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Trophy Tracker

Devils' Hynes early favorite for Jack Adams Award

Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - NHL.com 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 - NHL.com 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 front-runner 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 - NHL.com 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 war-on-ice.com, 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 - NHL.com 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 - NHL.com 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 - NHL.com 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.

Sabres' Bylsma primed to win Jack Adams Award

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

It's become a habit to dismiss the Buffalo Sabres and any iota of a chance they have of reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They've averaged a shade over 21 wins the past three seasons, and in each of the previous two finished at or near the bottom of the NHL in most offensive and special-team categories.

But there are precedents of teams making quantum leaps in the NHL standings. The Montreal Canadiens ascended from the Eastern Conference basement to a first-place finish in the Northeast Division in 2013. A season later, the Colorado Avalanche rose from 29th in the League (39 points in 48 games) to 112 points and the Central Division title. An extreme example is the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks, whose 58-point jump from the season before remains the biggest turnaround in League history.

A 58-point jump is asking too much, but there's no denying the excitement in Buffalo, where there are expectations for the Sabres to make noise in the East. The additions of Evander Kane, Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly fortified a group of forwards that already included Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson, Zemgus Girgensons and Sam Reinhart, putting them in position to significantly increase their NHL-worst 153 goals from last season. Defenseman Cody Franson, who signed a two-year contract Sept. 10, should spark a power play that finished 30th at 13.4 percent.

Lightning's Hedman preseason pick for Norris Trophy

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Injuries sidelined Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman for 23 games last season, ultimately ruining any chance he had to win the 2015 Norris Trophy.

But Hedman showed while leading the Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final that he is unquestionably one of the best defensemen in the world. Hedman averaged 23:57 of ice time per game and had a plus-11 rating in 26 playoff games.

Perhaps Hedman hasn't garnered enough, but his talent and poise were on full display during the playoffs. He's big, he's intelligent and is remarkably skilled.

Panthers rookie Ekblad deserving of Calder Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

What appeared to be a one-horse race early in the season turned into anything but down the stretch in the battle for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

In the end, it was hard to ignore the accomplishments of Aaron Ekblad, the youngest defenseman in the League. The native of Windsor, Ontario, had a one of the best rookie season by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history, beginning his career four months after being chosen No. 1 in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers.

Nashville Predators center Filip Forsberg was the early favorite. The 20-year-old looked to be the perfect fit for new coach Peter Laviolette, who stressed offense and puck possession. He was ultimately overtaken in the rookie scoring race by Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau, 21, who defied the odds at 5-foot-9, 150 pounds.

Canadiens goalie Price top choice for Vezina Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders.

The Montreal Canadiens won their final three games of the regular season and finished in first place in the Atlantic Division. Without the play of their goaltender over the past six months, there's little chance they would have finished anywhere near the top.

Carey Price completed an outstanding season with a 4-3 shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. After allowing four goals in back-to-back losses on March 30 and April 2, Price responded by winning his last three starts of the season.

Price finished with the most wins (44), the best goals-against average (1.96) and best save percentage (.933). He finished tied for second in the League with nine shutouts. 

That is why Price is NHL.com's pick to win the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender. If selected, it would be the first time Price has won the award.

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