Welcome to the fifth annual installment of the Year-End Awards here at The Hockey Writers.
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.
THE WAYNE GRETZKY AWARD (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 his team succeed.
WINNER: Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (receiving 13 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on 14 of 15 ballots)
Even with his off-ice issues clouding his season, Kane was the runaway winner of this award.
RUNNERS-UP: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals
PAST WINNERS: Carey Price (2015), Sidney Crosby (2014), Sidney Crosby (2013), Evgeni Malkin (2012)
DETAILS: Nine different players (seven forwards, one defender and one goalie) received votes and three players were first-choice selections. Jamie Benn finished just off the podium in fourth place.
THE TEEMU SELANNE AWARD (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: Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks (receiving 9 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on 14 of 15 ballots)
The first-year KHL import led in first-place and second-place votes and won this in a walk.
RUNNERS-UP: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers
PAST WINNERS: Aaron Ekblad (2015), Nathan MacKinnon (2014), Jonathan Huberdeau (2013), Gabriel Landeskog (2012)
DETAILS: Six first-year players (four forwards, two defensemen) received votes and three of them were first-choice selections. Jack Eichel finished fourth.
THE MARTIN BRODEUR AWARD (MOST OUTSTANDING GOALTENDER)
Modeled after the NHL’s Vezina Trophy, this category celebrates the goaltender who had the most outstanding season.
WINNER: Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals (receiving 12 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on 14 ballots)
Holtby finished with three times as many points as the second-place finisher.
RUNNERS-UP: Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings
PAST WINNERS: Carey Price (2015), Semyon Varlamov (2014), Sergei Bobrovsky (2013), Jonathan Quick (2012)
DETAILS: Nine different goalies received votes, but only Holtby, Bishop and Henrik Lundqvist received first-place votes.
THE BOBBY ORR AWARD (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: Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators (receiving 10 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on every ballot)
Karlsson wins this for the third time in five seasons in a race that wasn’t much of a race.
RUNNERS-UP: Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks
PAST WINNERS: Erik Karlsson (2015), Duncan Keith (2014), P.K. Subban (2013), Erik Karlsson (2012)
DETAILS: 10 players received votes and five of them garnered first-place votes.
THE EDDIE SHORE AWARD (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: Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings (receiving 8 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on 10 of 15 ballots)
Doughty wins this award for the second season in a row.
RUNNERS-UP: Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Marc-Eduoard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks
PAST WINNERS: Drew Doughty (2015), Marc-Eduoard Vlasic (2014), Zdeno Chara (2012 & 2013)
DETAILS: 18 different players received votes and seven received at least one first-place vote.
THE DOUG JARVIS AWARD (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 9 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on 13 of 15 ballots)
Bergeron has won this award or been the runner-up in every year we’ve done voting.
RUNNERS-UP: Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks
PAST WINNERS: Jonathan Toews (2015), Patrice Bergeron (2012, 2013 & 2014)
DETAILS: 13 players received votes and five received first-place votes. Bergeron just edged out Kopitar.
THE SCOTTY BOWMAN AWARD (MOST OUTSTANDING COACH)
Our version of the Jack Adams Award, this goes to the coach who had the most outstanding season.
WINNER: Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals (receiving 7 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on 13 of 15 ballots)
Trotz powered the terminally-underachieving Capitals to regular season dominance and gets rewarded with this award.
RUNNERS-UP: Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers and Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars
PAST WINNERS: Bob Hartley (2015), Patrick Roy (2014), Paul MacLean (2013), Ken Hitchcock (2012)
DETAILS: Eight coaches received at votes, with five earning at least one first-place vote. Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau finished just barely off the podium in fourth place.
THE SAM POLLOCK AWARD (MOST OUTSTANDING GENERAL MANAGER)
Awarded to the general manager who had the most outstanding season.
WINNER: Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars (receiving 7 of 16 first-place votes and appearing on 10 of 16 ballots)
Nill was active and strategic for much of the season, and his busy trade deadline likely clinched this award for him.
RUNNERS-UP: Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers and Jim Rutherford of the Pittsburgh Penguins
PAST WINNERS: Steve Yzerman (2014 & 2015), Ray Shero (2013), Dale Tallon (2012)
DETAILS: 12 different general managers received votes, with five GMs getting first place votes. Chicago’s Stan Bowman finished a close fourth.
THE BEST SALARY CAP VALUE AWARD
This award is given to the player voted to be the best bang for the salary cap buck.
WINNER: Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks
A first-year NHLer with an incentive-laden contract, Panarin ended up costing the Blackhawks about $3.5 million after bonuses, but was nearly a point-per-game player.
RUNNERS-UP: Lee Stempniak of the Boston Bruins and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals
PAST WINNERS: This is a brand-new award this season.
DETAILS: 28 different players received votes, with 10 different players getting first-place votes.
THE WORST SALARY CAP VALUE AWARD
This award is given to the player voted to be the worst bang for the salary cap buck.
WINNER: David Clarkson of the Columbus Blue Jackets
Clarkson is making $5.25 million (for another three seasons) and has scored 17 goals over the last three seasons combined. Ouch.
RUNNERS-UP: Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Dan Girardi of the New York Rangers
PAST WINNERS: This is a brand-new award this season.
DETAILS: 23 players received votes, with 11 different players getting first place tallies.
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 Florida Panthers (receiving 11 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on 14 of 15 ballots)
The Panthers were the feel-good story of the season, chugging along nicely and never really sagging en route to a playoff appearance.
RUNNERS-UP: Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks and Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers
PAST WINNERS: The Calgary Flames (2015), The Colorado Avalanche (2014), The Columbus Blue Jackets (2013), The Ottawa Senators (2012)
DETAILS: 17 different teams and players received votes, with 5 of them earning first-place votes.
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 Montreal Canadiens (receiving 11 of 15 first-place votes and appearing on 12 of 15 ballots)
The season began with a lot of promise (and the hope that Carey Price could carry the team). Instead Price got hurt and the Habs never seemed to recover.
RUNNERS-UP: The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets
PAST WINNERS: The Los Angeles Kings (2015), The Vancouver Canucks (2014), The Philadelphia Flyers (2013), Alex Ovechkin (2012)
DETAILS: 14 teams (and players) received votes, with five of them receiving first-place selections.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.