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Who should win, and who will win, at the 2012 NHL Awards? Puck Daddy Staff Prognostications

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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The NHL Awards are Wednesday night, and a good number of them are seemingly unpredictable. Luckily, your friends at Puck Daddy and Marek Vs. Wyshynski are here to offer somewhat informed but ultimately faulty predictions.

Greg Wyshynski, Editor

Hart (Henrik Lundqvist/Evgeni Malkin/Steven Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

Just a dominant performance from Malkin this season, hitting the 50-goal mark and being the only player in the NHL that broke 100 points. I'm still sore that Claude Giroux was shut out of this category in favor of a player whose team failed to do the only thing of value in the regular season — make the playoffs — but Malkin winning the Hart will suffice.

Vezina (Lundqvist/Pekka Rinne/Jonathan Quick)

Should: Quick
Will: Lundqivst

Quick did more with less help in front of him, and was the backbone for a Los Angeles Kings team that saw its share of turmoil this season. He was the best goalie in the League this year … but the New York Rangers netminder will finally earn his crown on his fourth try.

Norris (Zdeno Chara/Erik Karlsson/Shea Weber)

Should: Shea Weber
Will: Erik Karlsson

Calling the upset here. I think the campaign for Karlsson — that his offensive numbers can't be ignored, and that his defensive liability wasn't significant enough — may have convinced enough voters to put him over as Chara and Weber split the vote. I cast my ballot for Weber for these reasons, but he might have to wait again.

Calder (Adam Henrique/Gabriel Landeskog/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Landeskog
Will: Landeskog

Forgiving the voters for somehow leaving Matt Read off the ballot, they'll atone for it by giving Landeskog a deserved rookie of the year prize. He was the most impactful rookie in the field this season. Nugent-Hopkins was the best offensive rookie; Landeskog did more and had the numbers to back up his case.

Lady Byng (Brian Campbell/Jordan Eberle/Matt Moulson)

Should: Brian Campbell
Will: Brian Campbell

There's nothing more gentlemanly than waiving your no-trade clause so an old friend can build a division champion in Florida.

Selke (David Backes/Patrice Bergeron/Pavel Datsyuk)

Should: Bergeron
Will: Datsyuk

Datsyuk bounced back from an injury-plagued season to be Datsyukian again, but this should be Bergeron's award as the forward equivalent to Chara's defensive lynchpin on the blue line for the Boston Bruins. Maybe that's a reputation based call, but he deserves a Selke.

Adams (Ken Hitchcock/Paul MacLean/John Tortorella)

Should: Hitchcock
Will: Hitchcock

Tangible results make all the difference for voters, and you can see the impact Hitchcock had on the St. Louis Blues — from their stifling defense to the stellar seasons for players like TJ Oshie.

Masterton (Daniel Alfredsson/Joffrey Lupul/Max Pacioretty)

Should: Lupul
Will: Pacioretty

Pacioretty returned from a horrific injury, but Lupul might better fit the Masterton vibe with his perseverance. But Patches was on a stretcher.

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

A Stamkos upset here wouldn't shock, as he's well-liked and had a ridiculous season. But it'll be a Malkin MVP sweep.

GM of the Year (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: Tallon
Will: Armstrong

The fantasy hockey GM'ing of Dale Tallon was the story of last summer, as he used the Florida Panthers' money to cobble together a team with UFAs and trade targets that won the Southeast Division. He deserves this simply for the audacity of it all. But Armstrong made the best coaching hire of the season and added some key veteran parts that led to the Blues' division title. He'll get the nod.

Sean Leahy, Associate Editor

Hart: (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

Right from the beginning of the season, Malkin -- rebuilt knee and all -- played like he was shot out of a cannon. There weren't many nights when he failed get on the scoresheet, and with Sidney Crosby dealing with his concussion issues, Malkin picked up the offensive load and also helped turn James Neal from a 20-goal scorer to a 40-goal one.

