The official NHL Awards ceremony may not take place until later this month, but that doesn’t mean the most deserving NHL players and franchises have to wait that long to gain recognition. The fifth annual THW Year-End Awards were officially released on Tuesday, and the results were favorable for some Chicago Blackhawks players.
The description of the awards, as found in the original article which can be found here, is as follows:
At the conclusion of every National Hockey League season, we ask all active writers to submit their picks for the following categories. Voting was conducted by e-mail between April 12 and May 27, while 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. Ties were broken by way of first place votes. Overall, 15 ballots were cast for the awards.
Wayne Gretzky Award
Winner: Patrick Kane
The first award that is discussed is “The Wayne Gretzky Award (Most Outstanding Player)” which is The Hockey Writers’ rendition of the NHL’s Hart Trophy. In short, the award is provided to the player who’s contributions most helped his team succeed during the 2016 NHL regular season. With past winners of the award including Carey Price, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin, it’s clear that the award honors the elite of the elite players in the league. It should come as no surprise, then, that Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks was named the winner of this prestigious award after receiving 13 of 15 first-place votes, and appearing on 14 of the 15 total ballots.
While there were other players worthy of the award this year, such as Sidney Crosby, Braden Holtby, and Jamie Benn, nobody best exemplified “Most Valuable Player” qualifications quite like Kane did this season.
Teemu Selanne Award
Winner: Artemi Panarin
The next award discussed is “The Teemu Selanne Award (Most Oustanding Rookie)”. This award is The Hockey Writers’ rendition of the NHL’s Calder Trophy, and it is won by the first-year NHL player who had the most outstanding year.
2016 was arguably one of the most impressive seasons in terms of rookie performances in NHL history. There were a multitude of first-year players who shined this season, including Artemi Panarin, Colton Parayko, Shayne Gostisbehere, Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid, just to name a few. No rookie seemed to shine as brightly from beginning to end as Panarin though. The young Russian forward benefited greatly from playing alongside Kane on the Blackhawk’s second line, but his success should not be entirely attributed to his linemates. Scoring 30 goals and 77 points in the NHL is no easy task, so to see a rookie do so is incredible to say the least.
Doug Jarvis Award
Winner: Patrice Bergeron
While no Blackhawk’s player won “The Doug Jarvis Award (Most Outstanding Defensive Forward)” which is handed out to the forward who displays the best defensive abilities throughout the regular season, Jonathan Toews still finished in the top three of voting. The award is The Hockey Writers’ version of the Selke Trophy.
After taking home the hardware last season to finally pry the trophy away from Patrice Bergeron (who had won it in each of the previous three seasons), the Bruins’ veteran claimed the trophy once again as he received nine out of 15 first place votes.
Captain Serious is one of the usual suspects in the “defensive-forward” category, and it isn’t surprising that he finished in the top-three of voting once again this season. There aren’t many forwards in the league who play as well as Toews does in all aspects of the game, but Bergeron and Anze Kopitar are definitely deserving of their place in the awards’ standings.
Best Salary Cap Value Award
Winner: Artemi Panarin
This award is new to The Hockey Writers, and is given to the player who provides the best value for their team relative to their salary cap figure. It should come as no surprise then, that Artemi Panarin was the recipient of this award as he was only paid $812,500 this season and posted 30 goals and 77 points.
The runner-ups for this award included Lee Stempniak and Evgeny Kuznetsov, with 28 different players receiving votes and 10 players receiving first-place votes. The competition for this award was fierce, especially given the fact that so many players have contracts that are good relative to their ability. While the most obvious selections for this award include players who are being paid under $1,000,000, players like Tyler Seguin and John Tavares who are paid upwards of $5,000,000 each should also be included given their relatively inexpensive contracts weighed alongside their franchise cornerstone-status.
As mentioned, Panarin’s contract was worth only $812,500 in base salary and cap hit, but due to the incentives that were added to the contract, the young Russian eventually cost the ‘Hawks roughly $3,500,000 at the end of the year. This is a testament to how good Panarin actually is, versus what his cap hit suggests.
The Chicago Blackhawks had a very good regular season once again in 2015-16. Although their playoff hopes were thwarted in the first-round this season, there was some well-deserved recognition for individual accomplishments among The Hockey Writers’ community. The actual NHL Award Ceremony will take place on June 22 and should also feature some Blackhawks, but only time will tell how many, and which trophies they’ll come home with.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.