2020 NHL Awards (Part 2)

Hopefully you enjoyed the first part of this series, today we will take a look at the remaining nominees along with a few awards whose nominees have yet to be named.

Annual award that recognizes an individual who like Willie O’Ree, has worked to make a positive impact on his or her community, culture, or society to make people better through hockey
2019 Winner – Rico Phillips
2020 Finalists – Dampy Brar, Alexandria Briggs-Blake and john Haferman

Wilie O’Ree (2018 Hall of Famer) is the NHL’s Diversty Ambassador and every year him and his committee select three finalist from 10 nominees. Once the finalists have been announced fans will get to vote on who the winner should be (voting ends tomorrow!)

Brar a former pro hockey player started a program called APNA with his partner. The program provides support to South Asian and other ethnic players and their families and connects them to the community. Brar also helped bring the first ever woman’s team from India to Canada for a tournament back in 2018.

Briggs-Blake is the president of Tucker Road Parent Hockey Organization (TRHPO) out of Prince George’s County in Maryland. The program helps to make hockey affordable for families in the area charging only $250 in registration fees which include a full set of equipment. Even if families cannot afford the registration the TRPHO will find a way to cover the rest so everyone can play.

In 2017 the TRHPO’s home rink burned down in a fire, vowing to keep the team together, Briggs-Blake was able to have the team play out of various arenas in the area. All the while the TRPHO was hard at work putting their rink back together which has now been fully funded with plans to be completed by February 2021.

Haferman is the co-founder of the Columbus Ice Hockey Club (CIHC), a program that builds community and develops life and leadership skills in kids. The program brings together over 30, 000 kids every year which includes kids of every race and and socioeconomic background. CIHC provides programming condition, academic support, violence prevention and community service. This program has helped some graduates secure university scholarships and some come back to be mentors or help out with the program. Haferman uses hockey to build equality in his community, helping out wounded veterans or members of the LGBTQ community and even those with disabilities, including programs for sled hockey.

Voting ends tomorrow and you can vote by visiting nhl.com/oreeaward

Eamon’s Choice – A little similar to the Masterton but I will go with Brar since he is Canadian!

Annual award given to the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.
2019 Winner – Mark Giordano (D Calgary Flames)
2020 Finalists – John Carlson (D Washington Capitals), Roman Josi (D Nashville Predators), Victor Hedman (D Tampa Bay Lightning)

This is probably the most interesting trio of nominees out of all of the awards. Carlson (75), Rosi (65) and Hedman (55) finished one, two and three in NHL scoring by a defenseman respectively. On the surface Carlson looks like a run away favourite to win, he averaged over a point per game finishing first in assists (60), points (75), even strength points (49) and game winning goals (6). Sprinkle in top five finishes in every other major statistical category except for even strength goals and time on ice.

When you take stats a step further and jump into the analytics, Roman Josi is the John Carlson, basically leading in most categories. Josi is a possession beast, constantly playing with puck on his stick, often going end to end controlling the game around him. Since Weber came to Montreal, Josi has really emerged as a top 5 defenseman and has taken charge of the Predators D core.

As we move down this list of nominees in terms of points, we also move up in defensive responsibility and skill level. Victor Hedman is the best defenseman in the NHL, I don’t need an award to tell me that, but the Norris has become the a bit of a defenseman scoring race as point totals matter far too much. Such is the new age of hockey and both Carlson and Josi are exceptional defensively but no one is on Hedman’s level. No one.

Despite all of that I still don’t think Hedman will win the award.

Eamon’s Choice – John Carlson

Annual award given to the forward who best excels in the dfensive aspects of the game.
2019 Winner – Ryan O’Reilly (F St. Louis Blues)
2020 Finalists – Ryan O’Reilly (F St Louis Blues), Patrice Bergeron (F Boston Bruins), Sean Couturier (F Philadelphia Flyers)

O’Reilly will attempt to go back to back with this award for the first time since the 2013-14 and ’14-15 season when fellow nominee Patrice Bergeron achieved the feat. O’Reilly finished with the most face-off wins in the league but more importantly he led the league in percentage of team face-off taken accounting for 38.7% of all St Louis face-offs.