Vezina (Lundqvist/Rinne/Quick)

Should: Lundqvist
Will: Lundqivst

Their numbers are pretty similar, and had the Los Angeles Kings played better for the first half of the season, Quick might have won this running away; but King Henrik was a consistent body of work as he put together a career year for the New York Rangers. He's been a steady presence in the back for the Rangers since 2005-06 and will rightful get his due honor with the Vezina.

Norris (Chara/Karlsson/Weber)

Should: Erik Karlsson
Will: Shea Weber

There comes a point when the huge offensive contributions Karlsson brought the Ottawa Senators outweighs any defensive questions. His 78 points were 25 more than Dustin Byfuglien and Brian Campbell, but seeing how some of the voting goes in past years you get the feeling that it's Weber's after being "due" a Norris for a couple seasons.

Calder (Henrique/Landeskog/Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Nugent-Hopkins
Will: Landeskog

The Nuge and Landeskog lead all rookies with 52 points, but the Edmonton Oilers' rookie did so in 20 less game; not bad for a kid who some thought might not make it past the 9-game mark.

Lady Byng (Brian Campbell/Eberle/Moulson)

Should: Has there ever been an argument over the Lady Byng vote?
Will: Whoever has a Lady Byng bonus clause in their contract

It's the Lady Byng. Are you going to be upset either way? Let's say Matt Moulson.

Selke (Backes/Bergeron/Datsyuk)

Should: Datsyuk
Will: Datsyuk

Datsyuk rules. He just stole three pucks and won five faceoffs in the time you took to read this.

Adams (Hitchcock/MacLean/Tortorella)

Should: Hitchcock
Will: Hitchcock

While a valid case could be made with Paul MacLean, the Ottawa Senators were hovering in the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference for most of the season and found their way into the No. 8 seed. On the day the St. Louis Blues fired Davis Payne they were 14th in the Western Conference. Under Hitchcock, they ended up tied for second overall in the NHL.

Masterton (Alfredsson/Lupul/Pacioretty)

Should: Lupul or Pacioretty
Will: Lupul or Pacioretty

What is worse to you? Neck trauma/concussion or a back surgery/blood infection combo?

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

Every player got to see the kind of damage Malkin was doing all season long.

GM of the Year: (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: Armstrong
Will: Armstrong

Brian Elliott was supposed to be a backup to Jaroslav Halak when he signed last summer, but ended up keeping the Blues' season afloat and helping guide them to one of their best seasons ever. Veterans Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner helped a locker room full of young talent. Kent Huskins, Scott Nichol and Kris Russell provided depth and extra grit. Oh, and Armstrong also chose to bring in Hitchcock when the Columbus Blue Jackets decided to keep Scott Arniel around longer than he should have.

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Harrison Mooney, Associate Editor

Hart: (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

Malkin wins this for two reasons: first, by process of elimination. There's already an award for being the best goalie. It's called the Vezina. There's also an award for scoring the most goals. It's called the Rocket Richard. Second, because he was incredible this year, and I don't think people realize just how incredible he was. At times, we were so wrapped up in the Beckett-esque saga of Crosby's moving return date that Malkin's remarkable, unstoppable season only hardly registered. But this is his award.

Vezina: (Lundqvist/Rinne/Quick)

Should: Jonathan Quick
Will: Henrik Lundqvist

Picking between Lundqvist and Quick is like picking between Danny Tanner and Uncle Jesse. One is all sexy and irresistible and has great hair and plays in a rock band -- the other is quiet, understated, maybe even a little dorky. (Although Quick got his "Aristocrats" moment this postseason for sure.) But Danny Tanner was the glue that held Full House together and, similarly, Jonathan Quick kept the Kings in it all season long before they got their stuff together. His stats are nearly identical to Lundqvist's but he did it with less help from his team at both ends.

Norris: (Chara/Karlsson/Weber)

Should: Shea Weber
Will: Shea Weber

The Bruins took a step back, the Predators took a step forward, and Erik Karlsson doesn't defend as well as his fellow nominees.

Calder: (Henrique/Landeskog/Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Gabriel Landeskog
Will: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

I think Nugent-Hopkins wins this award because voters will look at his 52 points, the same number Landeskog put up, and recognize that he got them in 20 fewer games. I also think the Nuge benefits from optics: all year long, he looked like a standout rookie. Landeskog, on the other hand, looked like a settled, savvy, veteran -- and that's why he deserves it.

Lady Byng: (Brian Campbell/Eberle/Moulson)

Should: Brian Campbell
Will: Brian Campbell

Because I had to pick somebody and pretend like I cared. But also, come on, like they're going to give this award to Jordan Eberle or Matt Moulson.

Selke (Backes/Bergeron/Datsyuk)

Should: David Backes
Will: Patrice Bergeron

The Selke is a reputation award, but more than that, it's based on reputation built up over a few years. Based on this year alone, David Backes deserves this award for leading the Blues' transformation into a team that will swallow you whole in the center of the ice, but he hasn't been a noted Selke guy long enough to win this award. Also, too many voters still rely on plus/minus.

Adams (Hitchcock/MacLean/Tortorella)

Should: Ken Hitchcock
Will: Ken Hitchcock

The other reason Backes doesn't win the Selke: because much of his coming-out party as a defensive center will be attributed to Ken Hitchcock, who wins this award for turning the Blues around, and also because yeah right, like the NHL broadcasters' association will willingly give an award to John Tortorella.

Masterton (Alfredsson/Lupul/Pacioretty)

Should: Max Pacioretty
Will: Max Pacioretty

Between his horrible neck injury, his 30-goal season, and the amazing story where he met the kid that just came out of a coma, if you don't think Pacioretty deserves this, you're just a big ol' grumpypants.

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Stamkos

Goals are impressive, but seriously, Malkin was a beast this year. I pray the players recognize his beastliness.

GM of the Year: (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: Poile
Will: Tallon

Dale Tallon will win because he did big splashy things and they paid off for the Panthers in big splashy ways. That's how you win awards. But frankly, David Poile killed it this year. Sure, his moves didn't pay off in the playoffs and he'll probably lose Ryan Suter for nothing now because he's being a weenie, but by the end of the regular-season? He was looking pretty good. He'd improved his team up considerably, and that little stunt he pulled to get Alexander Radulov out of Russia was clever. Plus, after years of savvy management, it's about bloody time he got this award.

Dmitry Chesnokov, Senior Writer

Hart (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

I am not sure how to argue otherwise. Malkin had a terrific season. With the Cup and the Conn Smythe already in his trophy cabinet, the Hart, which Malkin almost won a few years ago, is only fitting. After that it will be interesting to listen to the arguments of some in Pittsburgh suggesting the Penguins should trade the Conn Smythe and the Hart winner to keep Staal.

Vezina (Lundqvist/Rinne/Quick)

Should: Quick
Will: Lundqvist

Let's face it -- the Kings probably wouldn't have made the playoffs if it wasn't for Quick. Lundvist may be due to get the award, but in my opinion Quick should be the winner.

Norris (Chara/Karlsson/Weber)

Should: Weber
Will: Weber

This is another one that is due. Weber has been one of the League's best defensemen for a while now. Karlsson should have a case, but scoring blue liners haven't been favored lately. Just ask Mike Green from a couple of years ago.

Calder (Henrique/Landeskog/Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Landeskog
Will: Landeskog

This is probably going to be a very close one, the one Henrique wished the playoffs would count for. They don't. Landeskog was probably the most complete rookie this year. And "complete" is the flavor of the month.

Lady Byng (Brian Campbell/Eberle/Moulson)

Should: Campbell
Will: Campbell

This is really the "least penalty minutes" award. Or at least this is the way a lot of pundits look at it. Campbell is the only defenseman in this group and has only three minor penalties.

