Man, there are not many easy ones to predict at this point in the season. Luckily I’m the smartest guy I know, so I’ll probably get all of these correct.
James Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman):
This one is by far the easiest one to guess. When you’re 3rd in the league in points as a defenseman, with a +22 rating, the Norris is yours to lose. Burns has been best known for his funky look in the past, but the past 2 ½ seasons he’s put the entire league on notice with his game. He went for 60 and 75 points the past two years, and he’s already hit 64 points this year with 22 games left. This one’s in the bag.
Prediction: Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks.
Runner ups: Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild and Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets
Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie):
This one looks like a 2 horse race between Devan Dubnyk and Braden Holtby, with Sergei Bobrovsky sitting as a dark horse. Dubnyk leads all 3 major goalie stats, with Holtby right behind him in all 3. This one will certainly go down to the wire, but at this point in time the only way I see Dubnyk losing is if the Wild collapse… which I can’t see coming.
Prediction: Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild.
Runner ups: Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals and Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year):
Good golly these keep getting tougher. Toronto has 3 legitimate candidates in Matthews, Marner and Nylander. I think this actually works against the Toronto kids, as I think they’ll split a lot of votes (similar to Dak and Zeek for MVP in the NFL). Along with those 3 I like Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski to contend for the award. Laine currently leads all rookies in points and missed a week or two earlier in the year with a concussion. This one will come down to Laine and Matthews who will do battle for the rest of their careers (fun fact: a couple years ago Big Buck Hunter predicted a Jets vs Leafs Stanley Cup Final by 2020… I think we’re gonna see that match up sooner rather than latter). Because my roommate Matt “Father” LoStocco is an intramural hockey superstar and aspires to live in the great city of Winnipeg, I’ll go Laine.
Prediction: Patrik Laine, Winger, Winnipeg Jets.
Runner ups: Auston Matthews, Center, Toronto Maple Leafs and Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets
Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP):
Once again, this is rather difficult… At the moment its Connor McDavid vs Sidney Crosby, and it’ll be between those 2 at the end of the season. It’s hard to bet against the greatest player of his generation in Crosby, but that’s why I’m gonna do it. The Oilers are in the playoff hunt for the first time in 10 years, and the only reason for that is Captain Connor. This kid just turned 20 years old, was named team captain at 19, and is leading the league in points. McDavid’s the only player since Crosby entered the league that’s officially been able to challenge him as the world’s best player. This will be a battle, but if Edmonton gets to the playoffs, Connor wins.
Prediction: Connor McDavid, Center, Edmonton Oilers.
Runner ups: Sidney Crosby, Center, Pittsburgh Penguins and Mark Scheifle, Center, Winnipeg Jets