Saturday, 25 June 2011

NHL Awards and Draft

The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup over a week ago, but the season has still been going strong. There were the NHL Awards, a few big trades and the draft. Let's start with the awards.

Here are the winners, along with who I had picked.
Award - Winner - My Pick
Norris - Nicklas Lidstrom - Shea Weber
Selke - Ryan Kesler - Ryan Kesler
Jack Adams - Dan Bylsma - Barry Trotz
Calder - Jeff Skinner - Jeff Skinner
GM - Mike Gillis - Steve Yzerman
Ted Lindsay - Daniel Sedin - Corey Perry
Masterton - Ian Laperriere - Ray Emery
Lady Byng - Martin St-Louis - Nicklas Lidstrom
Vezina - Tim Thomas - Tim Thomas
Hart - Corey Perry - Martin St-Louis
Messier Leadership - Zdeno Chara
Jennings - Roberto Luongo, Cory Schneider
Art Ross - Daniel Sedin
Rocket Richard - Corey Perry
King Clancey - Doug Weight

There are no really surprises here, other than Perry winning the Hart Trophy. While I wanted St-Louis to win, I wrote a post on that a while back, I expected it to go to Sedin. He was consistent all season while Perry got the majority of his points in the final quarter of the season and I think being there all season is more important than being there for the stretch run. Though that is not to say that wasn't important, because he was a huge reason the Ducks went on a last-season surge and were able to take hold of the fourth spot.

I was also surprised to see Laperriere win the Masterton Trophy since he didn't play at all this season. But I'm really happy he won it. If there is one person who is more dedicated to hockey more than anyone else, its Lappy. Why else would he get right back out every time he got hit with the puck or punched in the face. But he is more than a role player, he is a consumate professional and one of the best teammates in all of sports. Wayne Fish said of him in 2009 "You get a lot of P's with Ian Laperriere: Penalty-killer. Pest. Physical force. Perfect teammate." He was so loved in Philadelphia after just one season, his introduction led to one of the best moments of a thrill-a-game 2010 playoff run.

One final thought about the awards. Having random celebrities at the show is fine, but they should try to keep it more hockey related. Are there really that many people out there who like hockey and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? It seems unlikely to me, so let's get someone who is capable of remembering the correct pronunciation of three names. Pronouncing Martin St-Louis' name Saint Lewis isn't the worst thing ever, but it shows they really weren't interested in being there. Even the host, Jay Mohr, wasn't perfect saying WHYzerman instead of EYEzerman when talking about Best GM nominee Stevie Y.

The Flyers shocked me a few days later, trading Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, two first-round picks from what is going to be one of the best draft classes ever. I thought they should get rid of Carter, but I never thought they would trade, or even be able to trade, Richards. I was upset over that, but the more I look at the return, the better the trades look. They now have top-rated prospect Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and three picks in the draft, including the eighth overall which they used to select Sean Couturier (Full draft results can be found here). These trades have caused a major stir in the forward unit so let's take a look at what the line could look like next season.

van Riemsdyk    Giroux    Voracek
    Hartnell        Briere       Leino
  Simmonds       Schenn    Versteeg
    Carcillo         Betts     Powe/Nodl

I was expecting Adam Larsson to go first overall to the Edmonton Oilers, but they went with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins allowing Larsson to be taken by the Devils in the fourth slot. This worked out great for the Devils as they now have a solid prospect to rebuild their defense around. It was a strength of theirs before the lockout, but has since been pulled apart, mainly through free agency and retirement, and the talent level now is nowhere near what it was. Larsson is certainly as good a start as any to become a dominate defensive team again.

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