Selke (Backes/Bergeron/Datsyuk)

Should: Datsyuk
Will: Bergeron

Subjective or objective, Datsyuk has a PhD in Selke and should be the honorary recipient. But just like some players are "due" their awards, others may have "had" theirs. Bergeron is a worthy choice, especially this season.

Adams (Hitchcock/MacLean/Tortorella)

Should: Hitchcock
Will: Hitchcock

The "old school" coach still has so much to offer, especially if his players listen. If it wasn't for the Kings in the playoffs and their remarkable run, the Blues may have won the whole thing this year. Certainly, MacLean's job with the Senators has been brilliant as so many of us (myself included) wrote off Ottawa before the season start. But Hitchcock should edge MacLean this year.

Masterton (Alfredsson/Lupul/Pacioretty)

Should: Pacioretty
Will: Pacioretty

The Canadiens' forward had quite a remarkable comeback from the injury he sustained last season. He is so young, but handled the incident very maturely and responded by being one of the best players in Montreal last season.

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

If I were a player, this award would be very special to me. Just like being picked number one in the All Star draft by your fellow players. Recognition from your peers goes a long way and shows a lot of respect. And Malkin's done a great job to earn that respect.

GM of the Year (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: Poile
Will: Poile

Poile should win this award based on, in fairness, not just this season. He has been slowly but surely building a true Stanley Cup contender with the resources he had. And he achieved it.

Ryan Lambert, Columnist

Hart (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Stamkos
Will: Malkin

I know, I know. "If you don't make the playoffs, how valuable could you have been?" Well maybe next year if Stamkos wants to win he should just score 70 and play goal, right? The guy had 60 freakin' goals. I don't know what else you want out of a player.

Vezina (Lundqvist/Rinne/Quick)

Should: Quick
Will: Lundqvist

Ballots were in before the playoffs started or this would have been the Conn Smythe winner's award in a runaway. Lundqvist got more exposure this season, plain and simply.

Norris (Chara/Karlsson/Weber)

Should: Weber
Will: Weber

Chara is probably the best defenseman alive right now but he didn't have the best individual season. Weber got a lot of help from Ryan Suter that Chara didn't get from Johnny Boychuk. As for Karlsson, this award is for defensemen, not top-quality out-of-position forwards.

Calder (Henrique/Landeskog/Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Landeskog
Will: Landeskog

This is probably the easiest award out there. Nugent-Hopkins put up points despite being hurt, sure, but didn't exhibit anywhere near the all-around game Landeskog brought to the rink every night. Henrique had a nice season playing with very nice players, and still fell short on points.

Lady Byng (Brian Campbell/Eberle/Moulson)

Should: Campbell
Will: Campbell

Who cares?

Selke (Backes/Bergeron/Datsyuk)

Should: Backes
Will: Bergeron

This is one of those things where the answer is perfectly clear and I'm terrified the voters are going to get it wrong on a reputation call. Bergeron deserved a Selke in the past, but not this year.

Adams (Hitchcock/MacLean/Tortorella)

Should: Ken Hitchcock
Will: Ken Hitchcock

That kind of turnaround makes this a slam dunk. Why even bring any suspense to this?

Masterton (Alfredsson/Lupul/Pacioretty)

Should: Lupul
Will: Pacioretty

First, let's just get it out of the way that "Old guy who still plays the game at a high level" shouldn't be the basis for this award. Second, Pacioretty will probably win because he was very visibly injured in a terribly serious way, and came back to have a strong season. Joffrey Lupul, though, played point-a-game hockey and scored 25 goals after recently missing a year with various health problems.

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Stamkos
Will: Malkin

Same as above.

GM of the Year: (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: David Poile
Will: David Poile

The guy built a great roster despite significant constraints and has for a number of years. I feel, though, that this will be a reputation thing: He's deserved it in the past and not won, but will do so now despite the latest iteration of the Predators being not much better than those in the past.

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Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs, Fantasy Columnist

Hart (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

He won me three grand on Bodog for winning the scoring title at 25-1 preseason odds. So he's MVP in my household.

Vezina (Lundqvist/Rinne/Quick)

Should: Quick
Will: Quick

With all due respect to Rinne and Lundqvist, who make this such a tough call - Quick won far too many games for his team. And that's before the playoffs. After the pitiful offense that the Kings put forth throughout 2011-12, when two or three fewer wins meant missing the postseason, you have to think about the 1-0 or 2-1 games that they won thanks to "Mike" Quick.

Norris (Chara/Karlsson/Weber)

Should: Karlsson
Will: Karlsson or Weber

Please don't compare Karlsson's season to Mike Green's from 2009-10. And spare me the advanced stats - the defensive zone starts, the shorthanded ice time, the Corsi, etc. Sometimes you have to stop looking through the trees to find the forest. Green beat Duncan Keith by seven points and lost the Norris Trophy to him. Karlsson beat Weber by, uh, 29 points. I don't care if this award is for two-way play. When a category that you look at before casting your ballot is this lopsided, you don't have a choice.

Calder (Henrique/Landeskog/Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Nugent-Hopkins
Will: Landeskog

Landeskog has been huge in every category and looks to potentially be a leader who produces 70 points per season. A cross between Mike Richards and Jonathan Toews, if you will. But RNH is a potential superstar, in the mold of a Steven Stamkos or Claude Giroux.

So 10 years from now, looking back, you will probably answer the trivia question - 'who won the Calder Trophy in 2012 - Landeskog or Nugent-Hopkins?' with "Hopkins". But this award isn't about the future career, it's about the rookie season. And to me, a shoulder injury was all that stopped Hopkins from getting 75 points and walking away with this trophy easily.

The fact that we have to ask "did he play enough games to impress us more than Landeskog?" should give him the trophy.

Lady Byng (Brian Campbell/Eberle/Moulson)

Should: Eberle
Will: Campbell

Actually, I have no idea. I guessed. Just like all the ballot-casters

Selke (Backes/Bergeron/Datsyuk)

Should: Backes
Will: Backes

I believe that the Blues' system is highly touted and there needs to a leader for that system. Backes is that leader.

Adams (Hitchcock/MacLean/Tortorella)

Should: MacLean
Will: Hitchcock

I think MacLean did more with less, but Hitchcock had his team playing such dominant hockey that it's tough to see him not winning this.

Masterton (Alfredsson/Lupul/Pacioretty)

Should: Lupul
Will: Pacioretty

Lupul was out of action for so long and fought the odds for so long, and then his comeback was remarkable. Pacioretty, meanwhile, was quicker in his return but his injury was ugly to watch and uglier to hear about. Not to sell him short, in most other years he should win this thing. But he was ready to return to the Habs in the postseason had they made it a little further, whereas Lupul was nearly forced to retire.

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

This one will be tighter than the Hart, as I think a lot of players will cast their vote for Lundqvist.

GM of the Year: (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: Tallon
Will: Tallon

I like what Poile did at the deadline and I also like Armstrong's timing on the coaching change. But Tallon recreated his team for immediate impact, while keeping a firm grasp of one of the best prospect pools in hockey.

From the ladies of "What's Up, Ya Sieve?"

Hart (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Chuck says Lundqvist. Pants says Malkin.
Will: Chuck says Lundqvist. Pants says Malkin.

Split decision on this one. King Henrik kept the Rangers at first in the East pretty much all season - without so much as a hair out of place. But the day there is no room for Comeback Crosby on the Pens' first line is the day Malkin deserves the Hart.

Vezina: (Lundqvist/Rinne/Quick)

Should: Quick
Will: Quick

A league-high 10 shutouts saved the Kings' 29th ranked offense. Plus, he's already got the Conn Smythe Trophy and a Stanley Cup, so what's one more?

