With the conclusion of the NHL’s regular season on Sunday, April 9, the collective eyes of the hockey world have transitioned to the 16-team chase for Lord Stanley’s fabled Cup.

But, while the chase for the Cup began on Wednesday, April 12, there was also another chase that began: that for individual hardware.

All eligible writers with a vote for the NHL’s regular season awards had to have their votes in by late afternoon on the 12th.

In honor of this, and the fact that the NHL's annual Awards Night is fast approaching (June 21), I have decided to publish my thoughts on who should win these most prestigious awards.

The awards are as follows: 1) Hart Trophy, 2) Art Ross Trophy, 3) Calder Trophy, 4) Vezina Trophy, 5) Jack Adams Trophy, 6) Rocket Richard Trophy, 7) Norris Trophy, 8) Selke Trophy, 9) Bill Masterton Trophy, 10) Lady Byng Trophy, and 11) Mark Messier Leadership Award.

Now let’s get to it:

Hart Trophy

Connor McDavid. In only his second season, (first full), McDavid was named Captain of the Edmonton Oilers becoming the youngest captain in NHL history. Playing in his age-20 season, McDavid appeared in all 82 games while posting a sterling 30 goals, 70 assists, and 100 points. Without McDavid’s steady presence on the Oilers’ top line, Edmonton would surely have been headed to their 11th consecutive playoff-less season.

Instead, thanks to him, they are one of 16 teams that competed in the Stanley Cup tournament. One stat to show his value to the team was his involvement in over 40% of the Oilers’ team goals.

Art Ross Trophy

Connor McDavid. McDavid leads the NHL in scoring with 30 goals, 70 assists, and 100 points. With his league-leading 100 points, McDavid became the third youngest in history to win the Art Ross Trophy, behind only Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby.

Calder Trophy

Auston Matthews. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ first overall draft selection and 19-year old star center, Matthews takes home our vote for the League Rookie-of-the-Year Award. This phenomenal center not only led the team in goals with 40 over the full 82 game season but was one of the main reasons behind the resurgence of the once proud Maple Leafs’ franchise.

They hadn’t made the playoffs since 2013 and have only been to the postseason twice in the last 11 years. Although they had a formidable cast of young talent, Matthews proved his worth right out of the gate with a 4-goal opening night performance to kick start the season. Matthews is just the 4th rookie teenager and the 16th rookie in NHL history to score 40 goals in a season. Of those 40, eight were game-winners. To go along with his rookie-leading 40 goals, Matthews also had a rookie-leading 69 points, just one ahead of Jets’ rookie sensation Patrik Laine.


Sergei Bobrovsky. The Columbus Blue Jackets’ superlative netminder returned to his Vezina-winning form of 2013 as he helped lead the Jackets’ to the playoffs for just the third time in franchise history.

With a league-leading 2.06 goals-against-average and .932 save percentage, to go along with a second-ranked 41 wins, you would be hard-pressed to find a more deserving goalie for this award.

Jack Adams Award

John Tortorella. The Columbus bench boss took a team that has been perennial losers and lead them to the fourth-most points in the NHL with 108. While arguments can easily be made for Todd McLellan in Edmonton, Glen Gulutzan in Calgary, and Mike Babcock in Toronto, I have to give the nudge to John Tortorella. Torts didn't get the privilege of a fully healthy Connor McDavid, a trio of Marner-Matthews-Nylander, or a new goalie tandem of Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson. He pretty much had the same roster as the year before.

Columbus started 5-4-1 in their first 10 games soon they were on their way to a 16-game win streak and on to becoming one of the best team in the NHL.

Rocket Richard Trophy

Sidney Crosby. The Pittsburgh Penguins superstar missed the first few games of the season and when he came back, scored goals at an incredible pace. Finishing the year with a league-leading 44 goals, Crosby became a repeat winner of this award.

Norris Trophy

Brent Burns. The San Jose defenseman once again led all defensemen in points with 76 over a span of 82 games, good for ninth overall in the NHL. His 29 goals also led all defensemen, and most impressive was his 0.93 points per game ratio.

Selke Trophy

Ryan Kesler and Jonathan Toews.

This award is wide open, as there are a number of forwards who are top-notch two-way players, but my vote goes to both Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks and Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, as a Co-nomination.

Bill Masterton Trophy

Bryan Bickell. The Carolina Hurricanes’ left-winger was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis early in the season and was forced to sit out much of the year, but was able to return in time for the ‘Canes last two games. In the last game of the season, while playing at Philadelphia, the Flyers and Hurricanes went to a shootout in what would be the final game of Bickell’s successful career. It was in the shootout, that Bickell, who had only had one previous shootout attempt in his 10-year career, would take center stage.

Shooting first for the “Canes, Bickell bore down on Flyers’ goalie Anthony Stolarz and scored what would be the game-winning goal. His first career shootout goal would create a lasting impression that won’t soon be forgotten.

Lady Byng Trophy

Jason Pominville. The Minnesota Wild forward, Pominville played in 78 games while recording just four penalty minutes! He also notched 47 points.

Mark Messier Leadership Award

P.K. Subban. Despite being traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators, Subban kept his promise to keep donating to the children's hospital in Montreal. For all the bad rap that he gets PK is an outstanding player on the ice and an even better person off it!