A week by week look at where the race for the major individual NHL awards stands and which Caps could be in contention.
Full disclosure, no Caps make the top three for any award in this week's NHL Awards Tracker, but three is a small number and there is still half a season left to go. There are still Caps players in contention and plenty of time to build that award resume and outshine the competition.
Here's a look at the Caps players who have established themselves as contenders so far this season.
In contention for: Norris
Here's the big question about Carlson after the All-Star rosters were announced: Does the fact he was passed over mean he is not a serious contender for the Norris? The answer is no. The winner of the Norris is determined by a vote among members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, whereas the All-Star rosters are compiled by the league. There are various factors that go into the NHL's decision on the All-Star Game that ultimately have nothing to do with how deserving Carlson is. First, every team must be represented and, let's face it, sometimes there are teams that don't really have any players worthy of being an All-Star. Second, the All-Star Game is not just a reward for a good season, but a showcase of the sport and the league. For that reason, big-name players often get invited over other players with better resumes. That explains why Kris Letang is in the All-Star Game and John Carlson is not. Letang has been so bad this season, it was rumored that the Penguins were actually exploring trading him. Those rumors aren't from October, that was from the end of December. that sort of logic can play out in All-Star selections, but that won't be the case in the vote for the Norris. As long as Carlson is playing the minutes he is playing and producing at the rate he is producing, he will be among the leading candidates by season's end.
In contention for: Vezina
Yes, Holtby's GAA and save percentage are not as good as in previous years, but he is excelling at perhaps the most important stat of all: Wins. Holtby sits second in the league in wins with 24. Of all the goalies ranked in the top ten for wins this season, only one, Pekka Rinne, has played in fewer games than Holtby's 33.
In contention for: Hart
It's not just the fact that Ovechkin is laughing at Father Time with 27 goals in 22 games at the age of 32, it's that he is leading a Caps team with much less depth in previous years to the top of the standings in the Metropolitan Division.
In contention for: Jack Adams
If you want to argue that Trotz is in contention to be a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, sure. This season has been arguably his best coaching job in Washington. The Caps are in first place in the division despite the numerous players the team lost in the offseason. But in reality, no one is in contention for the Jack Adams because Gerard Gallant is going to win it for what he is doing in Vegas.