Norris (Chara/Karlsson/Weber)

Should: Chara
Will: Chara

We're going to have the give this one to Chara. Because you won't like him when he's angry. CHARA SMASH!

Calder (Henrique/Landeskog/Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Landeskog
Will: Nugent-Hopkins

No doubt The Nuge was the more electric rookie this season, but we're big fans of Gabe the Babe. The potential for Landeskoging tips the scales here.

Lady Byng (Brian Campbell/Eberle/Moulson)

Should: Campbell
Will: Campbell

No defenseman has won in over fifty years - it's time!  Campbell's 6 PIM in 82 games would be enough - but he also doubled last season's production, notching 53 points from the blue line.

Selke (Backes/Bergeron/Datsyuk)

Should: Bergeron
Will: Bergeron

His season was full of Selke-worthy numbers and stats (like winning 53% of faceoffs when shorthanded) so we're rooting for the highly-underrated Bergeron to be the first Bruin to take home the trophy since 1982.

Adams (Hitchcock/MacLean/Tortorella)

Should: Hitchcock
Will: Hitchcock

In November, the Blues were not good. Enter Ken Hitchcock. They got good. Although their playoff run ended early, Hitchcock managed to change the culture of the Blues and help position the franchise as a team to be watched.

Masterton (Alfredsson/Lupul/Pacioretty)

Should: Lupul
Will: Alfredsson

We admire Alfredsson's seniority and dedication to the Sens, but Lupul's comeback from a spinal cord contusion and life-threatening blood infection only to be dropped by the Ducks then put up career best numbers in struggling Toronto?  Our hero.

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Malkin
Will: Malkin

Malkin does it all - including make his teammates better players. Everybody wants to be on that line.

GM of the Year: (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: Dale Tallon
Will: Dale Tallon

Extreme Makeover: Hockey Edition. Tallon brought in seven of Florida's top eleven scorers. They landed their first playoff appearance in 12 years and first ever division title with money leftover to buy more rats.

Jeff Marek, Marek Vs. Wyshynski

Hart (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Lundqvist
Will: Malkin

Let's face it, there's a bias against goalies winning this award, so much so that I'm beyond shocked that the Rangers goalie even made his way into the final three. Lundqvist, more than Malkin and certainly more than Stamkos was almost singlehandedly responsible for the Rangers achieving what they did, but Malkin popped 50 and was the only player to break the century barrier for points.

Vezina (Lundqvist/Rinne/Quick)

Should: Quick
Will: Lundqvist

Quick was the lone reason the Kings had their nose above the waterline and not drown in the pool of mediocrity they were swimming in for most of the season. However, as we've noted on the podcast, this is an award voted on by the GM's and as such the two goalies from the West will probably split the votes which will allow Lundqvist to hit the stage at the Wynn Wednesday night.

Norris (Chara/Karlsson/Weber)

Should: Chara
Will: Karlsson

An upset? Yup, if you somehow cling to the antiquated belief that defensemen should, oh I don't know, kill penalties. Karlsson wins based on the sheer volume of points accumulated, over 20 more than his nearest competitor on the backend.

Calder (Henrique/Landeskog/Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Landeskog
Will: Landeskog

Yes, RHN had a better scoring percentage but Landeskog's growth and eventual dominance amongst all freshman players is obvious. He played in all 82 games for Colorado (remarkable considering how Andy Sutton almost launched him into orbit last October. Be an expert, watch the video), notched 22 goals, 5 of them game winners and played on of the best lines down the stretch with Ryan O'Reilly and Steve Downie. Having said that, if the playoffs counted would there be any doubt that Adam Henrque deserves this award?

Lady Byng (Brian Campbell/Eberle/Moulson)

Should: Campbell
Will: Eberle

Not since Leonard 'Red' Kelly in 1954 has a defenseman won this award and as much as I think Campbell should win it, it's Eberle's year. Seventy-six points coupled with ten PIM's, it's an easy call. Eberle is such a sound positional player that he never put's himself in position to take a penalty to either get himself back into a play or allow it to pass him by.

Selke (Backes/Bergeron/Datsyuk)

Should: Bergeron
Will: Backes

Backes wins based not only on his fine two-way play but also the overall defensive posture of the Blues. However, I like Bergeron for this award. A plus-36, tops in the league, while drawing the toughest assignments night in and night out with a faceoff percentage just a hair under 60% and 55 takeaways to boot.

Adams (Hitchcock/MacLean/Tortorella)

Should: MacLean
Will: Hitchcock

Ok, first off, HOW HAS MIKE BABCOCK NOT WON THIS AWARD YET???? Ok, just had to get that out. Hitch will win because not only is he an excellent coach but the story was an easy one to follow — vet bench boss takes over disappointing and sputtering team and leads them to the top of their division and flirts with top position in the league.

But, the Blues were expected by most to be in the playoff mix this season unlike Ottawa who many (hands up) had in the Nail Yakupov sweepstakes. Bryan Murray indicated last summer this was year one of the rebuild and constructed his team as such. One problem — MacLean made them win. Nobody expected that out of this bunch.

Masterton (Alfredsson/Lupul/Pacioretty)

Should: Pacioretty
Will: Pacioretty

While you could make a case for Lupul (who came back after 2 back surgeries and a blood disorder) after what Max P went through after the Chara hit is remarkable. Not only to come back from a fractured neck but to score 33 goals and lead Montreal in points is beyond remarkable. TV question: When Pacioretty wins the award later tonight does whomever is directing the show cut to Zdeno Chara applauding as he takes the stage? Would be a great TV moment if he does.

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Stamkos
Will: Stamkos

Unlike the Hart, this is for most outstanding player not most valuable. In an era where scoring 50 is a monumental achievement, Stamkos pinned up 60. No player in his position was as dominant as Stamkos and the only reason he doesn't win the Hart is his Bolts didn't make the playoffs.

GM of the Year: (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: Tallon
Will: Tallon

Hey, can we give this award a name? My vote goes to 'The Bill Torrey" award (and yes the trophy is a bowtie). Tallon cobbled together a team last summer that many wrote off as "just Dale trying to get to the salary cap floor" and turned them into a winner. From bringing in Brian Campbell and his big ticket to hiring Kevin Dineen, a rookie NHL coach everything worked.

Elena Pagliarello, Marek Vs. Wyshynski

Hart (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Lundqvist
Will: Lundqvist

If you go by the letter of the law for the Hart, it's supposed to be for player most valuable to his team - but it always seems to get misconstrued as MVP of the league.... well, I think Henrik Lundqvist can cover off both those categories. Yes, the Rangers had a great defence in front of him, but the fact is that Lundqvist is a world class goalie and his team wouldn't have got to where they did without him.

Yes, Malkin kept the Penguins afloat while Crosby was out and Stamkos was one of the premier goal scorers of the year, but they're just a little bit behind where the man they call the king is.

Vezina (Lundqvist/Rinne/Quick)

Should: Quick
Will: Lundqvist

After all that about how Lundqvist is the best, he still wasn't the best goalie in the league this season. Bottom line, the LA Kings would not have even made the playoffs, let alone won the Cup, without Jonathan Douglas Quick. How many 1-0 games did the Kings play in? More importantly, how many of those did they win? Exactly. Sure Lundqvist and Rinne both played lights-out in the regular season and pretty darn well in the playoffs, but Quick just calmly and consistently led the Kings from start to finish this year.

Norris (Chara/Karlsson/Weber)

Should: Karlsson
Will: Chara

As much as I'd love to believe that young Mr. Karlsson can nab the Norris this year, I really think he's just too new and not "established" enough to win. Although Weber isn't that much older, he and Chara just seem to have that cache that's needed to win these awards, and I don't discount the fact that people want to see if Karlsson can string together a couple seasons like the one he just had.

