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Season Preview

2016-17 NHL trophy predictions panel of experts project winners of individual awards @NHL

Nobody knows exactly how the 2016-17 NHL season will play out, but has a few people willing to provide their best guesses as to what will happen by providing a snapshot of the various individual trophy races.

We had 14 writers look into the future and predict the top-three finishers for several of the major awards to be handed out at the end of the season during the NHL Awards Show in June. The results were quite interesting.

Here is how members of the staff see several of the trophy races:

Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP)

Our panel predicts that Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is in line to win his third Hart Trophy. Crosby, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2016, won the Hart after the 2006-07 and 2013-14 seasons. (Crosby sustained a concussion on Oct. 8). His major competition, it appears, will come from Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who is returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for close to 11 months, and Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn. Price won the Hart Trophy after the 2014-15 season when he went 44-16-6 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

Voting totals: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, 28 points; Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, 18; Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars, 10; Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, 5; Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings, 4; Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers, 4; Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, 4; John Tavares, New York Islanders 3; Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues, 2; Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks 2; Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals 2; Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings 1; Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks, 1.

Video: Season Preview: Hart Trophy Predictions


James Norris Memorial Trophy (best defenseman)

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson will return to his perch as the League's best defenseman after a one-year absence, according to the panel. Karlsson, who won the Norris in 2012 and 2015, received 17 points. That's two more than Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, the reigning Norris Trophy holder. But this won't be a two-player race. P.K. Subban, traded to the Nashville Predators by the Canadiens on June 29, also received 15 points. Subban won the Norris in 2013. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman received 10 points. In all, 11 players received votes.

Voting totals: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators, 17 points; Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings, 15; P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators, 15; Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, 10 points, Shea Weber, Montreal Canadians, 6; Roman Josi, Nashville Predators, 6; Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks, 4; Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins, 4; Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks 3, Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues 2, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes, 2.

Video: Season Preview: Norris Trophy Predictions


Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie)

The battle between Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs continues into the 2016-17 season. Matthews won the first showdown when he was made the No. 1 pick at the 2016 NHL Draft, one spot ahead of Laine. But the panel thinks Laine will be the better first-year player, though by the slimmest of margins. Laine received 31 points and seven first-place votes. Matthews received 30 points and six first-place votes; each player was left off one ballot. Jimmy Vesey of the New York Rangers, who received the other first-place vote, and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames were the only other rookies to appear on three ballots.

Voting totals: Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets, 31 points; Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, 30; Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames 5; Jimmy Vesey, New York Rangers, 5; Pierre-Luc Dubois, Columbus Blue Jackets, 2; Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche, 2; Dylan Strome, Arizona Coyotes, 2; Nikita Zaitsev, Toronto Maple Leafs, 2; Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins, 2; Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers, 1; Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes, 1; Mike Matheson, Florida Panthers, 1.

Video: Season Preview: Calder Trophy Predictions


Vezina Trophy (best goaltender)

Price is expected to come back from injury as good as ever. He received 12 of the 14 first-place votes and earned 36 points to take the top spot among voters. Price hasn't played a regular-season game since Nov. 25, but was the Vezina Trophy winner in 2015. Braden Holtby, the Vezina Trophy winner last season, finished second with 19 points, and New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider was third with 14 points. Each received one first-place vote.

Voting totals: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, 36 points; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals, 19; Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils, 16; Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, 4; Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, 3; Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators, 2; Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks, 2; Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, 1; Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning, 1.

Video: Season Preview: Vezina Trophy Predictions


Jack Adams Award (best coach)

The Nashville Predators are among the odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history, so it is no surprise that their coach, Peter Laviolette, is the favorite of the panel to win the Jack Adams Award. Laviolette was named on the most ballots (nine) and received the most first-place votes (five) in earning 22 points, 12 more than runners-up Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bruce Boudreau, who will be coaching his first season with the Minnesota Wild. Eight coaches received at least one first-place vote: Laviolette, Boudreau, Cooper, Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals, John Hynes of the New Jersey Devils, Bill Peters of the Carolina Hurricanes, Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars.

Voting totals: Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators, 22 points; Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning, 10; Bruce Boudreau, Minnesota Wild, 10; Todd McLellan, Edmonton Oilers, 7; Bill Peters, Carolina Hurricanes, 6; Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh Penguins, 6; John Hynes, New Jersey Devils, 5; Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals 4; Lindy Ruff, Dallas Stars, 3; Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks 2; Glen Gulutzan, Calgary Flames, 2; Mike Babcock, Toronto Maple Leafs, 2; Dan Bylsma, Buffalo Sabres, 2; Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets, 1; Pete DeBoer, San Jose Sharks, 1; Gerard Gallant, Florida Panthers, 1.


Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy (most goals)

Alex Ovechkin's hold on the Maurice Richard Trophy shows little sign of weakening. The League's top goal scorer in each of the past four seasons is an overwhelming favorite to win his fifth straight title. He received 38 points and 10 of the 14 first-place votes. His competition, however, may be a bit new. Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues finished second in the voting, earning three first-place votes and 20 points. Ovechkin had 50 goals last season; Tarasenko had 40. Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning was third in the vote. He had 36 goals last season and is the most recent player other than Ovechkin to win the award, doing so in 2012.

Voting totals: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, 38 points; Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues, 20, Steve Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning 12; Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars 10; Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, 2; Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars, 1; Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins, 1.


Art Ross Trophy (most points)

Crosby is expected to pick up right where he left off in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs as far as point production, according to the panel of voters. Crosby, who had 19 points in 24 postseason games, is the favorite to win the 2016-17 scoring title. Crosby received seven first-place votes and 30 points. Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, who won the scoring title last season with 106 points, received three first-place votes and 16 points. Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars had 15 voting points and two first-place votes; he finished second in the scoring race last season, four points ahead of Crosby. Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid, in his second season, was picked by two voters to finish first in the scoring race. McDavid had 48 points in 45 games last season.

Vote totals: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, 30 points; Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, 16; Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars, 15; Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers, 11; Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames, 3; Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning 2; Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks, 2; Evgeny Kuznetsov 2; John Tavares, New York Islanders 1; Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks, 1; Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets, 1. voting panel: Arpon Basu, managing editor,; Amalie Benjamin, regional writer; Tim Campbell, regional writer; Brian Compton, Deputy Managing Editor; Nick Cotsonika, columnist; Matt Cubeta, Director, NHL International; Tom Gulitti, regional writer, Adam Kimelman, Deputy Managing Editor; Mike Morreale, staff writer; Bill Price, Editor in Chief; Shawn Roarke, Director of Editorial, Dan Rosen, senior writer, Dave Stubbs, columnist; Rob Vollman, analytics correspondent.

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