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Trophy Tracker

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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Adams tracker: Hitchcock brought out best in Blues

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 4:13 PM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The St. Louis Blues entered the 2011-12 campaign with high expectations.
 
With a team loaded on offense and perfectly capable of holding its own on the back end, the reasons were obvious. The club hadn't won a playoff series in a decade, had qualified for the postseason just once in the last six years and was only six seasons removed from finishing with the worst record in the NHL.
 
So when the team opened the season 6-7-0 and in 14th place in the Western Conference, general manager Doug Armstrong moved quickly to replace Davis Payne with Ken Hitchcock. It was a move that would not only impact the team, but the balance of power in the Western Conference.

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Lady Byng: Stars' late-season surge lifts Eriksson

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 4:11 PM / Trophy Tracker

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

For much of this season we had Dallas' Loui Eriksson pegged as the man most likely to take home the Lady Byng Trophy in 2012. After all, the trophy is awarded for "skillful and gentlemanly play" -- something Eriksson has accomplished all season, having been an offensive force for the Stars while staying out of the penalty box. Add in his nomination for the award a season ago, and his prior recognition gives him the perfect pedigree to take home his first Byng this June.

But despite all of that, we shifted gears at the season's three-quarter mark. While Eriksson was still in the mix, at the time the Islanders' Matt Moulson was making an impressive case of his own, tallying 26 goals and 51 points with just six penalty minutes and a plus-5 rating at the time.

Moulson's numbers are still impressive. He's been a steadying offensive force for an offensively challenged team, while shattering his career scoring high. But unfortunately for Moulson, a funny thing happened on the way to the trophy stand. Over February and March, the weather hasn't been the only thing heating up in Dallas. The Stars have gone on a run to challenge for the Pacific Division crown and Eriksson's performance is a major reason why.

We could still see Moulson -- or a number of other candidates -- taking the Byng in Las Vegas this June, but we're jumping back on the Eriksson bandwagon. His offensive numbers, his two-way play and his minimal amount of time spent in the penalty box for a team that has unexpectedly challenged for a playoff berth should be enough to get him his first Lady Byng Trophy.
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GM of the Year: Poile builds Preds into a contender

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 3:59 PM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The front office and coaching staff in Nashville has demonstrated consistency since the franchise entered the National Hockey League in 1998.
 
And general manager David Poile has consistently provided results. This season is no different, and Poile is NHL.com's choice to win GM of the Year honors as we reach the conclusion of the 2011-12 season.
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Hart: Dominant Malkin wins award in a landslide

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 3:50 PM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Evgeni Malkin
Center - PIT
GOALS: 48 | ASST: 56 | PTS: 104
SOG: 334 | +/-: 14
Claude Giroux was the early leader in the Hart Trophy race over Phil Kessel and Anze Kopitar. By the midpoint of the season, the NHL.com trophy tracker showed the Flyers center still in the lead with Jonathan Toews and Kessel behind him in second and third, respectively.
 
Giroux was running away with the trophy, but there was still plenty of track left.
 
Evgeni Malkin was busy playing his way into the mix, and by the three-quarter pole he was ahead of the competition and pulling away. Henrik Lundqvist and Steven Stamkos got the edge over Giroux while Kessel, Toews and Kopitar fell back into the pack.

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Calder: Landeskog puts forth well-rounded season

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 3:49 PM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Colorado Avalanche likely won't be participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, but not all is lost in the Mile High City.

Gabriel Landeskog -- the club's first-round pick (No. 2) in 2011, was everything the Avs could have asked for and more. A 19-year-old who is mature beyond his years, Landeskog entered the final week of the season tied for second on the team with 51 points and paced the club with 22 goals and a plus-23 rating.

For those reasons and more, Landeskog is our pick to win the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie.
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No shortage of deserving candidates for Masterton

Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 2:38 PM / Trophy Tracker

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Of all the hardware handed out by the NHL, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is the only one that features 30 outstanding nominees.

The Masterton is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. How those qualities are judged, however, is up to each individual voter.

Each of the 30 chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association nominates a player, and then all members vote on the winner. And like most years, picking a deserving candidate is not easy.

There are players like Colorado's Peter Mueller and Florida's Tomas Fleischmann, who persevered through potential career-threatening injuries to remain in the League. 
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Art Ross Trophy race: Malkin has slight lead

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 2:40 PM / Trophy Tracker

NHL.com

The NHL awards the Art Ross Trophy annually "to the player who leads the League in scoring points at the end of the regular season." During a 21-year stretch from 1981-2001, the award was dominated by Wayne Gretzky (10-time winner), Mario Lemieux (6) and Jaromir Jagr (5), one of whom captured it each season. No player has won the Art Ross more than once since, but Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins, who claimed it in 2009, has the opportunity to change that -- he's locked in a three-way battle with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers heading down the stretch.

Here's an up-to-date look at the race:
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Trophy Tracker: Malkin has healthy lead in Hart race

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:00 PM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The NHL reached the three-quarter mark of its season this past weekend. Now, with the NHL Trade Deadline in the rear-view mirror, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines -- and award winners -- that have developed across the first 900-plus games of the 1,230-game regular season.

The 2011-12 NHL season has come around the final turn and is heading down the stretch, meaning the race for the Hart Trophy is getting hotter by the day.

Philadelphia center Claude Giroux was NHL.com's MVP leader at the quarter-pole and halfway point of the season. He has technically stayed consistent enough to remain in the race now, but three other superstar players have stepped up enough to knock Giroux down a few pegs, even off the list of three top candidates.

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Trophy Tracker: 'King' Henrik should get Vezina crown

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 10:53 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Henrik Lundqvist has been a rock and the No. 1 reason the New York Rangers are atop the Eastern Conference. (Photo: Getty Images)
The NHL reached the three-quarter mark of its season this past weekend. Now, with the NHL Trade Deadline in the rear-view mirror, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines -- and award winners -- that have developed across the first 900-plus games of the 1,230-game regular season.

In the first two installments of this four-times-a-year endeavor, the race for the Vezina Trophy was extremely tight and filled with worthy candidates. Now that we're at the three-quarter mark of the season, the picture is beginning to come more into focus.

It's not strictly a three-man race -- Jimmy Howard, Miikka Kiprusoff and Mike Smith won't make the cut here, but all still can make a push over the final 20-plus games -- but these are one man's opinions on the winner of and finalists for this year's Vezina Trophy.

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Quote of the Day

I'm sure [my father] was going crazy up there. I hope all of my friends were celebrating in the crowd. Coming back here and all of my friends and family are here, getting a goal in front of them is special.

— Blues forward Ryan Reaves on scoring the game-winning goal Sunday against the Jets in his hometown of Winnipeg
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