Welcome to the sixth 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 15, 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, 20 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: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers
RUNNERS-UP: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets
PAST WINNERS: Patrick Kane (2016), Carey Price (2015), Sidney Crosby (2013 & 2014), Evgeni Malkin (2012)
DETAILS: Ten different players received votes for this award, with three players (McDavid, Crosby and Brad Marchand) receiving first-place votes. Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson was a close fourth place in the balloting. McDavid received 18 of 20 first-place votes.
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: Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs
RUNNERS-UP: Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets and Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets
PAST WINNERS: Artemi Panarin (2016), Aaron Ekblad (2015), Nathan MacKinnon (2014), Jonathan Huberdeau (2013), Gabriel Landeskog (2012)
DETAILS: Seven players received votes, but Matthews received every single first-place vote.
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: Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets
RUNNERS-UP: Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals and Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers
PAST WINNERS: Braden Holtby (2016), Carey Price (2015), Semyon Varlamov (2014), Sergei Bobrovsky (2013), Jonathan Quick (2012)
DETAILS: Eight goaltenders received votes, with three (Bobrovsky, Talbot and Carey Price) earning first-place votes. Bobrovsky received 17 of 19 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
RUNNERS-UP: Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning
PAST WINNERS: Erik Karlsson (2015 & 2016), Duncan Keith (2014), P.K. Subban (2013), Erik Karlsson (2012)
DETAILS: While six players received votes, Karlsson, Burns and Hedman dominated the balloting. Karlsson received 14 of 20 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: Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild
RUNNERS-UP: Marc-Eduoard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks
PAST WINNERS: Drew Doughty (2015 & 2016), Marc-Eduoard Vlasic (2014), Zdeno Chara (2012 & 2013)
DETAILS: As has become a tradition for this award, many players (20) received votes. 10 players received first-place votes, led by Suter (8). Mark Giordano and Erik Karlsson finished just outside the podium positions.
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
Bergeron has been the winner or runner-up in this category every year we’ve done voting.
RUNNERS-UP: Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks and Mikael Backlund of the Calgary Flames
PAST WINNERS: Patrick Bergeron (2016), Jonathan Toews (2015), Patrice Bergeron (2012, 2013 & 2014)
DETAILS: 17 players received votes, with seven receiving first-place votes. Bergeron edged out Kesler for the award.
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: Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs
RUNNERS-UP: John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Todd McLellan of the Edmonton Oilers
PAST WINNERS: Barry Trotz (2016), Bob Hartley (2015), Patrick Roy (2014), Paul MacLean (2013), Ken Hitchcock (2012)
DETAILS: Ten coaches received votes, with nine of them receiving at least one first-place nod. Babcock barely edged out Tortorella for the award in a two-horse race.
THE SAM POLLOCK AWARD (MOST OUTSTANDING GENERAL MANAGER)
Awarded to the general manager who had the most outstanding season.
CO-WINNERS: Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Jarmo Kekalainen of the Columbus Blue Jackets
RUNNERS-UP: Peter Chiarelli of the Edmonton Oilers and David Poile of the Nashville Predators
PAST WINNERS: Jim Nill (2016), Steve Yzerman (2014 & 2015), Ray Shero (2013), Dale Tallon (2012)
DETAILS: 15 different GMs received votes, with 10 receiving first-place votes. Yzerman and Kekalainen received the same number of first, second and third-place votes for a true tie, with Chiarelli right on their heels.
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: Jonathan Marchessault of the Florida Panthers
Signed as a free agent for a $750,000 cap hit, Marchessault put up 51 points in 75 games.
RUNNERS-UP: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Sam Gagner of the Columbus Blue Jackets
PAST WINNERS: Artemi Panarin (2016)
DETAILS: 22 different players received votes, with eight 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: Loui Eriksson of the Vancouver Canucks
In the first year of a long-term deal that pays him $6 million against the cap each season, Eriksson had just 24 points.
RUNNERS-UP: Rick Nash of the New York Rangers and Carl Soderberg of the Colorado Avalanche
PAST WINNERS: David Clarkson (2016)
DETAILS: 35 different players received votes.
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 Toronto Maple Leafs
RUNNERS-UP: The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Edmonton Oilers
PAST WINNERS: The Florida Panthers (2016), The Calgary Flames (2015), The Colorado Avalanche (2014), The Columbus Blue Jackets (2013), The Ottawa Senators (2012)
DETAILS: 22 different teams and players received votes, with nine 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 Dallas Stars
RUNNERS-UP: The Florida Panthers and the Colorado Avalanche
PAST WINNERS: The Montreal Canadiens (2016), The Los Angeles Kings (2015), The Vancouver Canucks (2014), The Philadelphia Flyers (2013), Alex Ovechkin (2012)
DETAILS: 16 teams (and players) received votes, with nine of them receiving first-place selections.