In a recent episode of “ The Ray & Dregs podcast“ hosted by TSN’s Ray Ferraro and Darren Dreger, they discussed the idea of the NHL changing the names of their individual awards. Ferraro suggested putting all of the current trophies in the Hockey Hall of Fame so that they can take their place in hockey history and be on display forever, and the existing awards would then be renamed after players that today’s fans are a little more familiar with.
So with Ferraro’s comments in mind, I thought that I would give my opinion on what it could look like if the NHL decided to rename their awards. I am not saying that the NHL should rename their awards, I am only suggesting who my picks would be if the league were to ever make the change.
Calder Memorial Trophy
Awarded annually to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition.
Change it to: The Teemu Selanne Award
We have seen a handful of very impressive rookie seasons over the years, but they all fail in comparison to what Teemu Selanne did when he first broke into the league in 1992-93.
The Finnish Flash found the back of the net an incredible 76 times in 84 games and also added 56 assists to finish his rookie campaign with 132 points. Selanne won the scoring race by 30 points and was unsurprisingly awarded the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of year. His 76 goals tied Alexander Mogilny for the league lead and shattered the record for goals in a season by a rookie, previously held by Mike Bossy (53), he also effortlessly beat Peter Stastny’s record for points in a season (109).
Selanne was never able to match his offensive output from his rookie season, but he was still an elite scorer for the majority of his career. He reached the 50-goal mark two more times in his career and took home the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 1998-99.
Related: Teemu Selanne’s Unbreakable Record
It’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see another rookie step into the league and dominate the way that Selanne did, and that’s why I believe that the Calder Trophy should become the Teemu Selanne Award in the future.
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Awarded annually to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
Change it to: The Marcel Dionne Trophy
In order to be a contender for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy you have to be a gentlemanly player and have a high playing ability, and there aren’t many players that meet that criteria better than Marcel Dionne.
Dionne was an elite player and is still one of the best goal scorers that the league has ever seen. He reached the 50-goal mark six times and finished his career with 731 goals which is fifth all-time, and his 1,771 points rank sixth. He is a two-time Lady Byng winner and he has also won the Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay award twice and narrowly edged out Wayne Gretzky for the Art Ross Trophy in 1979-80.
Dionne was a very clean player and this allowed him to spend more time on the ice scoring goals rather than making his team short handed and wasting two minutes in the penalty box, in 1,348 games he only racked up 600 penalty minutes. If the NHL decides to rename the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy anytime soon, I think that it should be come the Marcel Dionne Trophy.
Jack Adams Award
Awarded annually to the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.
Change it to: Scotty Bowman Award
Bowman started his coaching career in 1967 with the expansion St. Louis Blues, he coached them to three straight Stanley Cup Final appearances but they were unsuccessful each time. After his time in St. Louis he moved onto the Montreal Canadiens and became part of a dynasty. He won the Stanley Cup five times in Montreal, including four in a row 1976 to 1979.
Bowman went onto win the Stanley Cup four more times after parting ways with the Canadiens. He won with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991-92 and added three more with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, 1998, and 2002.
He is the most decorated coach of all-time and also has the most wins out of any coach. He won 1,248 regular season games and added 223 more in the post season. There is no question that he is the best coach of all-time, and he deserves to have the coach of the year award named after him.
Conn Smythe Trophy
Awarded annually to the most valuable player during the playoffs.
Change it to: Patrick Roy Trophy
The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the most valuable player during the playoffs, during his playing days, there weren’t many players who were more valuable to their team when competing for the cup than Patrick Roy.
Many consider Roy to be the best goalie to ever suit up in the NHL, he ranks second all-time in regular season wins (551) and is first for playoff wins (151).
Roy backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to two Stanley Cup championships in 1986 and 1993 and he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for his efforts. After he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, Roy went onto win two more Stanley Cups, and was once again awarded the Conn Smythe in 2001.
On top of this three playoff MVP awards, Roy also won the William M. Jennings Trophy five times, and the Vezina Trophy three times. He is arguably the best goaltender ever and he would be my choice to have the Conn Smythe Trophy named after him.
