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Trophy Tracker

Trophy Tracker weekly division leaders include Fleury, Hellebuyck

Quinn Hughes, Nurse, Kaprizov among other favorites according to NHL.com writers

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will be running weekly installments of the Trophy Tracker series this season, looking at leaders for the Hart (MVP), Norris (top defenseman), Vezina (top goalie) and Calder (top rookie) trophies. Though there can be only one winner for each award at the end of the season, five NHL.com writers per division will be ranking their top three for each award. 

This week, the closest vote of the 16 below was for the Norris Trophy in the Scotia North Division, where four defensemen received first-place votes and two ended up as co-leaders with 11 points.

The writers who were part of that vote participated in a roundtable listing their reasons for picking the defenseman they believe is the leader this week. That is below, but first here are the voting totals for each trophy in each division (points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis):  

MASSMUTUAL EAST DIVISION 

Hart Trophy 

Leader: Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins, 20 points (four first-place votes) 

Runners-up: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals, 17 (one first-place vote), David Pastrnak, Bruins, 4 

Others receiving points: James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers, 3; Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, 1 

Leader last week: Marchand, 18 (three first-place votes) 

Why I picked Marchand: "Though I considered elevating Backstrom ahead of Marchand this week, each had three-point weeks, ultimately I think Marchand is still deserving. But the race is getting tighter in the East." -- Amalie Benjamin, staff writer 

Norris Trophy 

Leader: Charlie McAvoy, Bruins, 23 (four first-place votes) 

Runners-up: John Carlson, Capitals, 12; Ivan Provorov, Flyers, 7 

Others receiving points: Adam Fox, New York Rangers, 3 

Leader last week: McAvoy, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Why I picked McAvoy: "It was no surprise that McAvoy helped the Bruins rebound after two lopsided losses by getting a goal and an assist and playing 22:21 in a 4-1 win against the Rangers on Sunday." -- Tom Gulitti, staff writer 

Vezina Trophy 

Leader: Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Runners-up: Mackenzie Blackwood, New Jersey Devils, 11; Tuukka Rask, Bruins, 7 

Others receiving points: Brian Elliott, Flyers, 1; Igor Shesterkin, Rangers, 1 

Leader last week: Varlamov, 23 (four first-place votes)

Why I picked Varlamov: "No goalie in the division has been as dominant as Varlamov. Yes, Barry Trotz's smothering defensive system limits quality chances for the opposition but Varlamov still gets full marks by going 9-4-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .924 save percentage this season." -- Mike Zeisberger, staff writer 

Calder Trophy 

Leader: Ty Smith, Devils, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Runners-up: K'Andre Miller, Rangers, 10; Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Penguins, 5 

Others receiving points: Vitek Vanecek, Capitals, 4; Oliver Wahlstrom, Islanders, 1 

Leader last week: Smith, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Why I picked Smith: "Smith continues to lead rookie defensemen in points, even-strength points and power-play points, and averages more 19 minutes in ice time each game. He looks comfortable with defense partner Damon Severson. They have showcased good chemistry and a knack for getting the job done in both zones." -- Mike G. Morreale, staff writer 

Video: NJD@BUF: Smith nets PPG to tie game at 1

 

HONDA WEST DIVISION 

Hart Trophy 

Leader: Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings, 21 (four first-place votes) 

Runners-up: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche, 12; Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights, 9 (one first-place vote) 

Others receiving points: Cale Makar, Avalanche, 1; Mark Stone, Golden Knights, 1 

Leader last week: Kopitar, 19 (three first-place votes) 

Why I picked Kopitar: "The Kings are better than anyone expected and that is in large part because of the renaissance being experienced by its leadership core of Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty. None, however, has played better than Kopitar, who is scoring at better than a point per game pace and playing more than 21 minutes a game." -- Shawn P. Roarke, director of editorial 

Norris Trophy 

Leader: Makar, Avalanche, 21 (three first-place votes) 

Runners-up: Doughty, 17 (two first-place votes); Alex Pietrangelo, Golden Knights, 4 

Others receiving points: Shea Theodore, Golden Knights, 2; Torey Krug, St. Louis Blues, 1 

Leader last week: Makar, 23 (four first-place votes) 

Why I picked Makar: "I'm watching Doughty sneak more into this conversation by the game but as of now I'm still going with Makar. The 22-year-old has been good and steady when he's played, although he missed the game Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes with an upper-body injury." -- Tracey Myers, staff writer 

Vezina Trophy 

Leader: Fleury, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Runners-up: Philipp Grubauer, Avalanche, 15; Calvin Petersen, Kings, 2; Kaapo Kahkonen, Minnesota Wild, 2 

Others receiving votes: Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes, 1 
 
Leader last week: Grubauer, 21 (three first-place votes) 

Why I picked Fleury: "Fleury is such a great story. We all thought the writing was on the wall that he had lost his grip on the No. 1 job when the Golden Knights signed Robin Lehner, but Fleury is among the NHL leaders in every category." -- Brian Compton, deputy managing editor 

Calder Trophy 

Leader: Kirill Kaprizov, Wild, 25 points (unanimous No. 1) 

Runners-up: Gabriel Vilardi, Kings, 8; Zach Whitecloud, Golden Knights, 5 

Others receiving points: Kahkonen, 4; Mikey Anderson, Kings, 1 

Leader last week: Kaprizov, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Why I picked Kaprizov: "Hockey sense and game awareness are Kaprizov's strong suits and he's showing them in his rookie season." -- Tim Campbell, staff writer 

Video: LAK@MIN: Kaprizov one-times puck home to extend lead

 

DISCOVER CENTRAL DIVISION 

Hart Trophy 

Leader: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Runners-up: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, 10; Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers, 8 

Others receiving points: Aleksander Barkov, Panthers, 1; Chris Driedger, Panthers, 1 

Leader last week: Kane, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Why I picked Kane: "Kane leads the Blackhawks in scoring by a large margin, a big reason they are in a playoff spot." -- Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist 

Norris Trophy 

Leader: Hedman, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Runners-up: Aaron Ekblad, Panthers, 9; Mikhail Sergachev, Lightning, 7 

Others receiving points: John Klingberg, Dallas Stars, 3; Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes, 1 

Leader last week: Hedman, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 
 
Why I picked Hedman: "Hedman was a beast for the Lightning in the postseason when they won the 2020 Stanley Cup. He is even better this season for what is arguably the best team in the NHL." -- Roarke 

Vezina Trophy 

Leader: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Runners-up: Kevin Lankinen, Blackhawks, 15; Driedger, Panthers, 5 

Others receiving points: None 

Leader last week: Vasilevskiy, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Why I picked Vasilevskiy: "Vasilevskiy leads the NHL with 12 wins in 16 games, all of them starts. The 26-year-old earned his second shutout in as many starts when made 20 saves in a 5-0 win against the Stars on Saturday." -- Myers 

Calder Trophy 

Leader: Lankinen, 21 (four first-place votes) 

Runners-up: Pius Suter, Blackhawks, 17 (one first-place vote); Philipp Kurashev, Blackhawks, 4 

Others receiving points: Jake Bean, Hurricanes, 2; Eetu Luostarinen, Panthers, 1 

Leader last week: Lankinen, 21 (four first-place votes) 

Why I picked Lankinen: "Even after he allowed five goals against the Blue Jackets on Saturday, Lankinen is still among the NHL leaders in save percentage. Never mind rookies, he's one of the best at his position in the NHL right now." -- Compton 

 

SCOTIA NORTH DIVISION 

Hart Trophy 

Leader: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers, 23 (four first-place votes) 

Runners-up: Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, 13; Mitchell Marner, Maple Leafs, 6 (one first-place vote) 

Others receiving points: Leon Draisaitl, Oilers, 2; Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets, 1 

Leader last week: McDavid, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Why I picked McDavid: "McDavid is off to a sizzling start and has nudged himself ahead of the pack in the scoring race. Matthews has been playing the best hockey of his career, but the aggravation of a wrist injury is an issue." -- Zeisberger 

Norris Trophy 

Leader (tie): Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks, 11 (two first-place votes); Darnell Nurse, Oilers, 11 (one first-place vote) 

Runners-up: Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens, 10 (one first-place vote); Morgan Rielly, Maple Leafs, 8 

Others receiving points: Shea Weber, Canadiens, 5 (one first-place vote) 

Leader last week: Hughes, 13 (two first-place votes) 

Why I picked Hughes: "Hughes is a prototypical offensive-defenseman who remains a point machine from the back end. He drives offense and is a factor every time he takes the ice." -- Morreale 

Why I picked Nurse: "Nurse continues his steady play while leading the Oilers defense and logging big minutes, topping 27 minutes in two of the three games he played last week." -- Gulitti 

Vezina Trophy 

Leader: Connor Hellebuyck, Jets, 25 (unanimous No. 1) 

Runners-up: Frederik Andersen, Maple Leafs, 10; Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames, 7 

Others receiving points: Mike Smith, Oilers, 3 

Leader last week: Andersen, 16 (three first-place votes) 

Why I picked Hellebuyck: The numbers were good last week. They're better this week. Hellebuyck, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, remains the king of the North." -- Benjamin 

Calder Trophy 

Leader: Tim Stutzle, Ottawa Senators, 16 points (three first-place votes) 

Runners-up: Josh Norris, Senators, 9 (one first-place vote); Nils Hoglander, Canucks, 7; Alexander Romanov, Canadiens, 7 

Others receiving points: Juuso Valimaki, Flames, 6 (one first-place vote) 
 
Leader last week: Stutzle, 19 (three first-place votes) 

Why I picked Stutzle: "Stutzle is already showing he's a world-class player and will get better as the season progresses and he gains experience." -- Gulitti 

Here are the reasons for why the Norris Trophy vote in the North Division was so close, with the writers who participated defending their choice for first place: 

QUINN HUGHES 

It was amazing to watch Hughes control the game as well as he did as a rookie during the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring when he scored 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) and took 30 shots on goal in 17 games. It might surprise some to learn he started 42.0 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone in the postseason as well. The 21-year-old has picked up where he left off by steering the Canucks on the transition while showing signs of becoming a more responsible player in the defensive zone. He's been the top offensive defenseman in the NHL this season and quarterbacks Vancouver's power play. Though his defensive play may not be considered by some to be Norris-caliber, his motor, hockey sense and high level of offensive production are too good to ignore. Hughes, to me, is scratching the surface to how good he can be. -- Mike G. Morreale, staff writer 

During an interview with Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey, he raved to me about the limitless ceiling Hughes has. "I know Quinn quite well; I coached his younger brother Luke in minor hockey," Coffey said. "Quinn was the type of kid you didn't have to tell anything. You just let him go and let him do his thing." Well, Quinn is doing his thing again this season, and at an elite level. The Canucks haven't lived up to the preseason hype for most of the season, but Hughes has by leading all defensemen in scoring with 21 points (two goals, 19 assists), two points ahead of Hedman and Carlson. Though Rielly, Nurse, Petry and Weber are enjoying impressive seasons, Hughes stands out for me. Besides, who am I to argue with Paul Coffey? -- Mike Zeisberger, staff writer 

SHEA WEBER 

Yes, well, limitless potential and statistics from last season are all well and good but there are multiple choices for Norris Trophy contenders playing far better than Hughes this season. In a close race among players who are excelling, Weber isn't flashy but he's a rock-solid defenseman who is relied on in every game situation. He is Montreal's minutes leader this season (23:18) and their leader in every sense of the word who continues to make the game difficult for opponents. My vote goes for performance, not potential. -- Tim Campbell, staff writer 

JEFF PETRY 

I know I might be in the minority with this one -- and that Petry's candidacy may, to some degree, slip with the downturn in the Canadiens' fortunes -- but I believe that Petry should be considered as the Norris favorite from the North. Though Petry doesn't have quite the same offensive numbers as Hughes, he's not that far behind with 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 20 games, tied for fourth among defensemen and three behind Hughes, while playing 22:08 per game. (His 0.90 points per game is ahead of Hughes' 0.84.) He's also plus-11 compared to Hughes' minus-13 and has demonstrated an increasingly impressive ability to be reliable and steady in duties that sometimes seem to get lost in the Norris conversation, the defensive side. And for me, the Norris winner has to be stellar on both ends. So it's Petry. For now. -- Amalie Benjamin, staff writer 

DARNELL NURSE 

Although there are other defensemen in the North Division with better offensive numbers, Nurse has upped his level of play this season and been the best all-around defenseman in the division. The Oilers rely heavily on the 26-year-old, playing him in all situations. He leads Edmonton and was third in the NHL in averaging 25:49 in ice time. His 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) are tied for eighth among defensemen with Neal Pionk of the Winnipeg Jets. He's plus-12, fourth at the position, and seventh with 58 hits. Although the Oilers have been outscored 50-49 at even strength, they are outscoring opponents 35-25 when Nurse is on the ice, which demonstrates his value. -- Tom Gulitti, staff writer 

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