The Vancouver Canucks officially opened their team awards fan vote ballots on Wednesday (April 20). Every year, the team allows fans to vote on who has been the MVP, Best Defenceman, Most Exciting Player and Unsung Hero for the season. While the results will not be tallied until the final game of the season, here is a prediction on who may walk away with the awards.
Cyclone Taylor Trophy – Most Valuable Player: Thatcher Demko
Second Place: J.T. Miller
There is little question the Canucks would be where they are without Thatcher Demko. Yes, J.T. Miller may put up 100 points, but throughout the season, Vancouver’s starting goalie has kept the team in games regardless of how many highlight-reel saves he has to make. Although he will not be nominated for the Vezina this season, he will finish the year having posted career highs in wins, games played and saves while potentially also posting a new career-best save percentage and goals-against average depending on how the final few games go this season.
The statistic that really stands out and propels Demko past Miller is his goals saved above expected (GSAx). At 5-on-5, he leads the league with a 23.2 GSAx. For comparison, Igor Shesterkin, who is the front runner for the Vezina, is at 21.1 GSAx. Despite the Canucks struggling offensively for most of the season, he has been the backbone of this team all year and deserves the Cyclone Taylor Trophy.
Walter (Babe) Pratt Trophy – Best Defenceman: Quinn Hughes
Second Place: Tyler Myers
There is little question about who should win the Walter (Babe) Pratt Trophy in 2021-22. For a third straight season, the award will go to Quinn Hughes. This comes in a year that will see him not only become the Canucks all-time leader in assists for a season but could see him break Doug Lidster’s most points in a season by a defenceman record that has held strong since the 1986-87 season.
When Hughes is awarded the trophy, he will become the first defenceman since Ed Jovanovski from 2000-03 to win the trophy three straight seasons. The other players to accomplish the feat are Lidster from 1984-87 and Harold Snepsts from 1977-1980. So far this season, he has six goals, 55 assists and 61 points in 72 games. It has been a historic season for the defenceman that is sure to end with him receiving the trophy.
Pavel Bure Award – Most Exciting Player: Elias Pettersson
Second Place: J.T. Miller
Despite a slow start, Elias Pettersson has not only set a career-high in goals with 31 but should pass his career-high in points of 66 as he currently sits at 65 with four games remaining. The Swedish center is electric on the ice whenever he has the puck. Whether it is pulling off dekes that knock the opposition off their skates or throwing reverse hits that get the crowd riled up, he has been the most exciting player to watch this season.
This award will be close, as many may feel Miller’s work this season warrants a selection. He has pulled off moves, including a beautiful penalty shot against the Calgary Flames back in February, but the way Pettersson plays gets fans on the edge of their seats when he has the puck. This award will be a close one, but in the end, the young Swede should take home his third-career Pavel Bure Award.
Fred J. Hume Award – Unsung Hero: Luke Schenn
Second Place: Brad Hunt
When Luke Schenn was brought back by the Canucks at the beginning of the season, the thoughts of the fan base were a low-risk, close-to-league minimum signing that can play the odd game if needed. What ended up happening was him becoming a fan favourite and playing next to Hughes for most of the second half of the season. Not only has he been a stud in the defensive zone, but he is also having his best offensive season since 2011-12, with four goals and 15 points in 62 games.
The reason he has become a fan favourite is his willingness to stand up for his teammates. A recent example is where he dropped the gloves with Jamie Benn, who took a run at Hughes. Not only did he stand up for his defensive partner on the play, but he also sent a message across the league that if you take a run at our best player, you will have to answer for it. He also has a personality that fans love, whether it is his smiley face mouth guard or his ability to give a strong interview. If he is chosen, he will become the first defenceman since Kevin Bieksa in 2006-07 to win the award.
Get Your Votes In Soon
This Canucks season has been difficult, but the awards and trophies are a fun way to acknowledge the players who have stepped up this season. Fans have until Apr. 26, 2022, to vote for this year’s recipients. Playoffs or not, this year, especially since the calendar flipped to 2022, has been a fun ride with these team awards ending it off in a special way.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at https://www.area51sportsnetwork.com/ where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.