Mid-Season NHL Awards: Giordano a Unanimous Choice
Here we are, just past the halfway point of the season. Intentions were to get this article out last week, but life happened, so here we are now, a couple games past the halfway point.
There has been plenty of hockey played already, and there is plenty of puck left to come, but it is a good time to to a pause and analyze what we have seen so far. So here are the "First Annual Mid-Season numberFire NHL Awards" that were voted on by a combination of staff, Twitter followers, and Redditors. Each person was given a ballots and asked to fill out five nominations for each category. 10 points were awarded for a first place vote, seven for second, five, three and finally one point of a fifth place vote.
On to the awards.
Hart Memorial Trophy
Winner: Tyler Seguin - Dallas Stars
Move over Sidney Crosby, we have a new Hart Trophy winner according to the fans. And at least for half of the season. While "Sid the Kid" has plenty of time to catch up, our panel has named Tyler Seguin "Most Valuable Player" for the first half of the year. Seguin truly has had a great first half; he leads the league with 26 goals and is second in points to Jakub Voracek.
Since Boston traded he and Rich Peverley to Dallas in a package that included main pieces Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith two years ago, Seguin has exploded offensively. He has now realized the potential he showed with with was chosen second overall to Taylor Hall.
While fans of advanced metrics might have another preference for "Most Valuable," Seguin does rate near the top of the league in many, if not all even strength stats and is aided by being strong on the Stars power play. And as far as voting is concerned, there is no denying the impressiveness of his raw numbers.
|5-on-5 Category||Seguin Rank||Seguin Stat||Leader Stat||Leader|
Runners-Up: 2. Jakub Voracek, 3. Ryan Getzlaf, 4. Sidney Crosby, 5. Pekka Rinne, 6. Vladimir Tarasenko, 7. Carey Price, 8. Patrick Kane, T9. Steven Stamkos, T9. Filip Forsberg, 11. Tyler Johnson, T12. Rick Nash, T.12 Mark Giordano
Winner: Pekka Rinne - Nashville Predators
The vote was almost a sweep. Five of our six ballots went Pekka Rinne-Carey Price-Marc-André Fleury, and only one fan decided that Fleury was their choice for best netminder of the first half. Nevertheless, the majority has spoken, and Rinne is awarded our first-half Vezina winner.
After missing the majority of last season due to an injury, Rinne has returned and posted career numbers this year for the Predators. His tidy 1.96 goals against average and .931 save percentage are best in the league for goalies with at least 20 starts. But the number that really pops out is his league-leading 29 wins, six more than the second-place Price.
It is a good thing that this is only a first-half award. Tuesday Rinne sprained his knee and is going to be out three to five weeks. An extended injury may cloud voters' opinions for the full season award.
Runners-Up: 2. Carey Price, 3. Marc-André Fleury, 4. Braden Holtby, 5. Corey Crawford, T6. Michael Hutchison, T6. Jimmy Howard, T6. Jaroslav Halak, T9. Roberto Luongo, T9. Craig Anderson, T9. Brian Elliott
James Norris Memorial Trophy
Winner: Mark Giordano - Calgary Flames
We have a winner! And it is Mark Giordano! We counted five Norris ballots, and all five had Mark Giordano as the league's most impressive defenseman. It is somewhat impressive since Giordano doesn't lead blueliners in either goals or points. He does, however, place second on the Calgary Flames in scoring with 36 points.
The Flames have been a surprise team this year and are fighting for a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference. Giordano has been a big part of that push, and we have taken notice.
Runners-Up: 2. Duncan Keith, T3. Kevin Shattenkirk, T3. Shea Weber, 5. Ryan Suter, T6. Drew Doughty, T6. T.J. Brodie, T8. P.K. Subban, T8. Aaron Ekblad, T8. John Carlson
Calder Memorial Trophy
Winner: Filip Forsberg - Nashville Predators
Forsberg has been running away with the rookie scoring race since October, and his 39 points in 42 games prorate to 76 points for the full season. Barring injury of a major setback, Forsberg will not only take home the first-half rookie prize but Rookie of the Year honors as well.
Runners-Up: 2. Aaron Ekblad, 3. Johnny Gaudreau, 4. Michael Hutchinson, 5. Mike Hoffman, 6. Tanner Pearson
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Winner: Patrick Kane - Chicago Blackhawks
Now into the squirrely awards. There really isn't any rhyme or reason for a player to win the Lady Byng; the trophy typically goes to a very good player who has very few penalty minutes. Patrick Kane definitely fits that description; 20 goals and 47 points puts Kane fifth in league scoring and his single minor penalty makes it hard to argue him as a choice for the most gentlemanly player.
