In an all too predictably awkward hybrid event, the NHL tonight announced their annual award winners alongside the new Vegas Golden Knights roster. There were poorly-timed fist bumps, terrible jokes that inevitably fell flat, and a few incredibly touching moments, like this one:
You inspire us every day, Bryan. ❤️#BickellBrave pic.twitter.com/rdoOAB7NAc— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) June 22, 2017
Oh you thought you were done crying about Bryan Bickell? No chance. And as if it were any question at all, Bickell’s legacy as a true inspiration was further cemented with the touching sendoff he and his wife Amanda received at the awards show last night.
Another Carolina Hurricanes player was in Las Vegas last night, as Derek Ryan had been named a finalist for the Masterton trophy — given to the “player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.” Ryan’s long winding road to the NHL has been well-documented, but did it bring him some hardware as well? And who would take home the big three: the Hart, Vezina, and Norris?
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Craig Anderson
No, Derek Ryan did not win. But it’s hard to be upset when the winner was Craig Anderson, who took several leaves of absence to be with his wife, Nicholle, who was dealing with cancer during the season. The Andersons are collectively very well-deserving of this award, and Craig’s acceptance speech was easily the most heartfelt and genuine of the night.
Ted Lindsay Award: Connor McDavid
The “Players’ MVP” award went to the Oilers’ McDavid, who would be back on stage again that night. No surprise, given how he led his young team back to the playoffs for the first time in a decade while putting up 100 points.
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron
Is it too soon to re-name the trophy after Boston’s #37? It’s Bergeron’s fourth time winning the Selke trophy for best defensive forward, and it comes as no surprise. So what happens when he wins his fifth?
Jordan Staal of Carolina earned a first-place vote, three 2nd-place votes, two 3rd-place votes, three 4th-place votes, and five 5th-place votes.
Voting totals for the Frank J. Selke Trophy from members of @ThePHWA : pic.twitter.com/BLj5XZVuQG— PHWA (@ThePHWA) June 22, 2017
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Brent Burns
Everyone’s favorite bearded Shark broke through in a big way in 2016-17, scoring 29 goals and 76 points — San Jose franchise records, by the way. And in the ever-evolving definition of what makes a great defenseman, it seems that this year was decided by offense, making Burns the easy choice for the award. Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin earned two fifth-place votes for the trophy.
Voting totals for the James Norris Memorial Trophy from members of @ThePHWA: pic.twitter.com/MkAlatViVS— PHWA (@ThePHWA) June 22, 2017
King Clancy Memorial Trophy: Nick Foligno
NHL Foundation Award: Travis Hamonic
Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno
The above three can be linked together given their similar natures. Nick Foligno took both leadership-based awards, with the King Clancy trophy going to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and makes a humanitarian contribution to the community.” Meanwhile, Travis Hamonic earned the NHL Foundation award — given to the player most active in the community.
Calder Memorial Trophy: Auston Matthews
The race for the NHL’s best rookie was tightly contested this year, as both Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine put up impressive numbers and stunning performances on a nightly basis. In the end, Matthews 40 goals and 69 points were enough to put him over the edge. Sebastian Aho of the Canes earned four 4th-place votes and 14 fifth-place votes.
Voting totals for the Calder Memorial Trophy from members of @ThePHWA: pic.twitter.com/qFLrqY6Kkz— PHWA (@ThePHWA) June 22, 2017
General Manager of the Year: David Poile
No real surprise here. Poile’s work in developing draft picks and making bold moves in the trade market helped his team earn their franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final appearance this season, thanks in large part to players like P.K. Subban and Ryan Johansen — both Poile acquisitions.
GM Of The Year award, as voted by executives, GMs and handful of TV/print media. pic.twitter.com/2VrhTnXyG9— Travis Hughes (@TravisSBN) June 22, 2017
Jack Adams Award: John Tortorella
Ah, yes, the “Your Team Overachieved” award. There’s no denying the success of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ season, and John Tortorella was sure to thank his team in his acceptance speech. But the most shocking thing about this? No f-bombs in the speech. Proud of you, Torts. Bill Peters of the Canes also earned a third-place vote.
Jack Adams voting. Wasn’t really close. pic.twitter.com/xUlQApWyKU— Travis Hughes (@TravisSBN) June 22, 2017
William Jennings Trophy: Braden Holtby
It wasn’t the goaltending award he wanted, but Braden Holtby’s work (and that of Philipp Grubauer) in the Capitals’ net earned some accolades as the team held the lowest goals-allowed average (2.055 between both goalies) among all NHL teams’ goaltenders.
Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy: Sidney Crosby
Pretty straightforward: he scored the most goals — 44, to be exact. And while this amounted to little more than an consolation prize for Crosby on an individual basis, given his losses to McDavid in both MVP races, he’s got a bigger trophy with a bowl on top in which to drown his sorrows.
Art Ross Trophy: Connor McDavid
Again, straightforward: McDavid had the most points with a cool 100 (30g, 70a). And he wasn’t done there...
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Johnny Gaudreau
The diminutive Gaudreau has always played with class, and earned the award given to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." Further proof that dazzling talent can come with a high degree of humility and respect for ones’ opponents.
Voting totals for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy from members of @ThePHWA: pic.twitter.com/iB691cS0oL— PHWA (@ThePHWA) June 22, 2017
Vezina Trophy: Sergei Bobrovsky
While Tortorella earned the Jack Adams trophy as best coach, Columbus’ resurgence rests almost solely on the shoulders of Bobrovsky. The netminder stole more than his share of games for his team, and brought plenty of consistency to the tune of a .931 save percentage and 2.06 GAA.
Hart Memorial Trophy: Connor McDavid
At the end of the night, it was McDavid once again stealing the show as he earned his second award of the night, and third of the season. Kid’s good.
Voting totals for the Hart Memorial Trophy from members of @ThePHWA: pic.twitter.com/Yq0hfQoz62— PHWA (@ThePHWA) June 22, 2017
McDavid taking both the Lindsay and Hart trophies over Crosby could signal the start of the changing of the guard, but for now let’s just enjoy having both of those (and several other) incredible talents in the League. Except when they visit Raleigh.
The next order of business comes on Friday as the NHL Draft gets underway.