Voting for the 2013 NHL awards was not an easy task. Make a case for any of seven players for the Hart Trophy as league MVP or any of six rookies and I could buy it.
Ultimately, here are the selections I made, with explanations for each:
“to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”
1. Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
2. John Tavares, Islanders
3. Sidney Crosby, Penguins
4. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks
5. Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets
Ovechkin had 23 goals and 13 assists in the Caps’ final 23 games, and the Caps went 17-4-2. He finished with 21.9 percent of Washington’s goals.
Tavares scored 20.7 percent of the New York Islanders’ goals. Without him they would not have made the playoffs.
Crosby was the best player in the NHL, bar none, when he suffered a broken jaw. Even considering his missed games, if this were a pure “most outstanding player” award, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain should win it going away.
But in making these selections I held to the definition. No one is more valuable to his team than Ovechkin.
“to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”
1. Zdeno Chara, Bruins
2. P.K. Subban, Canadiens
3. Francois Beauchemin, Ducks
4. Kris Letang, Penguins
5. Ryan Suter, Wild
Subban’s numbers and Mike Green’s were impressive, but Chara’s all-around value to Boston’s blue line is hard to measure. Numbers must be considered, but Chara is a dominant defenseman no matter the calculation.
“to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition”
1. Cory Conacher, Senators
2. Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers
3. Brendan Gallagher, Canadiens
4. Brandon Saad, Blackhawks
5. Justin Schultz, Oilers
Conacher might be overlooked because he was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Ottawa Senators at the deadline, but he managed to make an impact in both places. Huberdeau was great, Nail Yakupov, too, but the rest of the guys on this list were worthy.
LADY BYNG TROPHY
“to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”
1. Martin St. Louis, Lightning
2. Patrick Kane, Blackhawks
3. Matt Moulson, Islanders
4. Derek Stepan, Rangers
5. Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings
St. Louis became the oldest winner of the Art Ross Trophy with 60 points and finished 405th in the NHL with just 14 penalty minutes. Kane is a dark horse candidate who might not get the consideration he deserves (55 points and eight penalty minutes)
“to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”
1. Patrice Bergeron, Bruins
2. Marian Hossa, Blackhawks
3. Ryan Callahan, Rangers
4. Frans Nielsen, Islanders
5. David Backes, Blues
Bergeron was on the ice for just 17 goals-against and led the league with a 62.1 faceoff percentage. Everyone else is going for second.
NHL All-Star Teams
Center: Sidney Crosby, left wing: Henrik Zetterberg, right wing: Alex Ovechkin, defensemen: Zdeno Chara, P.K. Subban, goaltender: Sergei Bobrovksy
Center: John Tavares, left wing: Andrew Ladd, right wing: Marty St. Louis, defensemen: Francois Beauchemin, Kris Letang, goaltender: Tuukka Rask
Center: Jonathan Toews, left wing: Matt Moulson, right wing: Patrick Kane, defensemen: Ryan Suter, Nick Leddy, goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist
NHL All-Rookie Team
Forwards: Cory Conacher, Jonathan Huberdeau, Brandon Gallagher
Defense: Justin Schultz, Jake Muzzin
Goaltender: Robin Lehner
1. Robin Lehner
General managers pick the Vezina and broadcasters pick the Jack Adams.