The NHL regular season has concluded. This was unveiled after the league’s return to play plan stated they would begin with playoffs. This means that the most amount of games that any team will play for the 2019-2020 NHL regular season is 71. Due to the shortened season, many hockey fans questioned whether or not the NHL would hand out the yearly awards. However, the NHL announced that the awards would be given out as scheduled to commemorate the season. With the ballots cast, here are my 2019-20 NHL awards predictions:
2019-20 NHL Awards Predictions
Rocket Richard Trophy: Alex Ovechkin & David Pastrnak
Ovechkin and Pasternak both ended the season with 48 goals and will both take home the trophy this season. Toronto Maple Leafs star center Auston Matthews ultimately fell short of winning the trophy himself, finishing the season with 47 goals.
Art Ross Trophy: Leon Draisaitl
Draisaitl finished the season with 110 points, 13 ahead of teammate Connor Mcdavid to capture his first Art Ross Trophy.
William Jennings Trophy: Tuukka Rask & Jaroslav Halak
Both Rask and Halak finished the season by only giving up 167 goals for a 2.39 goals-against average per game.
Vezina Trophy: Connor Hellebuyck
After losing four of their five top defenseman last season, the Winnipeg Jets were written off heading into the season. However, the team remained in the playoff hunt all season and ultimately ended up earning the ninth seed in the playoffs. This was ultimately due to Hellebuyck, who led the team to 31 wins as a starter. He posted a 2.57 GAA and a .922 save percentage in 58 games. Hellebuyck also lead the league in appearances with 58, games started with 56, and shots with over 1700. This is an unforeseen number in the new tandem goalie system used by most NHL teams in 2020.
Lady Byng Trophy: Nathan MacKinnon
Handed out each year, the Lady Byng trophy is given to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Aleksander Barkov took home the hardware last season after recording 96 points and only eight penalty minutes. Seen by many as a top-three player in the league, Mackinnon recorded 93 points this season with the Avalanche, all while only taking six minor penalties. This makes him a favorite to capture the award.
Jack Adams Award: John Tortorella
After losing their best goal scorer in Artemi Panarin along with their number one goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, the Columbus Blue Jackets were seen as a team expected to be in the top five in the upcoming NHL draft. However, lead by Tortorella, the Jackets won 33 games this season and earned a spot in the 24 team playoff thanks to their sound positional play and relentless work ethic on the ice. With a roster featuring several unproven players, this is viewed by many as the best coaching job of Tortorella’s career.
Selke Trophy: Sean Couturier
One of the best two-way centers in the entire league, Coturier, has been a finalist for this award multiple times, coming up short each time. Once again, one of the Philadelphia Flyer’s best players this season, Coturier finished the year with 22 goals and 37 points in 69 games. Along with this, he led the league in faceoff win percentage (59.6) and finished the season at plus 21. This strong year helped lead the Flyers to first place in the Metropolitan Division and a top spot in the playoffs.
Calder Trophy: Quinn Hughes
After playing five games with the Vancouver Cannucks last season, Hughes burst onto the scene in 2020. Establishing himself as one of the bright young stars in the game, Hughes recorded 53 points in 68 games with the Cannucks this season, leading all rookie defenseman. Also, Hughes finished second on the Cannucks in ice time, continually being asked to play top-line minutes and matchup against the opposing teams best forwards. This award will ultimately end up being the closest in voting with Colorado’s Cale Makar making a strong case for the Calder also. However, I believe Hughes will end up with the hardware.
Norris Trophy: John Carlson
During this past season, Carlson led all defenseman in every single major offensive category. His 75 points in 69 games were first among all defenseman, finishing ten points ahead of Nashville’s Roman Josi. Along with this, Carlson’s 60 assists ranked 4th in the NHL. Lastly, Carlson averaged 1.09 points per game this season, giving him the highest total by a defeseman since Ray Borque in 1994. A key piece and the leader of the Washington Capitals blue line, he will capture his first-ever Norris Trophy.
Tedd Lindsay: Connor McDavid
This award is for the most outstanding player in the regular season, voted on by the players association. Seen by many as the best hockey player in the world, Mcdavid was again among the elite this past season, recording 34 goals and 97 assists in 64 games. With his teammate Leon Draisaitl the favorite to capture the MVP in these 2019-20 NHL awards predictions, Mcdavid will capture the Lindsay after another outstanding season.
Hart Trophy: Leon Draisaitl
An emerging superstar in the league, 2020 was a coming-out party for Draisaitl. These 2019-20 NHL awards predictions prove this. An outstanding year in Edmonton saw him finish first in the league in points with 110 and assists with 67. He also finished 4th in the league in goals with 43. Even more impressive was in the six games the Edmonton Oilers were without Mcdavid this past season, he recorded 12 points, finishing one short of the league lead in that period. Eight of the last ten winners of the Hart Trophy have lead the league in points. 2020 will see another member added to the list. Draisaitl will capture the award for the first time in his young career.
Embed from Getty Images