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Trophy Tracker

Forsberg's continued success paces Calder race

Friday, 03.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg could never have predicted this type of success on and off the ice in his first full NHL season.

In addition to leading the Predators and NHL rookies in scoring, Forsberg played in the NHL All-Star Game and won a new Honda Accord as the last pick for Team Toews in the 2015 All-Star Fantasy Draft.

He has proven to be a versatile performer for Predators coach Peter Laviolette, who for most of the season played the 20-year-old Swede on the top line.

"I'm sure he's more confident now playing first-line minutes and the first power-play," Laviolette said. "I think when you have success and knowing where our team is in the standings, he's having a strong year and that builds confidence in him. He might not have had that same confidence when the season started, but watching him in development camp, rookie camp and training camp, he was always a consistent player, a top player."

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All-around play of Penguins' Letang calls for Norris

Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

Kris Letang has developed a reputation for being an offensive defenseman, a player who can contribute on the score sheet from his position on the blue line. And lately, when it comes to awarding the distinction of best defenseman in the NHL, offense has been a major component of the conversation.

The past five Norris Trophy winners have finished either first or second among defensemen in scoring, three times leading defensemen in points (Duncan Keith in 2013-14, P.K. Subban in 2012-13, and Erik Karlsson in 2011-12). It's created some conversation about what criteria is and is not factoring into the voting.

Letang leads defensemen in scoring this season, but it's what he's added to his game at the other end of the ice, and how well-rounded it has become that makes him the Norris favorite at this point.

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Price carrying Canadiens, leads race for Hart Trophy

Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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

A goalie has won the Hart Trophy seven times in the 90-year history of the award. It hasn't happened since the 2001-02 season, when Jose Theodore took home hardware for being the main reason a subpar Montreal Canadiens team made the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Though it's obviously rare, if the NHL handed out the trophy today for the most valuable player, it would go to, or at least it should go to another Canadiens goalie.

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Laviolette, leading Predators, still Adams favorite

Tuesday, 03.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

Not even an injury to a Hart and Vezina Trophy contender could derail Peter Laviolette and the Nashville Predators.

Goalie Pekka Rinne was leading the NHL with 29 wins when he sustained a sprained knee Jan. 13, but the Predators held steady to maintain their place at the top of the Central Division. When Rinne was injured, the Predators led the Chicago Blackhawks by two points and the St. Louis Blues by five points. When he returned Feb. 5, they were two points ahead of the Blues and eight in front of the Blackhawks.

At the quarter pole of the season, Nashville leads the race for the Presidents' Trophy and Laviolette remains the favorite to win the Jack Adams Award given to the NHL's top coach.

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Vezina favorite Price elevating game for Canadiens

Tuesday, 03.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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

The Montreal Canadiens won their fourth straight game Saturday and are building on their lead atop the Atlantic Division. One could make a strong case their goaltender is the biggest reason why.

Carey Price has been sensational all season long and was named the NHL's Second Star for the month of February after going 9-1-1 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in 11 games. He closed out the month by shutting out the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-0 win at Bell Centre on Saturday when he made 30 saves.

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Bergeron continues to strut Selke credentials

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

During his second shift against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 22, Patrice Bergeron hopped over the boards and turned a normally routine play for his opponents into a goal for the Boston Bruins.

Each team was in the midst of changing its forwards. As Chicago forward Patrick Sharp left the puck for Brent Seabrook, Bergeron sped into the zone, first in on the forecheck. Seabrook was buying time, waiting for the Blackhawks to get a new forward unit on the ice, but Bergeron's efforts expedited the play. Seabrook was forced to fire a cross-ice pass to Michal Rozsival, who was quickly met by Bergeron. Rozsival was hurried into attempting a difficult outlet pass, Chicago turned over the puck, and the Bruins went the other way, with Bergeron ending the sequence by tipping home a pass from Reilly Smith.

These kinds of plays are routine for Bergeron, the best defensive forward in all of hockey, and the Selke Trophy favorite at the quarter pole of the 2014-15 season.

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Predators' Rinne favorite to win Vezina Trophy

Friday, 01.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was NHL.com's choice to win the Vezina Trophy at the quarter pole. He had 14 wins in 18 decisions, a 1.97 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Rinne continues to be the top goalie in the League midway through the 2014-15 season, though he is expected to miss the next 3-5 weeks with a sprained knee sustained Tuesday in a win against the Vancouver Canucks.

The 32-year-old leads the NHL with 29 victories, five more than Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen. Rinne is second in GAA (1.96) behind Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues, who has played 17 fewer games. Rinne is tied for second in save percentage (.931) with Michael Hutchinson (Winnipeg Jets) trailing Calvin Pickard (Colorado Avalanche). Pickard and Hutchinson have a combined 29 starts between them; Rinne has started 37 games.

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Analytics bolster Selke candidacy of Bruins' Bergeron

Thursday, 01.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

The Boston Bruins spent part of the first half of this season without defenseman Zdeno Chara and forward David Krejci, and without goaltender Tuukka Rask stopping shots at his previously elite level.

Boston did still have center Patrice Bergeron, and one of the team's top four players performing at an elite level helped keep the Bruins from freefalling out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs chase. Chara and Krejci are back, Rask is playing well again and the Bruins are churning toward safety and an eighth consecutive postseason appearance.

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Predators' Forsberg remains Calder Trophy leader

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

It was only a year ago when Filip Forsberg helped Sweden win a silver medal at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on home ice in Malmo, Sweden.

Forsberg had four goals, 12 points and a plus-3 rating in seven games as captain for Tre Kronor but his country lost the gold medal game in overtime to Finland. The experience as a top point producer and leader for an entire country has certainly carried over to the NHL with the Predators this season.

Forsberg, who was ranked No. 12 on NHL.com's Top 60 prospects ranking, remains our top candidate to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year.

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Kings' Doughty worthy of Norris crown thus far

Monday, 01.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter has been the NHL's leading minute man in each of the past two seasons.

He's still leading the League in average time on ice per game, but he missed two games because of the mumps, and Drew Doughty has taken the mantle as the most-used skater in the NHL to this point in the 2014-15 season.

To be clear, just leading the NHL in time on ice is not reason to be the leading contender for the Norris Trophy. There are many examples of defensemen whose performances have suffered because they arguably played too much (Suter before this season could be placed in that group).

That said, Doughty has been the best defenseman in the NHL through the midway point of the season. His ability to perform at an elite level despite playing more than 29 minutes per game enhances his resume and gives him a slight edge in comparison to a few others with a legitimate claim for the award at this point.

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Quote of the Day

It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday