NHL awards preview: Lightning stars could be winners before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final

Although their team is down a game in the Stanley Cup final, Tampa Bay defenceman Victor Hedman and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy could walk away with some hardware on Monday night.

The NHL will hand out its remaining major individual trophies in a half-hour TV show (Sportsnet, 6:30 p.m.) far away from the glitter and glamour of Las Vegas, where the awards show is usually held. It’s another nod to how the pandemic has changed things.

Hedman is up for the Norris as the NHL’s best defenceman. Vasilevskiy is a finalist for the Vezina as the game’s best goalie. Here’s betting both will trade whatever they might win Monday night for the Stanley Cup.

These are regular-season awards, with voting completed before the playoffs began. Here’s what’s at stake and who should walk off — or should it be Zoom off, since the nominees won’t be there live — with the hardware.

Hart Memorial Trophy

To the player deemed most valuable to his team, voting by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association:

  • Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (43 goals, 67 assists)
  • Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche (35 goals, 58 assists)

  • Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers (32 goals, 63 assists)

None of them have won this award previously. Hard to see anyone but Draisaitl walking away with it, after he dominated the scoring race with 110 points — 13 points more than teammate and runner-up Connor McDavid. MacKinnon is the heart-and-soul of the Avs. The Rangers don’t make even this year’s expanded playoffs without Panarin.

James Norris Memorial Trophy

To the top defenceman, voting by members of the PHWA:

  • John Carlson, Washington Capitals (15 goals, 60 assists)
  • Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning (11 goals, 44 assists)
  • Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (16 goals, 49 assists)

Carlson had a first half for the ages, and may have wrapped up the award with the impression he left after his hot start. Hedman won in 2018 and is an annual contender, now playing the role of fellow Swede Nicklas Lidstrom. Josi has long been underappreciated outside his market, and played the third-most minutes in the league (1,778:45).

Vezina Trophy

To the top goalie, voting by the league’s general managers:

  • Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets (31-21-5, 2.57, .922)
  • Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (26-8-6, 2.12, .929)

  • Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning (35-14-3, 2.56, .917)

The Jets have a star in Hellebuyck. Rask won in 2014. Boston fans won’t soon forget Rask leaving the bubble in the playoffs, but that won’t matter in the voting. Vasilevskiy had an off year for him and was still elite. It’s a vote by managers, and you have to think they’d vote by who they wish was their goalie. So go with Vasilevskiy.

Calder Memorial Trophy

To the league’s top rookie, voting by the PHWA:

  • Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks (eight goals, 45 assists)
  • Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks (30 goals, 16 assists)
  • Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (12 goals, 38 assists)

Oh, what a list. A toss-up, really. It’s most likely between Hughes and Makar, franchise defencemen who stepped right into big roles, but Kubalik’s scoring prowess should not be overlooked. If you can find a three-sided coin, flip it.



Ted Lindsay Award

To the league’s most outstanding player, voting by the players:

  • Leon Draisaitl
  • Nathan MacKinnon
  • Artemi Panarin

The award usually mimics the venerable Hart, and this year is no different. Any of them would be a first-time winner. Players admire scoring as much as anybody else, so Draisaitl should take two.


Art Ross (most points): Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Bill Masterton Memorial: Bobby Ryan (OTT)

Frank J. Selke: Sean Couturier (PHI)

Jack Adams: Bruce Cassidy (BOS)

Jim Gregory GM of the year: Lou Lamoriello (NYI)

King Clancy Memorial: Matt Dumba (MIN)

Willie O’Ree Community Hero: Dampy Brar (Apna Hockey)

Lady Byng Memorial: Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

Mark Messier NHL Leadership: Mark Giordano (CGY)

Maurice (Rocket) Richard (most goals): Alex Ovechkin (WSH) and David Pastrnak (BOS)

William M. Jennings (fewest goals against): Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak (BOS)

Kevin McGran



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