Runners-Up: 2. Johnny Gaudreau, T3. Pavel Datsyuk, T3. Cam Fowler, 5. Marcus Johansson, T6. Alex Pietrangelo, T6. Max Pacioretty
Frank J. Selke Trophy
Winner: Patrice Bergeron - Boston Bruins
The Frank J. Selke trophy has always been one that has been won on reputation. "Best defensive forward" really means is reserved for the forward people think is best defensively, but who still has to score goals.
One of the reasons for that is how to measure a forward's (or any player really) defensive ability is up for debate. One way is to look at Corsi Against per 60 Minutes (CA60). Corsi counts the number of shot attempts (shots + shots that missed the net + blocked shots) for or against a team while a given player is on the ice. Logic dictates the fewer shot attempts, the better a player is defensively or at least the better that player is at controlling the play. To get into great depths on this is for another time, but here is a look the players who have the best CA60s and the best CA60s relative to their team (CA60 RelTM) while 5-on-5.
In close games, the data changes.
Regardless, Patrice Bergeron was voted on by the people so he is our winner; he isn't a bad choice by any means. The best choice? Up for debate.
Runners-Up: 2. Jonathan Toews, 3. Riley Sheahan, 4. Anze Kopitar, T5. Adam Lowry, T5. Joe Thornton, T5. Claude Giroux, T5. Pavel Datsyuk, T9. Mike Richards, T9. Ryan O'Reilly, T9. Ondrej Palat, T9. Ryan Kessler, T13. Brendan Morrow, T13. Trevor Lewis, T13. Antoine Vermette, T13. Bryan Little
Jack Adams Trophy
Winner: Peter Laviolette - Nashville Predators
Here is our third winner from the Nashville Predators at the midseason mark. What Peter Laviolette and his assistants have accomplished with the Predators in a tough Central Division is remarkable. The team is tied for first in the league with 62 points, sits seventh in goals per game with an even 3.00, and is first in goals against per game at 2.17.
A look deeper into the advanced stats show that Nashville sits in the middle of the league when it comes to Team Corsi Against and Zone Faceoff Percentages as well as special teams efficiency. These are two areas that coaching and systems are crucial (or at least players' abilities to implement systems).
|Category||Nashville Rank||Top Rank|
|5-on-5 DZFO%||21st||Tampa Bay|
The real challenge with be for Laviolette and the Predators to navigate the next month or so without Pekka Rinne. Carter Hutton is winless in five starts and while his 2.60 goals against average and .905 save percentage are not terrible, the Predators will have to limit scoring chances to keep up their current pace. Expect some regression for the Predators with Hutton's taking over from Rinne -- unless Laviolette and his crew can improve the team's overall play.
Runners-Up: 2. Jack Capuano, 3. Barry Trotz, 4. Mike Johnston, T5. Mike Babcock, T5. Paul Maurice, 7. Bob Hartley, T8. Willie Desjardins, T8. Jon Cooper, 10. Bruce Boudreau, 11. Michel Therrien
Winner: Jakub Voracek - Philadelphia Flyers
Last year, Jakub Voracek was finally supposed to have his breakout year and his disappointed quite a few pundits and Philly fans. His point-per-game rate actually fell and excellent 2012-13 season may have been view as an aberration by many.
Looking at those numbers, it is easy to see why people were skeptical, and why this year's 17 goals and 52 points in 44 games (1.18 points per game) come as a surprise to many. But if we look at the month-by-month breakdown of last season, perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised after all.
Voracek has shown flashes of point-per-game talent in the past. This year, he and Claude Giroux have paired up to make a formidable duo. If they both keep it up, don't be surprised.
Runners-Up: T2. Vladimir Tarasenko, T2. Kevin Shattenkirk, T2. Nick Foligno, 5. Tyler Johnson, 6. Derick Brassard, 7. Filip Forsberg, 8. Mark Giordano, T9. Aaron Ekblad, T9. Jiri Hudler
Alexandre Daigle "Biggest Disappointment" Award
Ales Hemsky - Dallas Stars
What counts as a disappointment? I guess it depends on your expectations of a player. Every year multiple players, and often whole teams could win this award. At the midpoint this year, through a vote, it goes to Ales Hemsky, barely. I almost I feel like I should veto this one, but I won't. Hemsky has yet to live up to his expectations after signing an offseason contract in Dallas, and he is currently putting up the lowest point-per-game rate of this career:
It is certainly not the numbers we are used to, but I have a feeling that people's expectations of Hemsky were too high to begin with.
Runners-Up: 2. Mike Smith, 3. Alex Semin, 4. Vincent Lecavalier, 5. Tuukka Rask, 6. Taylor Hall, T7. Anze Kopitar, T7. Corey Perry, 9. Jonathan Quick, 10. Zdeno Chara, T11. Jeff Skinner, T11. Henrik Lundqvist, T11. Rene Bourque, T11. Justin Schultz