Wednesday night the top members of the NHL were awarded for their heroic accomplishments during the 2011-2012 regular season. The award ceremony was held in Las Vegas and once again it was an excellent event for all those invested in the league. So, with that being said, let’s take a look at who went home with some of the major hardware.
Hart Memorial Trophy
Evgeni Malkin, Forward, Pittsburgh Penguins
Despite the outstanding group of finalists in this category, it should come as no surprise that Malkin was chosen as the winner for the MVP of the league. He led the league with 109 points this season, which was a remarkable 12 higher than the runner-up — Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos.
And, it’s worth mentioning that this wasn’t the only time that Malkin was presented with a trophy. He was also given the Art Ross Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award (Player’s selection for MVP) in a day that he will never forget. In the words of Malkin, it was “the best day” of his young life.
Henrik Lundqvist, Goaltender, New York Rangers
I guess, in most people’s eyes, this award was given to the right guy. If you look at regular season numbers, there’s no denying that Lundqvist was the best netminder in the NHL in 2011-2012. He put together a 39-18-5 record between the pipes with a 1.97 goals against average and eight shutouts. And, admittedly, it’s nice to see a guy rewarded after so many second-place finishes in this category.
However, I will say that Jonathan Quick was a worthy competitor for this award after he led the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup Championship. I thought that his unbelievable 1.41 goals against average in the postseason would make the voting interesting, but the league’s 30 general managers liked Lundqvist.
James Norris Memorial Trophy
Erik Karlsson, Defenseman, Ottawa Senators
In this season’s battle for the league’s top defender, offensive production must have come into play. The 22-year-old, Karlsson, led all defenseman with 78 points (19 goals, 59 assists), which was 25 more than anyone else in the league. This was a huge reason for the Senators run to the postseason.
But, he also excelled on the defensive end of the ice, where he posted a respectable plus-16 rating after being minus-30 a year ago. I personally have to tip my cap to a guy that beats out Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber to win this trophy — awesome accomplishment given those guys resume’s.
Calder Memorial Trophy
Gabriel Landeskog, Forward, Colorado Avalanche
What a trio of promising players in this category. Landeskog edged out the Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Devils’ Adam Henrique to bring home the honors for the NHL’s top rookie. He was very deserving, as he was tied with Nugent-Hopkins for the most points for any first-year player with 52, and was the primary reason that Colorado was in the postseason mix at the end of the regular season.
And, just to expand a bit on the bright future for this guy; he is 19-years-old, so you can assume that there are even better years to come. Avalanche fans should feel pretty blessed to have gotten this guy with the 2nd pick in the draft a year ago.
Jack Adams Award
Ken Hitchcock, Head Coach, St. Louis Blues
Hitchcock was a savior in St. Louis, it’s as simple as that. He came to the team after a sluggish 6-7-0 start to the season and quickly changed the environment of the club. The Blues threw together a 43-15-11 record with Hitchcock at the helm, which was the second best mark in the Western Conference. They also were one of the more dynamic teams in hockey on their home ice and advanced to the second round of the postseason before being rocked by the red-hot Kings. Nobody was more deserving of this award.