Ryan Suter has led the NHL in time on ice per game for each of the past two seasons.
Logging a lot of ice time, and his reputation from having a successful tenure with the Nashville Predators, helped make Suter a candidate for the Norris Trophy and a consistent subject in "who are the best defensemen in the NHL?" discussions in his first two years with the Minnesota Wild.
Suter's statistics, both "advanced" and "traditional," beyond the time on ice, left questions about whether or not he was really having the impact of an elite defenseman. His puck possession stats were mediocre, especially last season when Wild coach Mike Yeo didn't give him a high percentage of defensive zone starts.
The NHL used to be defined by dynasties, at the team level and in some award categories.
The League's recent history has shifted toward parity. No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champion since 1998, and no player has successfully defended a major individual trophy (Hart, Vezina, Norris, Adams and Selke) since Pavel Datsyuk won the Frank J. Selke Trophy for a third straight year in 2010.
Patrice Bergeron has won the Selke twice in the past three years, and he is NHL.com's preseason favorite to earn the honor in 2014-15. Should he do so, Bergeron would become the fifth player in League history to win the Selke three times, joining Bob Gainey (four times), Guy Carbonneau, Jere Lehtinen and Datsyuk.
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask obviously was thrilled when he walked up to the podium in Las Vegas in June to accept the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the top player at his position.
The 27-year-old won 36 games and led the Bruins to the Presidents' Trophy, one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks atop the League standings. Rask played a career-high 58 games and had a 2.04 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and a League-best seven shutouts.
"It's a team game and you can't really win the trophy by yourself," Rask said. "By saying that, you really don't rob the whole season. You play good, but I don't consider myself that I robbed a lot of games. I like to give our team a chance to win but still a big part of it goes to the team, that's for sure."
The target on the back of the Tampa Bay Lightning grew larger once they evolved from a team projected to rebuild to one expected to contend.
And not just for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs either. The Lightning are a chic pick to go deep in the postseason; The Hockey News has them pegged for the Stanley Cup Final. Expectations are heightened in Tampa Bay and that's fine with coach Jon Cooper, a finalist last season for the Jack Adams Award and NHL.com's favorite to win it in 2014-15.
"The first year that I've been a part of a team has always been a big transition year, and last year was no different," Cooper said on the Lightning's Power Play Podcast. "But I'm really excited about this year because there's less unknowns out there. We know each other, we know what our expectations are, we know what our standards are and we know what we can do. I think last year was a little bit of a coming out party for us. Now we have a little bit more of a bull's-eye on our back. Let's accept that challenge. I'm really, really excited for that."
When told he was being selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2015 Hart Trophy, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had nothing to say, and not because he was left speechless by an honor that comes with words and hype rather than hardware and bonus money.
Getting chosen as a preseason favorite for anything means about as much to Stamkos as the watermelons, Legos, wedding cake and plates he destroyed with his powerful slap shot during his most recent commercial shoot for Bauer.
That's to say it's altogether meaningless to him, with one exception:
"I hope I can," Stamkos said of winning the Hart Trophy.
In two of the past three Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty has been a near consensus choice as the best defenseman in the tournament.
In each of the past two Winter Olympics, Doughty has been a near consensus choice as one of the best defensemen in the tournament.
Doughty has evolved into one of the best players in the world at his position. What is missing from his dossier is a Norris Trophy, given annually to the top defenseman in the NHL as judged by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
He is NHL.com's preseason choice for the award in the 2014-15 season.
A new season marks the possible spawning of a new NHL superstar.
Last season Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon was a near-unanimous choice for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year after he led all first-year players in points, goals, assists, power-play goals, game-winning goals and shots.
NEW YORK -- The 2013-14 National Hockey League regular season concluded tonight with Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby capturing his second career Art Ross Trophy as the League scoring champion, Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin claiming his fourth career Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the League’s goal-scoring leader and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick winning his first career William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender who plays at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals.
Crosby, who won his first Art Ross Trophy in 2006-07, finished with 36 goals, a League-leading 68 assists and 104 points -- besting Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf (31-56—87) and Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux (28-58—86) for the Art Ross Trophy. Crosby registered points in 60 of the 80 games he played in (75.0%), including 30 multi-point performances, and never went more than two consecutive games without registering a point.
That Sidney Crosby has broken the 100-point barrier for the fifth time in his career is impressive, and his double-figure lead on the rest of the field in the scoring race makes his pending second Art Ross Trophy pretty remarkable as well.
Introducing the new official NHL App, available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets. A host of new features and improved functionality are available across all platforms, including a redesigned league-wide scoreboard, expanded news coverage, searchable video highlights, individual team experiences* and more. The new NHL App on your tablet also introduces new offerings such as 60fps video, Multitasking** and Picture-in-Picture.
*Available only for smartphones
** Available only for suported iPads