Bergeron and the Selke have become synonymous in the last decade as this is the ninth consecutive nomination for Bergeron. Taking home four trophies already, Bergeron continues to be the model of efficiency and a 200 foot game. He finished the season one goal shy of matching his career high in a season and produced at a rate just below a point per game.

Couturier could possibly be the next coming of Patrice Bergeron as I fully expect to see his name on this list quite often in the future. He led the league in face-off wins and was the only player in the league to have a win rate above 58% in each of the three zones. After back to back 76 point campagins, Couturier’s numbers were on pace to be a little lower, somewhere in the high 60s, low 70s if he hit a point streak.

I think this is the year that he finally gets some recognition.

Eamon’s Choice – Sean Couturier

Annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Associations in all NHL cities.
2019 Winner – Nikita Kucherov (F Tampa Bay Lightning)
2020 Finalists – Leon Draisaitl (F Edmonton Oilers), Nathan MacKinnon (F Colorado Avalanche), Artemi Panarin (F New York Rangers)

The writers and players saw things the same way as the nominees for the Hart and Ted Lindsay are identical. It is not uncommon to see one different nominee but for the most part these two award have almost identical nominees every year. With that being said I was a little surprised to not see David Pastrnak on this list instead of Panarin because the Ranger’s would not have made the playoffs in a normal season. The reason why I bring that up is because it is usually a criteria that the writers care about significantly more than the players. This is no slight on Panarin at all, both of these players finished with the same amount of points, I just thought the writers would give the deciding factor to the playoffs.

Since I already broke down these three in a similar award I will simply leave you with another video to enjoy instead of repeating the same analysis.

Eamon’s Choice – Leon Draisaitl

Finally to round things out, here are the remaining awards that will be presented by the NHL, whose nominees have not yet been announced.

Given to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.

Each team selects a nominee and a committee of Senior NHL executives select the winner based on the following criteria:
1. Clear and measurable positive impact on the community
2. Investment of time and resources
3. Commitment to a particular cause of community
4. Commitment to the League’s community initiatives
5. Creativity of programming
6. Use of influence; engagement of others

Jason Zucker won in 2019 for his #GIVE16 campaign started by him and his wife to raise money to build the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio at the Univeristy of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. This state of the art studio allows children and their families to watch Wild games in a setting that simulates being at the game in person. On November 21, 2018 the GIVE16 Suite Night brought in 16 different charitable organizations, all of which were given their own personal suite to watch the game.

Annual award presented to recognize the work of the top general manager in the NHL.

Voting is conducted among the 31 team GMs and a panel of five NHL executives and five media members which is held after the second round of the playoffs every year. A little bit like the Jack Adams where team success is vital last year’s winner Don Sweeney’s Bruins were in the Stanley Cup final.

If I had to take a guess I would say the three finalists are probably Joe Sakic, Chuck Fletcher and my personal pick for the award Jeff Gorton (Rangers will be Cinderella). There are a couple other names that I would not be surprised to see on this list as well, like Don Sweeney going for back to back, or Julien Brisebois, Doug Armstrong and even Ken Holland.

Given to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.

After input from fans, club and NHL personnel, Messier picks the finalists and winner. The award was first introduced in 2007 and has never been won by the same player twice. Last year’s winner, Wayne Simmonds (F, Nashville Predators) won the award for his work with the Ed Snyder Youth Hockey Foundation visiting rinks and interacting with kids as well as his initiative to bring military members to all home games.

Well that is all for now, I have secured one challenger for my Hot Sauce bet, I will try to round up one or two more to make things interesting. I don’t think the NHL will be holding any sort of formal gathering this year but I’m sure they will still find a way to put on a show.

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