JACK ADAMS AWARD (Best Coach)
It was a hockey revival in South Florida as the Panthers had their best season ever, winning the Atlantic Division with a record of 47-26-9, topping 100 points for the first time franchise history with 103. The Panthers balanced youth with Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad and the veteran leadership of the ageless Jaromir Jagr to reach the playoffs for just the season time since 2000. A big key to the Panthers turnaround was Gallant who helped change the culture in Florida and make a team that struggled at the gate to one of the hottest tickets in town.
SELKE TROPHY (Best Defensive Forward)
Los Angeles Kings
Anze Kopitar has been a candidate for the Selke Trophy for several years but has fallen short, finishing in the top four in voting in the previous three season. This year is where is patience will pay off as Kopitar was key to the Kings return to the playoff following a disappointing 2015. Anze Kopitar ranked second in +/- at +34, one behind teammate Tyler Toffoli. Kopitar also led the Kings in scoring with 74 points highlighted by 49 assists. The biggest key to Anze Kopitar was on the faceoff where he was one top players in the NHL, winning 54% of faceoffs in the defensive zone.
VEZINA TROPHY (Best Goalie)
The 2015/16 NHL season was one for the goalies as several had strong seasons worthy notching the NHL’s top award for goalies. From Ben Bishop of the Lightning league best GAA to Jonathan Quick’s 40 wins it was a big season for the men with the pads. The best goalie however was the one from the league’s best team Braden Holtby who equaled Martin Brodeur’s single season record with 48 wins. The Capitals were also one of the league’s stingiest team allowing just 193 goals. Braden Holtby was a big reason for the Caps success with an incredible 48-9-7 record with a 2.20 GAA with a .922 save percentage.
CALDER TROPHY (Rookie of the Year)
The best rookie down the road is likely Connor McDavid, who averaged 1.07 points per game, but a shoulder injury cost the top overall pick 42 games opening the door for someone else to win the Calder. Walking through the door was Artemi Panarin who in his first NHL season finished ninth overall in scoring with 77 points, best among all rookies. Panarin also ranked second on the Blackhawks goals, assists and points. During Patrick Kane’s 26-game point scoring streak, Panarin excelled with seven goals and 17 assist, providing perfect complement to Chicago’s star forward.
NORRIS TROPHY (Best Defenseman)
San Jose Sharks
After a terrible 2015 season, the Sharks had a nice bounce back season to reach the playoffs. A key to their success was defense and goaltending. Leading the efforts on both sides was Brent Burns the Chewbacca lookalike who became a fan favorite in Northern California. Burns ranked second among defensemen in scoring and 11th overall with 75 points, ranking second on his own team in goals with 27, while being the best scoring defenseman in the second half. On the other side of the blue line Brent Burns is one of the leagues toughest players, with his physical play and bone jarring hits.
HART TROPHY (NHL MVP)
After starting the season under the cloud of suspicion, Patrick Kane was cleared of any wrong doing and had the best season of a stellar career, becoming the first American born player to win th Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer. Kane’s season was highlighted by a 26-game point scoring streak as he was the only player to reach 100 points with 106 which was 17 more than Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. The 106 points, along with 46 goals and 40 assists were all career highs for Patrick Kane who should be the first American born MVP in the NHL since Billy Burch in 1925.