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Trophy Tracker

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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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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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic