2021 NHL Awards
JACK ADAMS AWARD (Best Coach)
The Adams Trophy is one of the hardest to predict because there is no analytics beyond wins and losses to measure how valuable a coach has been to a team. Normally the Adam’s would go to a team that has exceeded expectations, but there haven’t been too many surprises this year. Dean Evason has done a fantastic job in Minnesota to turn their team around, but that’s a relatively easy job when you add Kaprizov and get rid of Dubnyk in goal. Without the amazing team coming from nowhere, think Golden Knights in 2017-18; the award normally goes to a top-five team, which I expect to happen this year. The Avalanche struggled at the start of the season, but despite having the fifth most injured team, Jared Bednar led the Avalanche to a President’s Trophy.
SELKE TROPHY (Best Defensive Forward)
Vegas Golden Knights
From my perspective, the Selke is a three-way race between Aleksander Barkov, Patrice Bergeron, Mark Stone. Between Barkov, Stone, and Bergeron it is more or less a toss-up. Bergeron has already won four Selke trophies, and according to Evolvingwild, Bergeron is 3rd in defensive GAR among forwards with 500 minutes TOI 5-on-5 and 50 minutes in shorthanded TOI, with Mark Stone Right behind him in defensive GAR. On the other hand, Barkov is only allowing expected goals against of 3.4, while his expected goals for is 13.4. Accounting for the voter fatigue, it seems unlikely that Bergeron will win his fifth Selke which would be an NHL record, so I think Stone will finally win his Selke after finishing second for the past three years.
VEZINA TROPHY (Best Goalie)
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Vezina is one of the more competitive trophies with normal competitors such as Vasilevskiy, Hellebuyck, and Fleury dominating the discussion. There were certainly surprises throughout the year, as Semyon Varlamov of the New York Islanders had an impressive year leading the NHL with eight shutouts. Jeremy Swayman of the Boston Bruins posted a ridiculous 1.50 GAA and .945 SV% in ten starts. Ultimately, the signs point to Vasilevskiy winning his second Vezina in three years as he sits at a -185 favorite. According to JFresh Hockey, Vasilevskiy ranks in the 97th percentile for quality starts and a rock-solid .925 Sv% meaning the Lightning could rely on him day in and day out. Hellebuyck and Fleury both put together amazing seasons carrying their teams to wins night after night. Hellebuyck has out of the world advanced stats this, but when the Jets fail to make the playoffs voters will find it hard to give him the Vezina for the second year in a row.
CALDER TROPHY (Rookie of the Year)
The Minnesota Wild have been struggling to find success since their 2017-18 season where they scored 101 points and made the playoffs. The Wild finally found this success in the most top-heavy division, and the Wild became one of the most fun teams to watch thanks to rookie Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov was the Calder favorite all year long, as he has scored 51 points. Not only does Kaprizov lead rookies in goals, but he finished eighth overall. Jason Robertson had a solid rookie year as he led all rookies in assists with 28 for the Dallas Stars. Tim Stützle started his NHL career in January, months after being named the best forward at World Juniors this winter, and put together a solid rookie campaign.
NORRIS TROPHY (Best Defenseman)
The Norris Race has easily been the most fun with so many unique storylines. Young talent flooded the Norris Race as Charlie McAvoy, Adam Fox, and Cale Makar have all been top 10 defensemen this year and are all 23 years old. With the influx of young talent, veterans such as Doughty, Hedman, and Carlson still put together a good argument for themselves. One of the young guns probably deserves to win the Norris between McAvoy, Fox, and Makar because they all rank in the top 3% of defensive WAR. At the same time, Carlson, Hedman, and Doughty are more offensive defensemen. My official prediction is John Carlson because he has finished top five in Norris voting for the past three years and is due to win it finally, but don’t be surprised if Hedman finally wins his first Norris either.
HART TROPHY (NHL MVP)
Despite Auston Matthews putting together an impressive 40-goal season, his third in five years in the NHL, and Crosby carrying the Penguins through the incredibly competitive MassMutual East division, McDavid ran away with the Hart award in his final ten games. McDavid scored three points or more in eight of his final ten games and 29 total points over that span as he reached the 100 point mark in just 53 games. According to Hockey Reference, McDavid ranks fourth all-time in points per game with 1.410, which is only behind Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Mike Bossy. McDavid is an -1100 point favorite to win his second Hart Trophy since joining the league in 2016.