With the NHL recently on its All-Star break, the Professional Hockey Writers Association took advantage of the down time to announce the league’s mid-season award nominees. Writers in each NHL city cast their votes for the different awards which are annually handed out every June. In some cases the mid-season winners may end up on the podium at the end of the season while others may miss the boat. A pair of non-traditional awards were also announced which were the the Rod Langway Award for the league’s top defensive defenceman and the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
The mid-season Hart Trophy nominees as the most valuable player to his club were Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers along with Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames and Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning. All three forwards were leading their respective teams in scoring.
The nominees for the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenceman were Mark Giordano of Calgary followed by Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks. These were the top-scoring blue liners in the league at the All-Star break as Burns had 55 points, Giordano was second with 52 and Rielly had 50.
The three players named as nominees for the Frank Selke Trophy were Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators and Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers. This award is handed out for the best defensive forward in the league.
The league’s best rookie receives the Calder Trophy and the mid-season nominees were forward Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks along with defenders Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres and Miro Heiskanen of the Dallas Stars.
The most sportsmanlike and gentlemanly player is rewarded with the Lady Byng Trophy and the candidates were forwards Aleksander Barkov of Florida and Sean Monahan of Calgary along with Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly.
The Vezina Trophy nominees as the best goaltender in the league were John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks, Frederik Andersen of Toronto and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights.
The candidates for the Jack Adams Award as the top coach were Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders along with Bill Peters of Calgary and Jon Cooper of Tampa Bay.
The General Manager of the Year Award’s nominees were Brad Treliving of Calgary along with Doug Wilson of the San Jose Sharks and Lou Lamoriello of the Islanders.
Mattias Ekholm of the Nashville Predators, Calgary’s Mark Giordano and Victor Hedman of Tampa Bay were nominated for the Rod Langway Award as the most effective defensive defenceman while the candidates for the Comeback Player of the Year Award were goaltender Robin Lehner of the New York Islanders and forwards Jeff Skinner of the Buffalo Sabres and Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild.
As for the three-on-three All-Star Game itself in San Jose, California on Jan. 26th, The Central Division downed the Pacific Division 10-4 in the first round while the Metropolitan beat the Atlantic 7-4. The Metropolitan then doubled the Central 10-5 in the final. Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby was named the event’s most valuable player.
In the Skills Competition, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid won the fastest-skater event for the third straight year with his lap of the ice timed at 13.378 seconds. Defenceman John Carlson of the Washington Capitals blasted the hardest-recorded shot at 102.8 miles-per-hour while defender Brent Burns of San Jose came second at 100.6 mph.
David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins won the shooting accuracy competition while fellow for ward Leon Draisaitl placed first in the premier passing event. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers made the most consecutive saves with 12 and Calgary’ forward Johnny Gaudreau captured the puck-control event.