The NHL awards according to our polls — part 1

Updated: March 9, 2015 at 8:00 am by Cam Lewis

Public opinion is fun, so I decided to poll our users to see who they thought would be most likely to take home the league’s individual awards at the end of the season. Let’s take a look at what our fellow users thought about the Selke, Vezina, Hart, Calder, and Norris Trophies. 

The Selke Trophy

Patrice Bergeron – 27%

Jonathan Toews – 24%

Pavel Datsyuk – 22%

Other – 17%

Anze Kopitar – 8%

This was by far the closest race of all of them. Maybe it’s because it was the poll up during the trade deadline, but it also got a lot more votes than the other ones. Also, this poll had the most respondents of any answering “other.” I would assume it’s because defensive skill in hockey is somewhat difficult to quantify through stats. Anyways, according to our audience, Patrice Bergeron is going to very slightly edge out Jonathan Toews and Pavel Datsyuk for the honours of best defensive forward in hockey. If Bergeron did win, he would join Datsyuk, Jere Lehtinen, and Guy Carbonneau for the second most Selke Trophies in league history with three. I personally think Bergeron is likely to win the award, he sits third in the league in CorsiFor percentage while making a good chunk of his starts in the defensive zone. Like I said, this is a difficult one to quantify with stats, and I imagine when it comes to it, the voters will be predominately using the eye test when they cast their ballots. Just a hunch. 

The Vezina Trophy 

Carey Price – 59%

Pekka Rinne – 28%

Other – 5%

Braden Holtby – 3%

Tuukka Rask – 2%

Cory Schneider – 1%

I think this one might be the easiest of all of them. Personally, I don’t see a scenario in which Carey Price doesn’t take home the Vezina Trophy this season. The Canadiens are in the thick of the Presidents Trophy race largely because of him and Pekka Rinne’s Predators seem to be falling off a cliff. Price leads the league in point shares with 13.7, which looks nice next to his incredible 0.936 save percentage and 1.89 goals against average. This is some Dominik Hasek level stuff. One of the most impressive things about Price is the fact that Montreal allows 29.5 shots against per 60 minutes at even strength, which is 22nd in the league. 

The Hart Trophy

Carey Price – 42%

Pekka Rinne – 16%

Alex Ovechkin – 14%

Patrick Kane – 12%

Other – 7%

Jakub Voracek – 3%

Sidney Crosby – 3%

Let’s stick with Price for a moment. As I pointed out in the Vezina category, his numbers are Dominik Hasek level good, meaning Price is more than just a legitimate candidate for the Hart Trophy — he’s the frontrunner. This race will flip around a lot for the rest of the year and it even has since I had the poll up, but ultimately, it’s probably going to go to Price when it’s all said and done, especially if Montreal finishes at the top of the league’s standings. The last time a goalie won the Hart was in 2002, when Jose Theodore took home the hardware after an amazing season for the Canadiens. Interestingly enough, three of the top four finalists that year were also goalies — Patrick Roy and Sean Burke. Theodore finished the season with 30 wins, a 2.11 goals against average, a 0.931 save percentage, 17.4 point shares, and 45.91 goals saved above average. It looks like price’s numbers will be even better when it’s all said and done, especially if he can maintain his current level of play for the rest of the year.

The Calder Trophy

Filip Forsberg – 47%

Aaron Ekblad – 26%

Johnny Gaudreau – 15%

Michael Hutchinson – 6%

Other – 5%

This has been a really strong year for rookies and I don’t think Filip Forsberg will run away with this one like the poll suggests. Forsberg currently leads all rookies in scoring with 21 goals and 53 points, but Johnny Gaudreau is knocking on the door with 48 points, and Mike Hoffman and Anders Lee have 24 and 22 goals respectively. I think the most likely bet to take down Forsberg is Aaron Ekblad, especially if Florida ends up making the playoffs. Ekblad is second on the Panthers with 22:21 minutes of ice time per game and second behind only Roberto Luongo with 7.0 point shares. His 18-year old season ranks among the best of all time according to Quanthockey, just behind Phil Housley and Bobby Orr. I would give Ekblad the award, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Forsberg wins it. 

The Norris Trophy

Mark Giordano – 36%

Shea Weber – 28%

P.K. Subban 12%

Kris Letang – 8%

Other – 5%

Duncan Keith – 4%

Drew Doughty – 3%

Before Mark Giordano got injured, he had a really strong chance to win the Norris Trophy. Although his scoring pace slowed down as the season went on, he was still viewed as the main reason why the Flames were having such an incredible Cinderella season. With the season ending injury, though, this award is very likely to go to Shea Weber or Kris Letang. In the past, voters tend to hand out the Norris based on offensive production, which would give Letang an edge, as he currently leads all defencemen in scoring with 50 points. That being said, when Shea Weber is on the ice at even strength, Nashville has 58.2 per cent of the goals scored, despite the fact he faces difficult competition game in, game out. He’s a huge reason why the Predators are as good as they are, and this is very likely the year he’s finally awarded with his first ever Norris Trophy. That is, unless the Preds continue this free fall. 

Stats from Hockey Reference and Hockey Analysis 

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