that his defensive contributions are insufficient to make him a worthy Norris winner. In the past, this award has often gone to the most offensively explosive defencemen, which is likely due to the difficulty in quantifying and valuing defensive play compared to ease of examining offensive stats.
This is Karlsson’s third Norris Trophy win after bringing home the award in 2014-15 and 2012-13. He becomes the ninth defenceman to earn this honour on at least three occasions.
Statistically speaking, Ullmark was in a class of his own in 2022-23.
Among goaltenders with at least 40 games played, he led the NHL in goals-against average (1.89) and save percentage (.938) by massive margins. The next best numbers were 2.33 and .924, respectively.
He also topped NHL netminders in more advanced metrics like GSAA (+48.5) and GA%- (65). For old-school voters interested in goalie records, his 40-6-1 may have jumped off the page.
There are only two points that could be brought against Ullmark’s masterful campaign. The first is his relatively small workload of 49 games, and the second is that he played for a historically-great Bruins team that made his life easier.
Although there’s some validity to both notions, the difference between Ullmark and his peers is difficult to overlook.
The veteran’s win is surprising in that he entered the season having never started more than half of the games in a season with a career save percentage was .913. He’s the sixth first-time Vezina winner in a row.
Bergeron had produced a top-three finish in Selke Trophy voting in 11 consecutive seasons entering 2022-23 and his outstanding campaign has put a sixth Selke on his shelf.
Even at the age of 37, Bergeron remained a forced to be reckoned with on the defensive end. His even-strength on-ice goals allowed per 60 minutes sat at just 1.7 in 2022-23 — the third-lowest mark of his illustrious career. He also produced an Expected +/- of +22.5 based on the quality of shots each team took when he was on the ice, that was his second-best mark since 2014-15.
Put another way, Bergeron did all of the things he usually does to win this award. He dominated in the faceoff circle (61.1%), which contributed to eye-popping possession numbers (+11.6% relative Corsi), and his team locked down opponents when he was on the ice. That helped the Bruins concede 36 fewer goals than any other NHL team.
Despite his advanced age, Bergeron also played more penalty-killing minutes (138.5) than he had in any season since 2015-16.
Beniers led the NHL rookie scoring race with 57 points, and no first-year player topped his goal total of 24.
The first draft pick in Kraken history also led all rookie with a +14 rating and his strong Expected +/- (+10.1) indicates that he wasn’t an all-offence player whose team suffered defensively when he was on the ice.
The centre was a critical ingredient in Seattle’s surprising 100-point season who established himself as a top-six centre at the age of 20 and ranked fourth on the team in points.
Beniers seemed like the clear frontrunner in this race for most of the season. The most logical alternative was Owen Power, who looked strong logging a massive workload on the Buffalo Sabres blue line (23:48).
The young centre is in fine company as recent Calder winners have gone on to become some of the NHL’s biggest stars. The last 10 recipients of this trophy include superstars like Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, Kirill Kaprizov, Cale Makar, Artemi Panarin, and Elias Petterson.
Jack Adams Award – Jim Montgomery, Boston Bruins
In his first season behind the bench, Montgomery led the Bruins to a NHL record 65 wins and 135 points. Boston also led the league in Goals For, Goals Against and Goal Differential.
Montgomery is the second Bruins head coach to win the award in the last three seasons, as Bruce Cassidy earned the honour in 2020.
This is Anze Kopitar’s second time winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top gentleman on the ice, previously taking home the award in 2015-16.
The 35-year-old also had his most productive season in six years, scoring 28 goals and registering 74 points in 82 games, finishing the season having accumulated only four penalty minutes.
Kris Letang had perhaps one of the most difficult NHL seasons in recent history, on a personal level. The 36-year-old suffered the second stroke of his career in December. He was back on the ice two weeks later, but then had to step away from the Penguins in January after his father suddenly passed away.
Despite the hardships, Letang managed to suit up for 64 regular season games, tallying 41 points while logging 24:51 of average ice time per game.
Source: Yahoo Sports