Calder (Henrique/Landeskog/Nugent-Hopkins)

Should: Henrique
Will: Landeskog

It's tough to argue against a dude who made it all the way to the Stanley Cup final in his rookie year, but I'm here to do it. Over the course of the season Landeskog was consistent, and consistently getting better every game, while Henrique had some ups and downs and Nugent-Hopkins didn't even play the entire year (yes, it was an injury and not getting benched or anything, but the fact is he still missed time). I got to see Landeskog play first week of the season, and you could just tell that he has what is needed to be a stud player in this league.

Lady Byng (Brian Campbell/Eberle/Moulson)

Should: Who knows?
Will: Moulson

Not that there's anything wrong with rewarding fair play and sportsmanship, there's just something about this award that seems... empty? So I'll say that Matt Moulson should win based on nothing else other than the fact I've spoken to him on the phone and he was nice to me then, so he must be a gentlemanly type.

Selke (Backes/Bergeron/Datsyuk)

Should: Bergeron
Will: Datsyuk

Another one of the sorta "legacy" awards that it seems like you need to have standing with the voters to get in to real consideration. To me, the Selke finalists always seem to be guys who go about their business and you don't really figure out how good they are until you look at the numbers. Bergeron had a great statistical season, and was a solid unsung hero for the Bruins working his way back to where he was pre-concussion issues. But Datsyuk is one of those guys who can win on merit, and who people almost go, well, why not give it to him.

Adams (Hitchcock/MacLean/Tortorella)

Should: MacLean
Will: Hitchcock

While all three of these men are deserving of winning, if you purely look at results vs. expectations for the year, Paul MacLean deserves it hands down. The Senators were roundly picked as bottom feeders in the East this season, dismissed as a roster with a few old guys being helped out by a bunch of young kids and rookies fresh off a Calder Cup championship, and generally expected to not do anything of consequence. Instead, all they did was pull off some impressive winning streaks, make the playoffs and push the Rangers to a Game 7. To me, MacLean won the award when he turned the team around in November after a pair of blowout losses, but Hitchcock seems to still be the prevailing favourite for rescuing the Blues from early season mediocrity and getting them within two points of the President's trophy.

Masterton (Alfredsson/Lupul/Pacioretty)

Should: Lupul
Will: Pacioretty

Maybe it's because I'm in Toronto and saw Lupul play on a pretty regular basis, but he had a really, really good season, especially considering everything he's been through in the past couple years. You always hear guys say how unpredictable recovery from concussions can be, but it seems like trying to come back from infections and viruses like Lupul had to in the past few years can be just as unsure. Unfortunately, I suppose, it seems like you need to have a really dramatic injury/comeback story to be awarded this trophy, and it doesn't get more dramatic than Max Pacioretty getting slammed into the boards and stanchion by Zdeno Chara and coming back to have a terrific season for the Canadiens this year.

Lindsay — Player MVP (Lundqvist/Malkin/Stamkos)

Should: Lundqvist
Will: Lundqvist

Some of them may vote for his skill, and some of them may vote for his stunning blue eyes, but the players of the NHL will, in one way or any other, reward Henrik Lundqvist for being just slightly better than the rest of them.

GM of the Year: (Doug Armstrong/David Poile/Dale Tallon)

Should: Armstrong
Will: Armstrong

While Dale Tallon might be the obvious choice for assembling spare parts, young guys and ridiculous contracts into a serviceable team, I want to give more credit to the players themselves and Kevin Dineen for making something out of nothing.

On the other hand, Armstrong had the balls to change coaches a few weeks in to the season and banked on the two-goalie system of Elliott and Halak working out perfectly, which it did for the most part (until they traded away the insurance plan and one of the goalies got hurt, but whatever) - and while he positioned his team well last year, they may be even better set up for years to come.

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