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Trophy Tracker

Rangers' Kreider tops Calder race at midseason

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - Staff Writer'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.

Crosby leading Hart race at halfway point

Monday, 01.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor'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.

Roy's coaching leads Avalanche revival

Friday, 11.22.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, 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.

Rask gets slight nod in Vezina Trophy race

Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, 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. 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.

Suter has played his way into Norris Trophy lead

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, 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.

Teams, players to watch at season's quarter mark

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, 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, an easy choice for the Calder Trophy among hockey websites in 2013-14:

Bruins' Krug has early edge in Calder race

Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, looks at some of the biggest storylines -- and award contenders -- that have developed through the first part of the season.

Torey Krug burst upon the NHL like a flaming arrow when, as an emergency call-up, helped power the Boston Bruins past the New York Rangers in five games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He became the first rookie defenseman in League history to score four goals in his first five postseason games and the 10th player in Bruins history to score a playoff goal before scoring in the regular season.

There's been no letdown in Krug's first full season. In fact, he's near the top of the rookie leaderboard and in front of the race for the Calder Trophy, according to Krug has points in five of his past seven games (two goals, three assists); his six goals are tied for second among defensemen behind Ottawa Senators defenseman and former 2013 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson's seven, and his 12 points are tied for third in rookie standings.

Penguins' Crosby leads Hart Trophy race

Monday, 11.18.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

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

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby started the season with a bang and hasn't really slowed down. His outstanding play has helped keep the Penguins at or near the top of the Metropolitan Division standings through the first quarter of the season, putting him in the lead to win his second Hart Trophy.

Crosby had his scoring stroke in place right from the first drop of the puck. He scored a goal opening night and had at least a point in eight straight games, the best season-opening run of his outstanding career; he had seven goals and 17 points in his scoring streak.

Three-goal lead for Ovechkin in Rocket race

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 11:32 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy has been around for 13 years, and it has been a period of sniper parity compared to most eras of NHL history.

No player has claimed the Richard Trophy more than twice in its 13-year existence. The last 13-year period in NHL history when one player didn't lead the League goals at least three times was between 1937 and 1949.

Richard led the League for a third time in 1949-50, and from that point until this recent era, the NHL's goal-scoring title was dominated by Richard, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull and Teemu Selanne, who was the last player to do it three times (1992-93, 1997-98 and 1998-99).

This is relevant because the two players atop the NHL leaderboard in goals each have a pair of Richard trophies on their resumes. The Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin claimed the trophy in 2008 and 2009, and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos won it last season and claimed a share of the award in 2010.

Here is a look at Stamkos, Ovechkin and the two other top contenders for the Richard Trophy this season, John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter, as the season reaches the stretch run:

Crosby still deserves MVP despite broken jaw

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 9:40 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Sidney Crosby has been so dominant this season that missing five games with a broken jaw isn't enough to prevent him from winning the Hart Trophy at the three-quarter mark of the season.

Even if Crosby doesn't return during the regular season, what he's done in 36 games will probably earn him his second career Hart Trophy; the first was in 2007.

The Pittsburgh Penguins captain still leads the League in points with 56, five more than Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and is tied for first in assists with 41 along with Stamkos' teammate Martin St. Louis. Although Pittsburgh defensemen Kris Letang and Paul Martin also have been injured, the Penguins are 3-2-0 since Crosby went down.

Before scoring six times against the Lightning on Thursday, the Penguins were averaging two goals per game without Crosby after averaging 3.36 goals per game with him in the lineup.

There's still time for others to make a push over the final quarter of the season, but right now, it's Crosby's Hart Trophy to lose.

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It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy.  Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.

— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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