Handing out PHT’s 2017-18 NHL Academy Awards

Joey Alfieri
NBC Sports

In honor of the 90th edition of the Academy Awards, PHT is handing out their own Oscars to players and teams around the league for their work during the 2017-18 season so far.

Which team or player has been the best story of the year (best picture)? Who is the top actor in a leading role (MVP)?

Let’s find out!

• Best Costume: 

The nominees are: Toronto Maple Leafs Stadium Series jersey, Washington Capitals Stadium Series jersey, Vegas Golden Knights jersey.

And the winner is:

So we’ve tweaked the category a bit to best “new” costume because classics like the Canadiens and Blackhawks should also win. Anyways, the award for best costume goes to the Washington Capitals Stadium Series jersey.

There’s nothing to not like about the jersey. The mix of navy and red and white blend together well. Sure, maybe there’s a little too much red, but it definitely stands out as the best of the bunch. Congratulations to the Capitals for winning…something.

• Best Cinematography: 

The nominees are: Who are we kidding? There’s really only one nominee for this award.

And the winner is: Ryan Reaves. Even though he’s with the Golden Knights now, he’s taking this award home because of work he did while with the Penguins. During a road trip, Reaves pranked teammate Phil Kessel by nearly scaring the life out of him.

Congratulations to Ryan Reaves.

• Best Director (general manager): 

The nominees are: Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, George McPhee of the Vegas Golden Knights, David Poile of the Nashville Predators, Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins, Jim Rutherford of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And the winner is: Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay Lightning.

Yes, George McPhee has essentially built a team from scratch, but it’s tough to ignore what Yzerman and the Lightning have been able to accomplish this year. The Bolts GM managed pull off a huge trade when he landed Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers. Acquiring impact players with term is no easy accomplishment during the season. That’s what put Yzerman over the top.

• Best Actor in a Supporting Role: 

The nominees are: Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Phil Kessel of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders, William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights.

And the winner is: Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Stamkos has had a tremendous season in Nikita Kucherov‘s shadow, but Kessel has come up big on several occasions for the Penguins throughout the season. He doesn’t lead his team in points, but he’s still managed to put up 27 goals and 74 points in just 66 games. Even though he didn’t go home with a Conn Smyth Trophy two years ago, he’ll grab a PHT Academy Award, which is just as good, if not better. Congrats to Phil.

• Best Actor in a Leading Role:

The nominees are: Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lighting, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils.

And the winner is: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning.

Kucherov leads the league in points and he’s been the best player on the best team in the league. But as he was delivering his acceptance speech, he realized that he wasn’t the player that actually won. There was a mistake!

The actual winner is Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils, who has picked up at least one point in 25 straight games. There’s no denying that Kucherov is valuable to his team, but Hall is incredibly important to the Devils.

Sorry for the confusion. Congrats to Hall and all the other nominees.

• Best picture: 

The nominees are: The Vegas Golden Knights in their incredible first season, Steven Stamkos’ spectacular comeback season, Claude Giroux’s magical bounce back campaign, the New Jersey Devils finally coming to life, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s redemption year.

And the winner is: The Vegas Golden Knights.

We couldn’t go a whole awards ceremony without handing something to the NHL’s newest team. It’s been an incredible ride in Vegas this season, as they’ve led the Pacific Division and Western Conference for most of the year. Head coach Gerard Gallant and all the players have really come together to give us one of the most amazing stories the hockey world has seen in an incredibly long time. From Jonathan Marchessault to William Karlsson to Marc-Andre Fleury and everyone in between, they’ve been brilliant in 2017-18.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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