I figured since the NHL Awards are tonight in Las Vegas that I would toss out my selections and thoughts on the finalists for each category. Post your winners and comments as well after the jump.
Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player):
This one is a tough one. All three are certainly deserving. If you ask me, I'm leaning towards Alex Ovechkin. The award is given out to the player most valuable to his team and if you look what Crosby has around him (Malkin, Staal, Guerin, etc.) and Sedin (Sedin, Burrows, Samuelsson?), I think Ovechkin proves to be that much more of an influence on his team. The only aid that Ovechkin truly has is Alex Semin and that's really about it in terms of the same level that those other guys are on. Add in that Ovechkin is one of the best players on the planet and perhaps one of the most complete players, I think he takes home the Hart for the 3rd straight year. Runner-up: Henrik Sedin.
Vezina Trophy (top goaltender):
I've got to go with Ryan Miller. He was outstanding all season long and carried his team to the playoffs. The Sabres didn't score much in the regular season and his 2.22 GAA (2nd best in the league) helped them secure wins--41 to be exact. Miller was exceptionally good throughout the season. Runner-up: Ilya Bryzgalov.
Frank J. Selke Trophy (top defensive forward):
Going with the home team guy on this one, Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk was masterful in the defensive zone and his takeaway numbers were incredible with 132 and the 2nd closest guy in that category (Kesler) had 83. But the story of his defensive skills doesn't end there. Datsyuk was a tenacious backchecker and forced shots early or bad passes. Runner-up: Jordan Staal
The rest after the jump.
Calder Trophy (top rookie):
To me, this is a no-brainer: Jimmy Howard. Howard came into his first NHL season and saved the Red Wings from what looked like a burning ship. Add in the hot light of playing netminder in Detroit and not only did Howard perform well for a rookie, he was exceptional league wide. Howard was top 5 in goals against average and save percentage for all goalies. I also believe a rookie season is tougher on a netminder than a forward or a defenseman considering that if you make a mistake as a goalie, no one can cover for you. As a forward or a defenseman, you have 4 other guys and a goalie to cover. Runner-up: Tyler Myers.
Norris Trophy (top defenseman):
I go with the old-school stream of thought when it comes to this trophy. I think it should go to the top defenseman for his defensive skills, not how many goals he puts up. Hands down Duncan Keith was the best defender in the NHL this year. He was a lock-down guy that made exceptional plays on the puck and made his team more than just an offensive powerhouse with his ability on the back end. I think Keith should take this one with ease, but then again the league does like it's scoring...Runner-up: Drew Doughty.
Masterton Trophy (perseverance, dedication to hockey):
I honestly can't make up my mind here. Both Foster and Theodore lost children this past season and the fact that they got back on the ice is more than I could say I would be able to do. I can't make up my mind on this one but have leaned slightly towards Jose Theodore I suppose. Runner-up/tie: Kurtis Foster.
Jack Adams Trophy (best coach):
Joe Sacco-Colorado Avalanche
Dave Tippett-Phoenix Coyotes
Barry Trotz-Nashville Predators
My pick for this one would be Dave Tippett. He turned the Coyotes from awful to awfully good. They were a truly intimidating team this season and a lot of it was on his end. Runner-up: Joe Sacco