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Trophy Tracker

Penguins' Crosby remains Hart Trophy favorite

Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With three-quarters of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines and award contenders. 

It hasn't seemed to matter who his linemates are, or what kind of teammates he's been on the ice with. All Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby has done is produce and help his team win games.

And with a daily injury report that has at times read like an all-star game roster, and a Penguins roster that at times has featured as many American Hockey League players as NHL, Crosby has shown this season why he's the best -- and most valuable player -- in the League.

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Lightning's Cooper is Adams leader at halfway mark

Friday, 01.10.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com's midseason edition of Trophy Trackers attempts to project winners of the major individual awards. Today we predict the winner of the Jack Adams Award, an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success.

When superstar forward Steven Stamkos broke his tibia in a game against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11, one had to think the Tampa Bay Lightning were in a whole heap of trouble.

After all, Stamkos had 14 goals in 16 games, helping Tampa Bay race out to an impressive 12-4-0 start after finishing in fourth place in the Southeast Division last season with 18 wins in 48 games.

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Rask over Bishop for midseason Vezina Trophy

Thursday, 01.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com's midseason edition of Trophy Trackers attempts to project winners of the major individual awards. Today we predict the winner of the Vezina Trophy, an annual award given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.

The goaltending position can be a volatile one in any season, but as NHL.com Senior Writer Dan Rosen wrote, the 2013-14 campaign has been a particularly precarious one for "No. 1" goalies.

Not only have backups been pressed into duty or earned more playing time, goaltending depth beyond the two NHL guys has been critical in several cities. Standout work from breakout stars, combined with inconsistent play from more established ones, has brought new names into the conversation for the Vezina Trophy.

The goalie who won the award in 2013 (Sergei Bobrovsky) is tied for 28th in save percentage among qualified goalies and has missed time with an injury. The goalie who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2012 (Jonathan Quick) is also tied for 28th in save percentage and has missed significant time with injury.

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Blackhawks' Keith leading Norris race at midseason

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's midseason edition of Trophy Trackers attempts to project winners of the major individual awards. Today we predict the winner of the Norris Trophy, an annual award given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.

Duncan Keith won the Norris Trophy four years ago. His coach thinks he's playing better this season.

"I think he's defended better," Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think his gap has been better. I think offensively, his play selection or his puck patience, he's added another level or element to it. I just think consistency is the best way to measure defensemen and that's what we're seeing."

Keith entered play Tuesday leading all defensemen with 39 assists and 42 points. He is on pace for 71 assists and 76 points, which would top his career-highs of 55 and 69 from the 2009-10 season, when he won the Norris Trophy.

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Rangers' Kreider tops Calder race at midseason

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com's midseason edition of Trophy Trackers attempts to project winners of the major individual awards. Today we predict the winner of the Calder Trophy, an annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.

Shortly before Christmas, San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl began to break away from a pack of impressive NHL rookies. On Dec. 19, Hertl led all freshmen with 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) and a plus-11 rating in 35 games before a knee-on-knee collision led to surgery that may have ended his season.

Without Hertl, the Calder Trophy race at midseason is a close call, and New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider owns the smallest of edges.

An unceremonious demotion to Hartford of the American Hockey League at the end of training camp put Kreider's regular season on hold, but since his Oct. 24 debut, he has 11 goals and 24 points with a plus-9 rating in 37 games, five fewer than rookie scoring leader Nathan MacKinnon (14-14-28). Eighteen of his points are either goals or primary assists and 10 of his goals have come in Rangers wins. Playing with three United States Olympians (Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan), Kreider's physical nature has been the trendsetter. His 93 hits lead Rangers forwards and rank fourth among rookies.

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Crosby leading Hart race at halfway point

Monday, 01.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com's midseason edition of Trophy Trackers attempts to project winners of the major individual awards. Today we predict the winner of the Hart Trophy, an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team.

The best evidence of Sidney Crosby's value to the Pittsburgh Penguins might have come during a four-game stretch late in December.

Missing from the roster during most or all of those games were four defensemen with a combined four Stanley Cup rings and more than 2,000 games of NHL experience, a 40-goal scorer and a two-time Art Ross Trophy winner.

With Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Rob Scuderi, Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin and Kris Letang all injured, the Penguins went into those games with six or seven players who started the season in the American Hockey League on the roster.

So when the Penguins needed their best players to be their best players, Crosby stepped up to total two goals and four assists as the Penguins went 3-1-0 with their depleted lineup and remained the top team in the Metropolitan Division. He scored or set up six of the Penguins' 10 non-shootout goals in that span.

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Roy's coaching leads Avalanche revival

Friday, 11.22.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

After finishing the 2012-13 season with the second-fewest points (39) in the League, many believed the Colorado Avalanche had their work cut out for them just to be a team that could stay in the race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference into the second half of the season.

So far, it appears the Avalanche will be in that race. What's more impressive is that there could be several teams chasing them in the standings.

Colorado entered its game Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes with 15 wins in its first 20 games, the most victories in that amount of games in franchise history. Matt Duchene, the third pick at the 2009 NHL Draft, was pacing the Avalanche with 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 19 games.

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Rask gets slight nod in Vezina Trophy race

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

There is no question the goaltending position has evolved in the past couple of decades, and the statistics back up the idea that the standards in net have risen to never-before-seen levels.

Hockey-reference.com tracks the NHL's average save percentage back to 1983-84, and the collective best in a full season was .914 in 2011-12. That mark topped the previous high of .913, established the prior season.

Through games Wednesday, the League average save percentage was .915. The collective goals-against average has been stagnant the past couple of seasons, but teams are getting slightly more shots on goal and the goalies are stopping them.

As recently as 2002-03, the Vezina Trophy winner, Martin Brodeur, had a save percentage of .914. That would place a goaltender 23rd on the qualified leaders list in 2013-14.

There are some new names, not to mention a couple of surprising ones, among the top contenders for the Vezina through the first quarter of the 2013-14 season.

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Teams, players to watch at season's quarter mark

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

The start of the 2013-14 season has provided plenty of surprises and disappointments to supplement the teams and players that have met preseason expectations.

Whether it is through traditional statistics or the breakthrough of advanced metrics into the mainstream conversation, there are several teams worth watching as the 2013-14 season heads for the halfway point.

Here's a look at some of the surprising statistics from the season's first quarter, with an eye toward how teams and players might perform in the next quarter. NOTE: Most of the advanced statistics in this story are from ExtraSkater.com, an easy choice for the Calder Trophy among hockey websites in 2013-14:

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Suter has played his way into Norris Trophy lead

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter lives the quiet life as a part-time farmer in Wisconsin during the offseason. If he continues to play the amount of productive minutes he's playing this season, he may want to let someone else ride his tractor out into the soybean fields next summer so he can sit on the couch and put up his feet.

Suter has been the NHL's busiest and best defenseman through the first quarter of the season. He plays nearly half the game and most of the time it's 30 mistake-free minutes. He has 14 assists, but that number doesn't even come close to describing Suter's effectiveness this season.

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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley