It feels strange that after less than 30 games, we already sit at the midway point of the NHL season. But such is the nature of the post-lockout NHL, and with the mid-season point comes all of the mid-season reports, grades and awards. Here’s a look at who is deserving of bringing home some hardware halfway through the season.
Hart Trophy: Sidney Crosby
Runner-up: Steven Stamkos
It finally seems as though Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby has put his injury troubles behind him and has picked up right where he left off. Before his first head injury back in January 2011, Crosby was reeking havoc on the league. He had just finished a 25 game point streak, and looked to be a runway favorite for the Hart Trophy. Now, two years later, he was regained that form, and some say he looks even better. Through 26 games, Crosby leads the league with 45 points. He has more assists (33) then all but three other players have points. While Evgeni Malkin is out with injury, Crosby is picking up the slack with a dominating performance thus far.
Vezina Trophy: Craig Anderson
Runner-up: Tukka Rask
The Ottawa Senators goaltender hasn’t played a game since February 21st, yet he currently leads the league in goals against average and save percentage. The Senators have had their fair share of injuries, and before Anderson joined the list his play was absolutely stellar, helping to keep the Sens in the race. The fact that he isn’t playing right now may hamper his chances at actually winning the award at the end of the season, but stats don’t lie. Anderson has been the best goalie in the NHL for the first half of the season.
Jack Adams Trophy: Michel Therrien
Runner-up: Joel Quennville
With all due to respect to what the Chicago Blackhawks have achieved under Joel Quennville, what Michel Therrien has done with the Montreal Canadiens is nothing short of remarkable. The core of this team is essentially the same one that finished dead last in the Eastern Conference last season, yet here they are today, sitting in first place. Kudos to Montreal’s GM for bringing in the right mix of players, but Therrien has been able to implement the perfect system for this team and got the players to buy in. Nobody could have predicted the Canadiens would be where they are at this point in the season, but thanks to the coach, they look like a legitimate contender.
Norris Trophy: Kris Letang
Runner-up: Francois Beauchemin
Leading all NHL defenseman in points by a wide margin with 26, Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Kris Letang is emerging from the shadows of his high profile teammates. Letang is an excellent skater with great hands and knack for scoring. But being a good defenseman is more than just getting points. Considering how many goals the Penguins allow, Letang is a +10, and he’s on the top pairing. Erik Karlsson won the Norris last season on the strength of all the points he scored. Some people don’t like that aspect of this award, but Letang is proving that he can get it done at both ends of the ice, and deserves consideration comes seasons end.
Calder Trophy: Jonathan Huberdeau
Runner-up: Cory Conacher
The Florida Panthers have been a dreadful team this season. One of the few bright spots has been the play of rookie Jonathan Huberdeau. He currently leads all rookies in goals with 12, and has provided us with some highlight reel moves. The sky is the limit for this kid. He has the makings of a future star in this league. Unlike the rookie points leader Cory Conacher, Huberdeau doesn’t have superstar teammates to help him out. He’s doing this pretty much on his own, and being quite impressive in the process.