The Vezina Trophy
Awarded annually to the goaltender who is adjudged to be the best at his position.
Change it to: The Dominik Hasek Award
When discussing the best goaltenders of all-time, one of the first names that is usually brought up is Dominik Hasek—and for good reason.
Hasek was incredibly flexible and had a very unique playing style that could be compared to playing the game Twister on ice. He often found himself in positions that would make fans watching at home wince in pain, he would do anything in order to make a save, and that is a big reason why he’s considered one of the best goalies of all-time.
Hasek played 16 seasons in the NHL, making stops in Chicago, Buffalo, Ottawa, and Detroit. He helped backstop the Red Wings to Stanley Cup championships in 2002 and 2008, he could have a third Stanley Cup championship on his resume, but he and the Buffalo Sabres lost the 1999 Final to the Dallas Stars in what was one of the most controversial championship games of all-time.
On top of being a six-time Vezina Trophy winner—which is the second most all-time behind Jacques Plante, he has also won the Hart Trophy twice, the Ted Lindsay Award twice, and the William M. Jennings Trophy three times. He has the best save percentage of all-time (.922) and sits sixth in career shutouts (81).
There’s no question that Hasek is one of the best goaltenders of all-time and he should definitely get some consideration if the league ever decides to rename the Vezina Trophy.
William M. Jennings Trophy
Awarded annually to the goalie who allows the fewest amount of goals in the regular season with a minimum of 25 games played.
Change it to: Martin Brodeur Trophy
Much like Hasek, Brodeur’s name is always brought up in the greatest goalie of all-time discussion. He was an exceptional goalie that was best known for his quick reflexes and puck handling abilities. He was so talented with the puck that the league had to implement the “ Brodeur Rule” in 2005-06, which meant that if a goaltender played the puck behind the net or in the trapezoid, he would be given a two-minute penalty.
Brodeur’s trophy case got pretty full over the course of his career, he won the Jennings Trophy five times, Vezina Trophy four times, and the Calder Trophy. He topped it all of with three Stanley Cup Championships with the New Jersey Devils in 1995, 2000, and 2003.
After 1,266 NHL games he sits first all-time in wins (691) and shutouts (125). Brodeur is one of just 11 goalies to ever score a goal and he is the only one to ever do it multiple times, he scored two in the regular season and added one in the playoffs. He’s quite possibly the best goaltender of all-time and it wouldn’t be much of a shock if we saw the Jennings Trophy become the Martin Brodeur Trophy.
Frank J. Selke Trophy
Awarded annually to the forward who best demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game.
Change it to: The Bobby Clarke Award
Bobby Clarke was an incredible combination of skill, grit, and work ethic. For the better part of the 1970s and ’80s he terrorized his opponents on a nightly basis with his toughness and offensive talent.
Clarke was one of the most consistent scorers in the league during his career—he eclipsed 70 points in a season nine times and even broke the 100-point mark three times. Not to be overshadowed by his offensive output, Clarke was also an excellent two-way forward, in 1,144 games he racked up a plus-minus of plus-507, good enough for the fifth all-time.
Despite being one of the best defensive forwards to play the game, Clarke was only awarded the Selke Trophy once during his career. His trophy collection also includes three Hart Trophies, a Lester B. Pearson award, and two Stanley Cups (1974-74).
What he was able to do when he the puck was special, but it was what he could without the puck that makes him the front runner for this award to be named after him.
James Norris Memorial Trophy
Awarded annually to the top defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.
Change it to: The Bobby Orr Award
This one is a fairly obvious choice. Bobby Orr completely changed the way that defenceman play the game. Before he entered the league in 1966, defenceman typically played a ‘stay at home’ position that didn’t see them get involved in the play a whole lot—that all changed when Orr came around. He revolutionized the position with his ability to fly up the ice at breathtaking speeds and effortlessly dance around opponents.
Orr put up offensive numbers that were unheard of by a defenceman, he reached the 100-point mark six times during his career. In 1970-71 he set a new career high in points with 139 (37 goals, 102 assists), this marked the first time ever that a player recorded 100 assists in a season. That same season he was also a mind boggling plus-124, which is an NHL record that is very unlikely to ever be broken. He is also the only defenceman to ever win the Art Ross, doing so in 1969-70 (120 points) and again in 1974-75 (135 points).
Orr won a lot of NHL hardware during his playing days, including three Hart Trophies, two Art Ross Trophies, a Calder Trophy, and two Stanley Cups, but the award that he is most known for is the Norris Trophy. He won it eight times, which is more than any other player in league history.
I`m glad I won it now because its going to belong to Orr from here on.Harry Howell on winning the Norris Trophy in Orr`s rookie season. (Toronto Maple Leafs: Diary of a Dynasty 1957–1967.)
His career was cut short due to injuries but he still managed to register 270 goals and 915 points in 657 games.
Orr altered the way the game was played and many people believe that he is the greatest player ever. One day we will see the Bobby Award handed out annually to the top defenceman in the league.
Ted Lindsay/Lester B. Pearson Award
Awarded annually to the league’s most outstanding player in the regular season. Formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson Award.
Change it to: The Sidney Crosby Award
From the moment he entered the league in 2005, Sidney Crosby has been widely regarded as the best player in the league, and he has the accomplishments to back it up. He is a three-time recipient of the Ted Lindsay Award and has also taken home two Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Trophies and two “ Rocket” Richard Trophies. He helped lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to championships in 2009, 2016, and 2017.
After 976 career games Crosby has 459 goals and 1,257 points. His career hasn’t even come to an end yet and he is already in the conversation for the greatest player of all-time. This award was just renamed in 2010, so it’s unlikely that we will see a name change anytime soon, but if that day comes, Crosby deserves some serious consideration to have it named after him.
Hart Memorial Trophy
Awarded annually to the player judged most valuable to his team.
Change it to: The Gordie Howe Memorial Trophy
Wayne Gretzky may hold the record for most career Hart Memorial Trophy wins (9), but in my opinion it’s Gordie Howe who deserves the honor of having this prestigious award named after him.
Before Gretzky came along and shattered what seems like just about every league record, it was Gordie Howe who was terrorizing his opponents on a nightly basis. Howe is best known for how fierce and intense he played the game, not only could he bury you on the scoreboard with a couple of quick goals, he could make your life a living hell if you chose to battle for the puck with him in the corners. One of the things that he was most known for were the vicious elbows that he would throw at his opponents when things got heated.
“Mr. Hockey” won the Hart Trophy six times over the course of his career, which ranks second only behind Gretzky. He’s won the Art Ross Trophy six times, despite only hitting the 100-point mark once, where he registered 44 goals and 103 points in 76 games in 1968-69. Not only did he have a lot of individual success, he also helped lead the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships from 1950 to 1955.
Related: Best NHL Forwards Ever
He is the all-time leader in games played (1,767), second in goals (801), and fourth in points (1850).
He unfortunately passed away on June. 10, 2016 at 88 years old. For the majority of his career he was unquestionably the best player in the league, and is still considered by many to be the greatest player of all-time. There isn’t many better ways to honor the legacy of “Mr. Hockey” than renaming the Hart Trophy after him.
Art Ross Trophy
Awarded annually to the player who leads the league in points at the end of the regular season.
Change it to: Mario Lemieux Award
From 1981 to 1995 there were only two players that took home the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer: Gretzky, should get a brand new award named after him and Mario Lemiuex, who if you took Gretzky out of the mix, would have the highest scoring season of all-time.
He is arguably the most offensively gifted player to ever step foot in the NHL. He scored 100+ points in a season ten times and he has two of the ten highest scoring seasons in league history. The best season of Lemieux’s career came during the 1988-89 season where he fell just short of being the second player to record 200+ points in a season, he finished with 199 (85 goals, 114 assists). Out of the handful of league records that he holds or shares, his record of being the only player to record eight points in a game multiple times might be the most impressive.
Lemieux won the Art Ross Trophy six times in his career, which ties Howe for the second most. He is also a four-time Ted Lindsay winner, three-time Hart Winner, and he led the Pittsburgh Penguins to back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992. He is eleventh all-time in goals (690), eighth in points (1723), and second in points per game (1.88). Lemiuex was an offensive juggernaut and it is only fitting that the award for the leading scorer is renamed after him.
Maurice “Rocket“ Richard Trophy
Awarded annually to the player who leads the league in goals at the end of the regular season.
Change it to: Alexander Ovechkin Award
A few years ago, if someone told you that there was a legitimate chance that somebody was going to break Gretzky’s 894-goal record, you likely wouldn’t have believed them, but that’s what we’re witnessing now as Alex Ovechkin continues to climb up the all-time goals list.
The “ Rocket“ Richard Trophy is given out the player who leads the regular season in goals, Ovechkin has won the award eight times since it was introduced in 1998-99 and he has a very strong chance at taking home the award once again this June.
With 42 goals through 61 games already this season, Ovechkin is well on his way to another 50-goal campaign, which would be the ninth of his career and it would put him in a tie with Gretzky and Mike Bossy for most career 50-goal seasons. His career high in goals and points came during the 2007-08 season where he found the back of the net 65 times—the most in a season since 1995-96.
Ovechkin still has a lot of hockey left to play, and in my opinion he is the greatest goal scorer of all-time whether he breaks Gretzky’s record or not, and when he retires in the future this award should be renamed accordingly.
Scott Stevens Award
Awarded annually to the top defense player who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
Out of the all the NHL awards that are handed out in June, the one that causes the most controversy is usually the Norris Trophy. The award is supposed to go to the best all-round defenceman, but in recent years it seems like the award has typically been given to the defenceman with the best offensive production. Many fans believe that the award is not being handed out correctly, and that the best solution would be for league to introduce a trophy for the best defensive defenceman
Scott Stevens made a name for himself in the NHL by being a solid shut down defender and one of the fiercest to ever play the game. Stevens is best known for his ability to throw thunderous open-ice body checks. He went onto rack up 2,785 penalty minutes over the course of his 22-year career (14th all-time).
Whether he was laying you out with a huge hit or stripping you of the puck with some fancy stick work, there was a very slim chance that you were going to get near the net with Stevens on the ice, this is a big reason why he has the 13th best plus-minus rating of all-time (plus-395). Not only was he great in his own zone, he could also chip in offensively, he scored at least 50 points in a season eight times and finished his career with 908 points (1196 goals, 712 assists).
Stevens was never awarded the Norris Trophy in his career, however he did captain the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cup championships in 1995, 2000, and 2003. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2000 playoffs.
If the NHL ever does decide to introduce an award for the best defensive defenceman, Stevens has a pretty good case for it to be named after him.
Wayne Gretzky Award
Awarded annually to the player who leads the league in assists at the end of the regular season.
Wayne Gretzky accomplished so much during his career that there is a handful of awards that could be renamed after him, but I think it is best that he gets a brand new award in his honor.
The NHL already has an award for the player who scores the most goals and for the player that racks up the most points, so why isn’t there an award for the player who has the most assists in a season? That’s where the Wayne Gretzky Award comes in.
If Gretzky didn’t score a single goal during his career, he would still be the all-time points leader, in 1,487 games he had 1,963 helpers, Jaromir Jagr is second all-time in points with 1,921. That alone should be enough to warrant getting an award named after him.
Only two other players (Orr, Mario Lemiuex) in league history have recorded more than 100 assists in a season, Gretzky did it 12 seasons in a row. He has the eight highest single season assist totals of all-time, including the league record of 163 assists in 1985-86, that season he added 52 goals and finished the season with 215 points— a league record that will likely never be broken.
Its shocking that Gretzky still doesn’t have a league award named after him considering the way that he dominated during his time in the league, but I can’t imagine that we will have to wait long to see an award named in his honor.
It’s unlikely that we will see the NHL rename the awards anytime soon, but these are my picks for it if it ever does happen. Let me know in the comments who you think deserves to be honored with their own award.
Josh Vold covers the Edmonton Oilers here at TheHockeyWriters.com