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Trophy Tracker

Rangers' Lundqvist early favorite for Hart Trophy

Friday, 11.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault put the pressure on goalie Henrik Lundqvist in their exit meeting after last season by telling him to be prepared to be better at the start of the season. It was a message based on Lundqvist's recent history of starting poorly.

Lundqvist has done better than just respond to Vigneault; he's put himself on pace to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. He is off to arguably the best start of his 11-season career with 12 wins, a 1.94 goals-against average and .939 save percentage through 18 games.

Fast start has Rangers' Lundqvist leading Vezina race

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault challenged his No. 1 goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, to get off to a better start this season after struggling early the past few years, and "The King" has responded by restaking his claim as the NHL's best.

After adjusting his preseason approach to focus more on technique and position-specific drills with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire, Lundqvist has emerged as the early favorite to win his second Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender by backstopping the Rangers to the top spot in the Eastern Conference after a 31-save shutout of the Nashville Predators on Monday.

Following a 5-1 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, Lundqvist sits atop the NHL in goals-against average (1.94) and save percentage (.939); his 12 wins are second to the Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby, who has 13.

For those wondering if Lundqvist is sheltered behind a good team playing well defensively, he also leads NHL starters with an adjusted 5-on-5 save percentage of .954, according to, a measurement that weighs shot quality based on the distance of the shots a goalie faces.

"He's our best player, there's no doubt," Vigneault recently told The New York Times.

Wild's Koivu making early case for Selke Trophy

Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

David Satriano - Fantasy Staff Writer

A quarter of the way through the season there have been many surprises, whether it has been players or teams. One of those surprises is center Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild, who is the pick to win the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.

When analyzing advanced stats, which play a big factor in determining the Selke Trophy finalists and winner, Koivu has excelled. He ranks eighth in shot attempts percentage at 5-on-5 (SAT%), and is tied for first in SAT Relative, a ratio of on-ice SAT% vs. off-ice SAT% (13.6). Koivu has won 54.6 percent of his faceoffs (253 of 463) and has been equally as impressive in defensive-zone faceoffs. He's taken 154 defensive-zone faceoffs and has won 50.7 percent.

His SAT percentage in close games (tied or one-goal difference) is 63.05 (third among forwards) and in tie games he ranks first (65.17).

Blackhawks' Panarin early leader for Calder Trophy

Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Top rookies aren't seen as secondary players in the NHL today. Coaches and general managers expect their best young players to have an immediate impact in a salary-cap world and help propel their teams through the grind of an 82-game regular season.

The 2015-16 season is turning out to be a banner one for first-year players. The loss of Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid to a broken left clavicle Nov. 3 has put on hold his chances of winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, but there are many other gifted young players who have filled the void.

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin is one who has excelled. He's spent the season in a top-six role, mostly alongside center Artem Anisimov and right wing Patrick Kane.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Russian, who agreed to a two-year contract May 1, leads rookies in assists (14), points (21), primary assists (eight), power-play points (five) and shot attempts percentage (56.94) among those to play at least 10 games. He's also first among rookie forwards in average ice time per game at 19:11.

That level of play makes him the front-runner for the Calder Trophy.

Devils' Hynes early favorite for Jack Adams Award

Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

Before the first day of training camp, New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero told his players and prospects they virtually had no shot at competing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It was easy for the outside world to believe such low expectations. Following a trip to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the Devils have missed the playoffs three straight seasons and bottomed out last season with a punchless offense finishing 27th in the NHL at 2.15 goals per game. The 27-year reign of president and GM Lou Lamoriello ended with 78 points and a 25th-place finish.

Shero took over with a clean slate and hired coach John Hynes, who he was familiar with from his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, to introduce a fresh ideology. Shero issued a challenge to the players to defy the experts, especially those who predicted the Devils to finish 30th in 2015-16.

