Welcome to the third installment of the annual Year-End Awards here at The Hockey Writers.
At the conclusion of every season, we ask all active writers to submit their picks for the following categories. Voting was conducted by e-mail between April 16 and May 15 and voters were instructed to provide up to three choices (a first, second and third-place vote) for each category, focusing on regular season accomplishments. All active THW contributors were eligible to vote, regardless of if they were brand-new or a seasoned veteran.
First place votes were worth 5 points, second place votes were worth 3 points and third place votes worth 1 point apiece. Overall, 29 ballots were cast for the awards.
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Modeled after the NHL’s Hart Trophy, this award seeks to acknowledge the player who had the best year and whose contributions most helped their team succeed.
WINNER: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (receiving 21 of 29 first-place votes and appearing on 23 of 29 ballots)
Our first of a few repeat winners this year, Crosby led the NHL in points by a country mile, and was easily the winner in this category.
RUNNERS-UP: Ryan Getzaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers
PAST WINNERS: Sidney Crosby (2013), Evgeni Malkin (2012)
DETAILS: 18 different players (16 forwards, one defenseman, one goalie) received votes and six players were first-choice selections. Crosby had more than double the points of Getzlaf, the first runner-up. Tyler Seguin and Corey Perry rounded out the top five.
MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE
Modeled after the NHL’s Calder Trophy, this award showcases the first-year NHL player who had the most outstanding season.
WINNER: Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche (receiving 26 of 29 first-place votes and appearing on 27 of 29 ballots)
MacKinnon led the NHL’s rookies in scoring and was a huge difference-maker for the Avalanche all year long. He was exactly as advertised when scouts touted him as the runaway first overall pick for last year’s draft.
RUNNERS-UP: Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins
PAST WINNERS: Jonathan Huberdeau (2013), Gabriel Landeskog (2012)
DETAILS: 12 different first-year players (nine forwards, two defenders and a goalie) received votes and three of them were first-choice selections. MacKinnon had just shy of triple the points of second-place Palat.
MOST OUTSTANDING GOALTENDER
Modeled after the NHL’s Vezina Trophy, this category celebrates the goaltender who had the most outstanding season.
WINNER: Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche (receiving 11 of 29 first-place votes and appearing on 22 of 29 ballots)
Arguably the biggest reason for the Avalanche’s turnaround is Varlamov, whose consistently strong net-minding gave Colorado a chance to win every game.
RUNNERS-UP: Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning
PAST WINNERS: Sergei Bobrovsky (2013), Jonathan Quick (2012)
DETAILS: 14 different goalies received votes and six of them were first-choice selections. Varlamov narrowly edged out Rask, winning by just seven points. Bishop was a distant third, but had significantly more votes than the remaining contenders.
MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSEMAN
Our version of the Norris Trophy, this award is given to the defenseman who had the most outstanding season, focusing on all aspects of the position.
WINNER: Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks (receiving 10 of 29 first-place votes and appearing on 18 of 29 ballots)
Armed with an excellent resume, a lot of assists and a reputation as a strong presence on both ends of the ice, Keith takes home the award. He was second in the NHL among defenseman in scoring.
RUNNERS-UP: Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators
PAST WINNERS: P.K. Subban (2013), Erik Karlsson (2012)
DETAILS: 14 players received votes and eight of them garnered first-place votes. Keith was the runaway first place finisher, but there were clusters of contenders for second/third (Karlsson and Weber) and fourth/fifth (Mark Giordano & Zdeno Chara).
MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN
In a bit of a divergence, stemming from a bit of a perception that the Norris Trophy focuses more on a defender’s scoring prowess than their ability to stop the other team’s best players. So here we have a category that celebrates the shutdown defender, awarding this to the defenseman who had the most outstanding season, focusing primarily on the defensive aspects of the position.
WINNER: Marc-Eduoard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks (receiving 6 of 28 first-place votes and appearing on 10 of 28 ballots)
Second among blueliners in plus/minus and a defensive rock. He was also one of the league leaders in possession stats among blueliners.
