NHL Awards at the midpoint: Yahoo Sports picks the winners

Dec 27, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 4-1. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 27, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 4-1. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

The 41-game mark is the midpoint of the regular season, which means it’s time to take a snapshot of the NHL Awards races. 

For comparison’s sake, here are our preseason picks. Try not to hurt yourselves laughing. (What happened to that Drouin fellow, anyway?)

The panel: Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy editor; Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy editor; Ryan Lambert, Puck Daddy columnist; Jen Neale, Puck Daddy writer; Josh Cooper, Puck Daddy editor; Sam McCaig, Yahoo Sports hockey editor; Nick Cotsonika, Yahoo Sports columnist; Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Puck Daddy fantasy hockey writer.

And here … we … go

Greg Wyshynski, Editor, Puck Daddy

HART (MVP)

1. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers

2. Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars

3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

There’s no player in the NHL more valuable to his team than Luongo has been through half the season. The Cats are No. 26 in the league in offense, and Luongo has carried them to the playoff bubble. Seguin’s been the best skater this season, leading Dallas back from the brink. Getzlaf continues his three-year run of dominant play for the Ducks, through some transition for the team.

VEZINA (Top Goalie)

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

3. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers

Luongo is the most valuable goalie, but Rinne’s been the best goalie in the NHL, with a GAA that’s close to sub-2.00 and the best save percentage in the league. Price has been incredibly valuable to the Habs, and the second-best netminder overall. Luongo comes in third.

NORRIS (Top Defenseman)

1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

2. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

3. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues

Giordano played at nearly a point-per-game pace for the Flames, and he and T.J. Brodie formed a defensive pairing that led the team on offense, defense and drove puck possession. That said, Weber could ultimately surpass him. Shattenkirk is leading the NHL in offense for a defenseman, and has been consistently great.

CALDER (Top Rookie)

1. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

2. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

3. Michael Hutchinson, Winnipeg Jets

Forsberg has been nothing short of amazing with 38 points in 40 games, and could collect the Calder to go along with his collection of tears of Capitals fans. It’s hard for defensemen to win this award, but Ekblad could break through. In a different year, Hutchinson’s incredible netminding would have him first; needs a larger body of work, though.

ADAMS (Top Coach)

1. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

2. Willie Desjardins, Vancouver Canucks

3. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning 

Lavvy took a strong defensive foundation and built an aggressive, effective offense on it. Desjardins has led a thin lineup to playoff contention in his first season. Cooper has the Lightning playing the best hockey in the East.

SELKE (Best Defensive Forward)

1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

2. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

3. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

There’s just no denying that Bergeron is the NHL’s best defensive forward, in driving possession, faceoff proficiency and being the lynchpin for the Bruins’ system. Zetterberg has faced the toughest competition in the league and has played well. Toews is right there with Bergeron as the League’s best two-way forward.

Here's a video in which I explain these picks:

 

Sean Leahy, Editor, Puck Daddy

HART

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Rick Nash, New York Rangers

There's no real breakaway candidate among skaters, which opens the door for Rinne, who's having a tremendous bounce back year after missing half of 2013-14. Rinne has played the second most minutes in the NHL, posted three shutouts, has the best even-strength save percentage (.938) among goaltenders with at least 20 starts, and is one of the reasons why the Predators are atop the NHL standings have turned a -25 goal differential into +30 as of Jan. 9.

VEZINA

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

3. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers

See above for Rinne's case.

NORRIS

1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

2. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

3. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks 

Giordano checks off enough boxes to get the edge here. He produces (10 goals, 35 points), plays shorthanded (2:17/game) and excels despite going up against tough competition

CALDER

1. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

2. Michael Hutchinson, Winnipeg Jets

3. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

He had 18 games of NHL experience under his belt before this season, and that appears to have helped Forsberg acclimate to this level of hockey. He leads all rookies in goals (14) and points (38) and has been one of the key reasons in the turnaround of the Predators.

ADAMS

1. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

2. Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals

3. Willie Desjardins, Vancouver Canucks

Laviolette entered a new situation after a summer of change in Nashville. Gone was the only head coach the franchise had ever known and in comes a bench boss who has quickly turned around franchises soon after his arrival.  

SELKE

1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

2. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

3. Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning

Bergeron has sustained a level of excellence as a two-way player in the league for yet another season. He leads the Bruins in scoring with 10 goals and 31 points, is second in the NHL in face-off wins (59.3-percent), sees most of his time on ice begin in the defensive zone (51.7-percent DZS), plays against some the league's toughest competition and is among the best in both Corsi and Fenwick percentage.

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 31: Mark Giordano #5 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Nashville Predators at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 31, 2014 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 31: Mark Giordano #5 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Nashville Predators at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 31, 2014 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

Josh Cooper, Editor, Puck Daddy 

HART

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

3. Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks

No player is more important to his team than Rinne. When he’s at his best, the Predators can play their attacking system without any worry about their own end. People often ask ‘what is the biggest difference with Nashville this year?’ The simple answer isn’t new coach Peter Laviolette. It’s the guy in goal.

VEZINA

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders

3. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers

Not only is Rinne the most valuable player to his team, he’s also the best goaltender in the NHL. According to Puckalytics his 5-on-5 save percentage at .944 is tops amongst netminders who have played more than 30 games. Plus, he can make saves with the back of his leg.

NORRIS

1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

2. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens

3. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

My love of all things Shea Weber runs deep, so this was a hard choice to put him third. I think he should have at least two Norris Trophies at this point. But Giordano is far and away the best all-around defenseman this year. Points aside, he’s the Flames top penalty killing defenseman and his ability to move the puck out of his own zone is a major reason why Calgary is such a surprise.

CALDER

1. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

2. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

3. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames

Filip Forsberg may be the midway leader for the Calder right now, but he may not win it after 82 games. Aaron Ekblad is having one of the top rookie seasons for a 18-year-old defenseman in post-double lockout NHL history and continues to improve each week. That being said, You can’t not give it to a rookie forward who is scoring at a point-per-game pace … at least at the halfway point. At the end of the season, it’s easy to see these two being flipped. 

ADAMS            

1. Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals

2. Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings

3. Willie Desjardins, Vancouver Canucks

There has been so much talk the last few years on Alex Ovechkin and trying to get him to play better ‘two-way’ hockey. Trotz has simply turned the Russian sniper into a human wrecking ball, sending him into the offensive zone and making him pound the opposition with the force of an Iron Fist! Ovi seems happy with his role, and the Caps have closed out the first half of the regular season on a hot streak. The locker room seems united for the first time in ages, and Trotz’s ability to soothe egos is a big reason why.

SELKE

1. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

2. David Backes, St. Louis Blues

3. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

Jonathan Toews is the best all-situation forward in the NHL – and it’s not even close. Granted, this award is supposed to be the best defensive forward, but it has never been that nor will it ever be. If that’s the case, we should give it to Paul Gaustad every year. But Toews is Chicago’s top penalty killer, wins over 50 percent of his draws, and is as tenacious in his own end as he is in the offensive zone.

The Ducks' Francois Beauchemin, left, celebrates his goal with Ryan Getzlaf during a game in Los Angeles on Wednesday night Jan. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Kyusung Gong)
The Ducks' Francois Beauchemin, left, celebrates his goal with Ryan Getzlaf during a game in Los Angeles on Wednesday night Jan. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Kyusung Gong)

Jen Neale, Editor, Puck Daddy

HART

1. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

I believe the MVP has to make his team better as whole, and put them in the playoffs with the other successful teams. The Ducks would not be where they are right now if it wasn’t for Ryan Getzlaf. After a meh start to the season, he went into ‘Beastmode,' if you will, in December; in 14 games he registered 20 points, 15 of those were assists. Much of those were without his BFF Corey Perry who had two different stints on the IR. I’m not of the ilk that believe goalies can’t be MVPs. The game against the Kings notwithstanding, Rinne has kept the Preds in there when Shea Weber isn’t on the ice for the other half of the game. I picked Patrick Kane because I wanted to. He’s tied for third in league scoring, tied for second with five game-winning goals, and fourth in power play points. His individual success can occasionally be overshadowed by the immense amount of talent on the Blackhawks.

VEZINA

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

3. Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders

Can’t argue with the numbers of a reinvigorated Rinne. Price and Halak are close at second. Despite starting/playing-in four less games than Price, Halak has managed to keep his record (21-8-0) in check with the Canadiens goaltender (22-10-1). Halak has allowed less goals, 67 to Price’s 72, but Price has faced 210 more shots, giving him the edge in GAA and SV%.

NORRIS

1. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

2. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

3. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

It’s a pretty even race between Doughty and Weber. I give Weber the slight advantage because of Kings under-delivering at the moment, but then again, that’s what they do in the regular season. As for Duncan Keith, he scores points and that’s what counts to Norris voters, right? 

CALDER

1. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

2. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames

3. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers 

I really, really love watching Johnny Gaudreau play. I guarantee you he will score 30-plus goals multiple times in his career. It was difficult not to put him as No. 1, but Forsberg’s success can’t be denied. Ekblad is one of the many reasons the Florida Panthers are exciting to watch. If he keeps this kind of play up, he’ll be a darling to Norris voters for years to come…oh wait. He’s in Florida. Never mind.

ADAMS

1. Willie Desjardins, Vancouver Canucks

2. Gerard Gallant, Florida Panthers

3. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators 

There was NO HOPE for Vancouver after the yard sale over the summer. NO. HOPE. Desjardins brought in a breath of fresh air to a stale organization with overwhelming local expectations for success every season. No one saw the Florida Panthers coming, at least not this season. Gallant has managed to take a re-inspired goaltender, a bunch of kids, and a couple of random veterans, and turn them into a really exciting team in sniffing distance of the playoffs. Laviolette earns a nod for getting the buy-in of the Land of Misfit Toys in Nashville.

SELKE

1. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning

2. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

3. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

I’m not a fancy stats person, so seeing Johnson as plus-26 is something I consider impressive. He’s tied for second in league scoring with 45-points. I think the rule is that I have list Bergeron somewhere, so he’s second. The B’s have had their struggles, but Bergeron remains his reliable self. Anze Kopitar is a mainstay on my Selke list in the hopes that one day, whoever votes on this will finally figure out that he exists and does so much more than just offense.

Jan 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (center right) celebrates with left wing Milan Lucic (17) and defenseman Torey Krug (R) after Bergeron scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center. Boston won 3-2 in overtime. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (center right) celebrates with left wing Milan Lucic (17) and defenseman Torey Krug (R) after Bergeron scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center. Boston won 3-2 in overtime. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Ryan Lambert, Columnist, Puck Daddy

HART

1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

2. Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars

3. Rick Nash, New York Rangers

In terms of the value delivered to his club when he's on the ice, no one has had a better season than Giordano. He's doing things at both ends of the ice that no one else in the league can; he has as many points as Alex Ovechkin this year, from the blue line. On the Calgary Flames. And he has a relative corsi pushing 5 percent against the best competition in the West every night. He's been otherworldly. 

VEZINA

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

3. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

Pretty simple formula here: Look at the save percentage leaders, figure out if their teams are good or bad, and judge accordingly. Rinne is the reason the Predators are among the best teams in the league, and he has the stats to prove it.

NORRIS

1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

2. T.J. Brodie, Calgary Flames

3. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues

If a guy is my MVP he probably should get the award for being the best at his position.

CALDER

1. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

2. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames

3. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

Forsberg is top-15 in league scoring and helping to drive a dynamite top line. Gaudreau is gaining ground but he hasn't caught up yet. 

ADAMS

1. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

2. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Jack Capuano, New York Islanders

Laviolette is really getting a lot of help from his goalie here, obviously, but the Predators are almost at the top of the league. And you can't, like, fault him for having a great goalie. All the underlying numbers suggest they're much improved from last year.

SELKE

1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

2. Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche

3. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Have you seen Bergeron's corsi this year? Good lord.

Jan 8, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews (19) looks on during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Wild 4-2. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 8, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews (19) looks on during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Wild 4-2. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Sam McCaig, Editor, Yahoo Sports

HART

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

It's a wide-open race, with plenty of candidates outside the top three who could rise up and claim the NHL's MVP award by the end of the season. For now I'll go with Rinne, who has bounced back from a couple of injury-plagued campaigns to lead the Nashville Predators to a lofty spot in the league standings. Getzlaf is a force who still doesn't get the credit he deserves (due to his West Coast locale), while Mark Giordano's Hart hopes took a hit when the Calgary Flames hit the skids in December.

NORRIS

1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

2. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

3. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

Giordano won't get the Hart if the Flames fail to make the playoffs, but his emergence this season could result in a Norris consolation prize. Shea Weber, forever a finalist but never a winner, is in the midst of another do-everything season for the Preds. Ditto for defending Norris recipient Duncan Keith, who continues to play big minutes for the Chicago Blackhawks. 

VEZINA

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

3. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers

If Rinne is the Hart leader, you've got to give him the Vezina, too. Would the Montreal Canadiens make the postseason without Price? Probably, but they certainly wouldn't be vying for top spot in the East. Florida's return to playoff contention isn't due solely to Luongo's return to Florida, but ... well, maybe it is.

CALDER

1. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

2. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

3. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames

Forsberg has produced at a point-per-game pace on Nashville's top line, and has been one of the NHL's plus/minus leaders all season. Ekblad has made the jump from 18-year-old No. 1 draft pick to a minute-munching Panthers defenseman. Gaudreau, after a slow start, has been an offensive force for the Flames.

SELKE

1. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

2. Alex Steen, St. Louis Blues

3. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

With Patrice Bergeron's Bruins and Anze Kopitar's Kings both struggling, Toews can lay claim to being the best two-way forward on one of the NHL's best teams this season. Steen isn't scoring on pace with last season's surprising breakout, but his defensive acumen remains on full display in St. Louis. Datsyuk missed 10 games in the first half, but he's still Datsyuk so gets a vote.

ADAMS

1. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning

2. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

3. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks

As usual, there are at least 10 coaches who merit mention for the Adams. Cooper continues his fine work in Tampa Bay, guiding the Lightning through injuries and getting the most out of the team's youngsters. Laviolette is another deserving candidate in his first season in Nashville, and Boudreau has kept the Ducks atop the NHL standings despite being ravaged by the mumps and, at times, goaltending issues.

Jan 1, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) battles for the puck with Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) in the first period during the 2015 Winter Classic hockey game at Nationals Park. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 1, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) battles for the puck with Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) in the first period during the 2015 Winter Classic hockey game at Nationals Park. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Fantasy Hockey, Puck Daddy

HART

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning

Rinne is putting up legendary numbers and right now it looks like he's going to take a healthy run at 50 wins. If that's not an MVP season than I don't know what is. So much for the hip recovery taking a few months. The surprise on my list is Johnson, who is not only tied for third in NHL scoring and is first in the NHL with a plus-26 rating, but he faces the highest quality of competition on the team and boasts a CorsiRel of +14.00. He and his line of young guns are driving this team.

VEZINA

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks

3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens 

This isn't going to be close. All Rinne has to do is not get hurt, and they'll hand him this award before the voting process even starts. I think Jaroslav Halak has a chance of getting into this race as well, but really it's just a race for second.

NORRIS

1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

2. John Carlson, Washington Capitals

3. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators 

This will be a close one. Three weeks ago, this was all Giordano, but he's come back to Earth and suddenly there are other defensemen in the mix. Kevin Shattenkirk is tied with Giordano in scoring for defensemen, which often plays a role in voting too. And we all know that Erik Karlsson could suddenly decide to go nutty and blow past everyone in that department. Can never count him out.

CALDER

1. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

2. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

3. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames 

Another close race that's constantly shifting, I like Ekblad here for the consistency. While Forsberg and Gaudreau have taken turns dazzling us and going nuts on the scoresheet in clusters of five or 10 games, Ekblad has been steadily inching upward in both his play and his production. That will be what wins it.

ADAMS

1. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

2. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings

Even with Rinne and Mike Ribeiro back in form and Filip Forsberg emerging as a superstar, the Predators are not this good. This is pure coaching. And as for Cooper, I don't know too many coaches who could coax the likes of Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Pavelec into become such star players so quickly. To give the youngsters such freedom ... well, you don't often see coaches do that. And it's really paid off.

SELKE

1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

2. Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks

3. Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues 

Bergeron is another shoe-in for an award, as he gets all the defensive minutes and seems to always come away with the puck and still create offense. Thornton is underrated defensively, but people are starting to take notice this year. Berglund is a victim of the numbers game, and he has been disappointing when it comes to offense thanks to the abundance of scoring options in St. Louis. So instead he's turned his game into that of an elite checker and he's become one of the best at it.

Jan 4, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) handles the puck against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Verizon Center. The Washington Capitals won 4 - 3. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 4, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) handles the puck against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Verizon Center. The Washington Capitals won 4 - 3. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

Nick Cotsonika, Columnist, Yahoo Sports

HART

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars 

Of all the reasons the Nashville Predators are atop the NHL standings – new coach, new players, new style, hot rookie, better 5-on-5 play – Rinne has been the biggest. He has been the biggest difference-maker in the league. The Ducks are right there with the Predators, and Getzlaf has led the way. He leads the team in scoring by 16 points.

VEZINA

1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

3. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers

Rinne leads the NHL in wins (27), goals-against average (2.00) and save percentage (.929) among goaltenders who have played more than 18 games. Several goaltenders aren’t far off, though, starting with Price and Luongo.

NORRIS

1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

2. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

3. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues

Giordano was a thinking man’s Norris pick last year, and now he’s earning attention the traditional way, ranking second among defensemen in scoring. He’s on pace for 20 goals and 70 points. You wonder, though, if his candidacy will fade if the Flames keep fading.

CALDER

1. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

2. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

3. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames 

Ekblad is having one of the best seasons by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history. He ranks third among all rookies in scoring, and he leads rookie defensemen in scoring by 10 points. He has been one reason why the Florida Panthers have leapt into playoff contention.

ADAMS

1. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

2. Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets

3. Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals

Coaches look good when their goalies are good, as Patrick Roy and Paul MacLean can tell you. Rinne has made Laviolette look good. At the same time, Laviolette has turned up the tempo in Nashville and taken a team with a lot of new parts to the top of the league.

SELKE

1. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

2. Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

Toews remains the backbone of the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the best teams in the league. The Selke has become an award for centers, but there is good reason the Lightning trumpets Palat, a winger, as a strong candidate. Datsyuk has won this award three times. He’s fun to watch backcheck. 

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