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Trophy Tracker

Blues' Tarasenko early leader in Calder Trophy race

Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

There's little doubt the number of first-year players finding success during this shortened NHL season will make choosing this year's Calder Memorial Trophy winner a painstaking task.

Several names already have been mentioned as viable candidates as the League's top rookie, but at the quarter-mark of the season, St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is our favorite to capture the award.

Not since Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin burst upon the scene in 2006-07 has a Russian player started his career with such promise. During Malkin's Calder Trophy-winning season, he opened with seven goals and 11 points in six games.

Tarasenko had four goals and eight points in his first six games, leaving little doubt that the 2010 first-round NHL Draft pick (No. 16) was ready for the North American game. He's also earned the trust and respect of coach Ken Hitchcock, who has the 21-year-old earning quality minutes among the top-six forwards. He's played mostly on a line with Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen.

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Race for Norris Trophy could have several contenders

Wednesday, 02.13.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Editor's note: This story was written before Erik Karlsson suffered an Achilles injury on Wednesday that will sideline him indefinitely. The Ottawa Senators said the defenseman would need surgery.

Erik Karlsson had an incredible offensive season in 2011-12, one so dominant voters were willing to look past some typical requirements (his lack of ice time killing penalties, for instance) to name him the Norris Trophy winner.

Karlsson had 19 goals and 78 points for the Ottawa Senators, 25 more than the nearest competition at his position. Though not one of the premiere defensive players, Karlsson's numbers were better than might be expected for someone not afraid to venture deep into the opponent's end.

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Rinne's brilliance makes him Hart favorite so far

Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Pekka Rinne
Goalie - NSH
RECORD: 4-3-3
GAA: 1.92 | SVP: 0.929
In a season of electrifying starts by some of the game's top offensive players, it's been the goaltending of Pekka Rinne that has made the biggest difference for any team in the NHL.

There are goaltenders with better numbers through the first quarter of season -- superior goals-against average and save percentage, more wins and shutouts -- but Rinne's performance for the Nashville Predators through 12 games is worthy of the Hart Trophy with 25 percent of the schedule complete.

It's not as if Rinne hasn't been dominant in his own right. He's fourth among starting goalies in GAA (1.92) and fifth in save percentage (.929) and has one shutout, but no goaltender this season has operated with a thinner margin of error or had as big an impact on his team's fortunes.

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Anderson leads Crawford, Rinne in early Vezina race

Monday, 02.11.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

On the night of Dec. 27, 2011, Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators was about as far away from a Vezina Trophy nomination as any goaltender in the NHL.

Craig Anderson
Goalie - OTT
RECORD: 6-2-2
GAA: 1.49 | SVP: 0.950
Nine months earlier, Anderson signed a four-year, $12.75 million contract, his first long-term deal after spending much of his career as a journeyman backup. He had one sensational season, with the Colorado Avalanche in 2009-10, but was traded to the Senators in 2011 for Brian Elliott, who was genuinely Vezina-worthy for the St. Louis Blues last season.

Two days after Christmas, in Anderson's first full season with the Senators, he was 15-12-3 with a 3.36 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.

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Who should be patient and who should panic?

Monday, 02.11.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Is it time for panic or patience?

Several teams pegged as Stanley Cup contenders are wondering just that now that 25 percent of the truncated 2012-13 season already is in the books.

Let's take a closer look at five of them and try to determine if they're truly contenders or really just pretenders:

NEW YORK RANGERS

Time for: Patience

Why: Despite being a popular pick as the preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup, the Rangers are a different team from last season and they're still trying to figure out who fits into what hole in the lineup.

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Vezina: Quick gets our nod in a photo finish

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 12:56 PM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

The race for the Vezina Trophy this season has been mostly a two-man race between Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. Lundqvist has led the way, but Quick has slowly closed the gap over the second half of the season.

Other goaltenders have played themselves into the discussion at various times -- Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators has the biggest workload of any goaltender and has been solid, Kari Lehtonen carried the Dallas Stars for long stretches, and Brian Elliott's numbers while working mostly as a backup in St. Louis have been extraordinary.

In the end, Quick has earned the right to be called the NHL's best goaltender, narrowly edging Lundqvist with Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes rounding out the finalists.

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Norris: Karlsson's numbers simply eye-catching

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 11:49 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Erik Karlsson
Defense - OTT
GOALS: 19 | ASST: 58 | PTS: 77
SOG: 249 | +/-: 18
Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom was having an incredible season, one that was even more worthy of Norris Trophy consideration than the credit some pundits were giving. That seems strange, considering Lidstrom is an established brand when it comes to voting for this trophy, and winning it one more time would give him eight -- the same number as Bobby Orr and tie him for the most ever.

Alas, Lidstrom -- typically a pillar of durability -- sustained an injury and missed 10 games. Detroit's severe dip in form without Lidstrom could be an argument to bolster his candidacy, but the other top candidates are all likely to play at least 80 games this season. While advanced statistics still point to Lidstrom as a leading candidate, his traditional stats are now lacking and, given the tight race, missing 12 percent of the season is a big deal.

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Selke: Bergeron is our wire-to-wire winner

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 11:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Patrice Bergeron
Center - BOS
GOALS: 22 | ASST: 39 | PTS: 61
SOG: 189 | +/-: 36
No other award on NHL.com has had the same projected winner from start to finish this season, but being atop the Selke trophy tracker for a fourth time is a testament to how good Patrice Bergeron (and his young linemates) has been this season.

There are plenty of awards with several candidates to win and the voting could be tight. Bergeron might very well be the most clear-cut deserved winner, though Evgeni Malkin could claim the Hart Trophy by a wider margin.

WINNER

Patrice Bergeron, Bruins -- Bergeron has been incredible at both ends of the ice this season, and his line has dominated at even strength. He leads the League in on-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes at even strength among forwards with at least 60 games played according to Behind The Net. He's been on the ice for 64 Boston goals at even strength and only 33 against, despite playing against strong competition.

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Landeskog, Nugent-Hopkins headline rookie cast

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 7:18 PM / Trophy Tracker

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Edmonton Oilers felt Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the best player available in the NHL Draft last June. The Colorado Avalanche, picking second, were more than happy to take forward Gabriel Landeskog with the second pick.

Nine months later, both teams are more than happy with the players they chose.

Landeskog and Nugent-Hopkins entered the final week of the season running one-two in scoring among rookies, despite playing with teams that are outside the top eight in the playoff race. Other, less-heralded newcomers such as Adam Henrique of New Jersey and Matthew Read of Philadelphia are proving themselves to be valuable contributors up front on playoff teams.

There aren't as many impact players on defense as there are up front. Toronto's Jake Gardiner has emerged as a solid contributor while playing more than 21:30 a night, while Justin Faulk has stepped in as a regular in Carolina and sees nearly 23 minutes per game.
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No shortage of great storylines in 2011-12 season

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 6:34 PM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The 2011-12 NHL season has included an ongoing Watch, the return of a franchise, an almost unbeatable King, and enough pink slips to prove coaching is not exactly the most secure line of work. One superstar returned to his dominating ways and a goalie with no promises at the beginning of the season now has several franchise records to call his own.
 
Oh, there's more.
 
We've narrowed the list of intriguing storylines of the season down to the 12 best; some good, some bad, all intriguing.
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My job was to get that puck and put it on net, and his job was not letting me do it. I got the best of that, but that game's over and to be honest I already forgot about it.

— Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on his late game-tying goal in Montreal's 2-1 OT win
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