RUNNERS-UP: Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators
PAST WINNERS: Zdeno Chara (2012 & 2013)
DETAILS: Like every year, this was a bit of a horse-race. 24 players received votes and 15 of them got at least one first-place vote. Vlasic won by 13 points, and two-time winner Chara finished fourth.
MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE FORWARD
Our version of the Selke Trophy, this honours the forward who had the most outstanding season, focusing primarily on the defensive aspects of the position.
WINNER: Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins (receiving 10 of 28 first-place votes and appearing on 19 of 28 ballots)
Great possession stats, a reliable face-off winner and a keen offensive threat? Bergeron wins for the third straight year.
RUNNERS-UP: Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks
PAST WINNERS: Patrice Bergeron (2012 & 2013)
DETAILS: 21 players received votes and 9 of them received first-place votes. Bergeron won by 7 points over Kopitar, who tied him with 10 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING COACH
Our version of the Jack Adams Award, this goes to the coach who had the most outstanding season.
WINNER: Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche (receiving 14 of 28 first-place votes and appearing on 21 of 28 ballots)
Colorado’s rookie coach brought intensity and was able to keep the team afloat, even with off-ice distractions like Semyon Varlamov’s legal troubles.
RUNNERS-UP: Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings
PAST WINNERS: Paul MacLean (2013), Ken Hitchcock (2012)
DETAILS: 16 coaches received at least one vote, with eight of them being a first-place choice on a ballot. Roy had just shy of double the points of the next-best coach.
MOST OUTSTANDING GENERAL MANAGER
Awarded to the general manager who had the most outstanding season.
WINNER: Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning (receiving 5 of 28 first-place votes and appearing on 12 of 28 ballots)
Yzerman had to juggle his Team Canada duties, keeping Tampa afloat without Steven Stamkos and then dealing with Martin St. Louis’ trade demands. I can’t imagine how he could’ve done much better than he did.
RUNNERS-UP: Peter Chiarelli of the Boston Bruins and Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings
PAST WINNERS: Ray Shero (2013), Dale Tallon (2012)
DETAILS: 18 GMs received votes, with 12 different GMs being a first-place choice. Jim Nill finished a close fourth-place.
BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE SEASON
Left deliberately open-ended, this award honours the biggest surprise of the regular season – the player or team that most wildly exceeded expectations.
WINNER: The Colorado Avalanche (receiving 13 of 28 first-place votes and appearing on 16 of 28 ballots)
Want to turn your fortunes around? Just draft first overall. Just one year removed from being one of the league’s worst clubs, the Avalanche won the Central Division bolstered by strong netminding and a balanced attack led by Nathan MacKinnon.
RUNNERS-UP: Ben Bishop (of the Tampa Bay Lightning) and Gustav Nyquist (of the Detroit Red Wings)
PAST WINNERS: The Columbus Blue Jackets (2013), The Ottawa Senators (2012)
DETAILS: 35 different teams and players received votes and 14 different first-place choices were selected. The ageless Jaromir Jagr just missed the third-place cut-off.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE SEASON
The flip-side of the previous award, this award signifies the team or player who most wildly fell short of what collective wisdom said they should be.
WINNER: The Vancouver Canucks (receiving 4 of 27 first-place votes and appearing on 10 of 27 ballots)
The Canucks added John Tortorella as coach with the hope of finally taking that fabled next step. They stumbled. And then they rolled down a hill, having one of their worst seasons in recent memory.
RUNNERS-UP: The Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs
PAST WINNERS: The Philadelphia Flyers (2013), Alex Ovechkin (2012)
DETAILS: 32 players or teams received votes, with 18 receiving at least one first-place vote. The Canucks narrowly edged out the Oilers for this dubious honour. Washington was the most disappointing non-Canadian team, while past winner Alex Ovechkin was the most disappointing player.