0

Our Tentative 2019-20 NHL Awards Ballot

Given what Gary Bettman said on Tuesday, we can pretty safely assume that there won’t be a conclusion to the 2019-20 regular season. There may well still be playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine the remaining regular-season games get played out.

With that in mind, we’re going to submit our ballots for five major NHL awards: the Hart Trophy, the Norris Trophy, the Vezina Trophy, the Calder Trophy, and the Jack Adams award.  Let us know in the comments who you would vote for.

Hart Trophy

Cam Lewis:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  1. Leon Draisaitl (EDM)
  2. Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)
  3. Artemi Panarin (NYR)

Leon Draisaitl silenced all of his critics this season. He had 110 points at the point of the season’s pause, 13 more than anybody else in the league. But what really cemented Draisaitl this year was his play in leading the Oilers through Connor McDavid’s absence.

Also getting MVP attention from me is Connor Hellebuyck, who stood on his head for the Jets this year, helping them and their decimated blueline into playoff contention. I wrestled between Nathan MacKinnon and Artemi Panarin for my final vote but chose the latter as he propped up a weaker team with his amazing season.

Baggedmilk:

  1. Leon Draisaitl (EDM)
  2. David Pastrnak (Boston)
  3. Artemi Panarin (NYR)

Let’s be honest here for a second. Leon Draisaitl was the best player in the NHL this season, hands down. And don’t give me any of this crap about his +/- either because that stat is about as worthless as Denis Grebeshkov was on the Oilers blue line. Had it not been for a horrible month of December, nobody would even be talking about this but since it’s Leon Draisaitl and not someone from the Eastern Conference, the media feels the need to move the goalposts so that their guy can win it.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Zach Laing:

  1. Leon Draisaitl (EDM)
  2. Artemi Panarin (NYR)
  3. Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)

Leon Draisaitl should be the winner of the Hart Trophy this year, but I do think Panarin has a very strong case. Draisaitl, however, has been above and beyond as the most valuable player to his team. He damn near single-handedly kept the Oilers season alive this season and them in the conversation for the Pacific Division title.

Vezina Trophy

Cam Lewis:

  1. Connor Hellbuyck (WPG)
  2. Darcy Kuemper (ARZ)
  3. Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ)

Hellbuyck is my Vezina winner for the same reason he was on my MVP radar. Winnipeg lost Tyler Myers, Dustin Byfuglien, and Jacob Trouba, three of their top-four defenders, over the off-season and was predictably one of the worst defensive teams in the league this season. Despite that, Winnipeg was a playoff contender all year due largely to Hellebuyck posting a .922 save percentage.

Darcy Kuemper was my second choice and could have won the award had he not missed so much time due to injury. Kuemper posted a .928 save percentage in 29 starts and Arizona’s play imploded when he was on the shelf. My third choice was rookie Elvis Merzlikins who put up a .923 save percentage in 33 games on a surprising Blue Jackets team.

Baggedmilk:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  1. Connor Hellbuyck (WPG)
  2. Tuuka Rask (BOS)
  3. Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)

The reason I’ve got Hellebuyck getting the vote is because he’s able to prop up a shoddy Winnipeg defensive group all season long. This past summer, they lost Byfuglien (mostly), Trouba, and Myers, but it doesn’t seem to matter because their goaltender is standing on his head on a nightly basis. By my eye, the Jets would be in a world of trouble had it not been for their goalie rather than being in the mix for a playoff spot when the season shut down.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Oilers reportedly interested in Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Petr Mrazek

Zach Laing:

  1. Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)
  2. Tukka Rask (BOS)
  3. Anton Khudobin (DAL)

Hellebuyck is pretty much the only reason that Winnipeg had any success this season and he did so in front of a bad defence. His save percentage is in the top-10 and his GSAA is second to only Rask, who is my second choice for the Vezina. Khudobin is my sneaky pick. He’s played 30 games this year, but has faced amongst the toughest starts in the whole league. His .930 save percentage and third-ranked GSAA gets him up there.

Norris Trophy

Cam Lewis:

  1. Roman Josi (NSH)
  2. John Carlson (WSH)
  3. Alex Pietrangelo (STL)

This was a really difficult choice and it ultimately came down to two players. It’s hard to go against John Carlson given the fact he was on pace to finish the season with 90 points, but Roman Josi reached a new level for the Predators this season. He posted a career-high 65 points in 69 games while also performing as Nashville’s best defensive defender. The Preds were thoroughly mediocre in 2019-20 and it’s night and day how much better the team was with Josi on the ice than they were without him.

After those two, it’s pretty much a toss-up for the third vote. I went with Alex Pietrangelo, but you could easily make a case for Dougie Hamilton, Victor Hedman, or Zach Werenski.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Baggedmilk:

  1. John Carlson (WSH)
  2. Roman Josi (NSH)
  3. Victor Hedman (TB)

For me, Carlson gets my vote because I’m a big fan of defenceman that can put up points and no one does it better than John Carlson for the Washington Capitals. Coming off a fresh new contract that’ll pay him $64 million, he looks like his only goal is to make that deal look like a bargain and it’s a shame that we probably won’t see how far he could have taken things. Some people want the steak, I want the sizzle and Carlson has plenty of it.

Zach Laing:

  1. Roman Josi (NSH)
  2. John Carlson (WSH)
  3. Dougie Hamilton (CAR)

Josi takes the cake for me in the Norris discussion. He was able to put up tremendous offensive numbers, all the while being one of the best shutdown defenceman in the league. Josi’s 65 points in 69 games were already the best of his career. Carlson comes in second for obvious reasons as the league’s highest-scoring defenceman, while I think Hamilton deserves recognition for having the best season of his career despite missing time with a broken leg.

Calder Trophy

Cam Lewis:

  1. Quinn Hughes (VAN)
  2. Cale Makar (COL)
  3. Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ)

Again, this is a really tight, two-horse race. While Cale Makar had a more impressive showing offensively at a glance, posting 50 points in 57 games, Quinn Hughes, who had 53 points in 68 games himself, gets the edge for me due to his overall impact on both sides of the ice. When you move beyond point totals, Hughes has better numbers than Makar in terms of generating and suppressing shots while on the ice. You can’t really go wrong with either one here, but another benefit for Hughes in this debate is how much of a difference-maker he was on a weaker team.

RELATED ARTICLE:
A Clean Slate

Baggedmilk:

  1. Quinn Hughes (VAN)
  2. Cale Makar (COL)
  3. Ethan Bear (EDM)

As much as it annoys me to say it, the Canucks have a beauty in Quinn Hughes and it’s going to be annoying to watch him do his thing for the next decade+. While he still has plenty of work to do on his defensive work — by no means a surprise for a rookie defenceman — the kid can put up points like he’s playing in a league not named the NHL. I would have given my vote for Makar for the same reasons, but he hasn’t played as many games as Hughes has and we all know how games played matters so much when it comes to picking a winner for this award. Ethan Bear gets my third place vote because he leads the league in rookie TOI and the Oilers would not be in the position they’re in without him.

Zach Laing:

  1. Cale Makar (COL)
  2. Quinn Hughes (VAN)
  3. Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ)

My argument for Makar over Hughes is simple — Makar produced more in less games played. I’m tired of the Calder trophy being an award handed out to players who are able to play a full season. I think both Makar, or Hughes, would be a great winner and it’s really going to be a coin flip between the two.

Jack Adams Award

Cam Lewis:

  1. John Tortorella (CBJ)
  2. Dave Tippett (EDM)
  3. Alain Vigneault (PHI)

It’s absolutely incredible that Columbus was in any kind of playoff conversation after losing Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Ryan Dzingel in free agency, so John Tortorella deserves major credit. Of course, Dave Tippett also deserves major praise for his role in steering Edmonton’s turnaround season this year too. I leaned towards Tortorella here because Columbus didn’t have the one-two punch of McDavid and Draisaitl that Tippett did.

Finally, Alain Vigneault gets my honourable mention here. The Flyers missed the playoffs last season and fired Dave Hakstol as a result. Under Vigneault, the Flyers completely turned themselves around and looked like one of the better teams in the league. They carried a nine-game winning streak right up to the NHL’s pause and could very likely would have won the Metro Division.

Baggedmilk:

  1. Dave Tippett (EDM)
  2. Bruce Cassidy (BOS)
  3. Alain Vigneault (PHI)

Dave Tippett gets my vote because a) I’m incredibly biased and b) because no one in hockey picked the Oilers to make the playoffs this year and ol’ Tipp has come in and gotten the job done. From the way he reshaped the special teams to the improvements in goal differential to the four-point improvement in the standings despite still having 11 games left to play, Tippett has done everything you’d want from a coach and I think he deserves the award.

Zach Laing: 

  1. Dave Tippett (EDM)
  2. John Tortorella (CBJ)
  3. Alain Vigneault (PHI)

I think Tippett is criminally underrated in the discussion for the Jack Adams and him taking Edmonton from sitting far from the playoff discussion to near the top of the Pacific tells you all you should know.