To date, the Devils are penning a story nobody saw coming. They're 11-5-0 since a 0-3-1 start when they were outscored 13-6. Scoring is up, goalie Cory Schneider is playing like an MVP, and morale in the locker room is high. The desire to dig in and work hard started in the summer and held ground even after the slow start, and that has Hynes leading the race for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year.

Senators' Karlsson early favorite for Norris Trophy

Monday, 11.23.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

It has become commonplace for Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson to contribute offensively. The Senators captain has two 70-point seasons and scored an NHL career-high 21 goals in 2014-15.

But Karlsson, who has five goals in his past five games, is much more than an offensive defenseman. He is relied on in all situations and is averaging 27:05 of ice time per game, which puts him among the top three skaters in the NHL. That's why Karlsson currently is the frontrunner to win the Norris Trophy as the League's top defenseman.

Karlsson previously won the Norris in 2012 and again last season, when he had 66 points and a plus-7 rating in 82 games. With 21 points in 19 games this season, the 25-year-old likely will finish with at least 70 points for the third time in his NHL career.

Canadiens' Price preseason pick to win Vezina

Tuesday, 10.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is coming off a Hart Trophy season and has been described as a living how-to DVD for the position, so not putting him at the top of preseason predictions for another Vezina Trophy would be overthinking things.

Not only did Price lead the NHL in save percentage (.933), goals-against average (1.96) and wins (44) last season, but according to, he was at or near the top in even-strength save percentage (.943) and adjusted save percentage (.939), which weighs the quality of shots based on distance from the net.

The fact all were career bests suggests a correction is possible, and Price could take a step back this season, but watching how subtle tweaks under goaltending coach Stephane Waite have allowed him to improve the past two seasons, it seems just as possible Price could become the first goalie since Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils in 2007 and 2008 to win consecutive Vezina Trophies.

Sabres' Eichel preseason pick for Calder Trophy

Monday, 10.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the first two players picked at the 2015 NHL Draft, are considered by many to be the frontrunners for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

McDavid, chosen No. 1 by the Edmonton Oilers, said having an impact each shift, regardless of whether it results in a goal or not, is most important to him.

"Numbers are one thing, but some of the best games I ever played have been games in which I didn't get a point or maybe had one point," he said. "You don't necessarily have to put up a lot of points to be impactful. There are lots of ways you can impact a game, and that's something I take a lot of pride in, trying to impact the game in any way possible."

Eichel, selected No. 2 by the Buffalo Sabres, believes team success will lead to individual success.

Stars' Jamie Benn poised to pick up first Hart Trophy

Sunday, 10.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Jamie Benn did everything he could last season to will the Dallas Stars to stay in the Stanley Cup Playoff race. Eventually, their defensive deficiencies and average goaltending got the best of them and they fell short. It didn't stop Benn from leading and from scoring.

Benn closed last season with 10 points in his last three games, including a hat trick in his final game. It was enough to nudge him past New York Islanders captain John Tavares for the Art Ross Trophy with 87 points. Tavares had 86.

It was just a prelude to what's in store for Dallas' captain this season.

Bruins' Bergeron preseason pick for Selke Trophy

Saturday, 10.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron has won the Selke Trophy each of the past two seasons and three of the past four. A win this season would tie him with Hockey Hall of Fame member Bob Gainey for the most all-time. And with the way Bergeron has excelled in the defensive aspects of the game the past five seasons, it's no surprise he is the preseason favorite for the Selke Trophy for the 2015-16 season.

Enhanced statistics have become the norm in the NHL, and Bergeron has been at the top of most of the important categories. His shot-attempts percentage (SAT%) last season at 5-on-5 was 58.09, which was sixth among forwards to play at least 50 games. Bergeron's SAT Relative, a ratio of his on-ice SAT% vs. his off-ice SAT%, was second at 8.9 percent.

Bergeron led the League in faceoff winning percentage at .602 while taking (1,951) and winning (1,175) the most faceoffs in the League.

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