As the NHL season comes to a close, we are going to vote on the NHL Awards, and four of us will pick one candidate each to “campaign” for. At the bottom, you will see balloting and the final results.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins by Joey
Throughout October and November, Marc-Andre Fleury was Public Enemy Number 1 to the local fans and a butt to jokes at the water cooler around NHL fans at work. Then one crisp November evening, Fleury won a game, it was a shutout, it was at home and he had the fans backing him once again. Since that point Fleury was himself again. But what makes him Hart worthy is his play after the Penguins lost Crosby and Malkin after the turn of the New Year. While statistically, Fleury may not be a standout choice, this award is for the player deemed most indispensible to his team. As solid of a defensive pairing as the free agent tandem of Zybnek Michalek and Paul Martin were in junction with the coaching of Dan Bylsma to keep the Penguins ship pointed in the right direction, this season collapses to potentially out of the playoffs without Marc-Andre Fleury’s play. It’s only proper to go beyond numbers, and recognize the true MVP this season.
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks by Realdeal
Perry emerged in 2010-11 as a superstar. The Ducks forward was the only NHLer to notch 50 goals this season, securing the Rocket Richard trophy for most goals. But his play down the stretch where he carried the Ducks from 11th to 4th propelled him into the Hart debate. Perry scored 19 goals in his final 14 games, helping his team to a 10-4 record during that time. He tied for first in game winning goals with 11, and tied for first with 18 special teams goals (14 PPG, 4 SHG; tied for 5th in both individual categories). Despite his borderline play (104 PIM), Perry is the choice this year.
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks by Gabbi
The real league MVP is one half of the league’s most dynamic duo; Daniel Sedin of Sedin Twins & Co. This season, Daniel lead the league in points (104), was fourth in goals, and third in assists (his brother Henrik had the most assists). His 18 power play goals were also tops in the league, and his game winners third most. The only thing Sedin was not tops in the league of was penalty minutes and shooting percentage. All in all, the top five man should be number one this year in the Hart Trophy voting.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks by Cujo
When you vote for Hart, consider voting for Jonathan Toews, the other guys are all impressive, but they do not come close to what Toews has done for Chicago. The Blackhawks captain led his team in points (2nd in goals, assists, powerplay goals, +/-, and shots on goal), and also led the team in game winning goals. In the regular season when Chicago struggled, Toews kept going strong, when he wasn’t scoring, he was setting up goals. Especially in the month of February during a important playoff point race, he scored 3 game winning goals against conference foes Minnesota, St.Louis, and Columbus.
Daniel Sedin 23 (6-2-1)
Corey Perry 11 (1-4-0)
Jonathan Toews 5 (1-1-0)
Tim Thomas 5 (1-1-0)
Martin St. Louis 4 (0-1-2)
Pekka Rinne 2 (0-0-2)
Marc-Andre Fleury 1 (0-0-1)
Henrik Lundqvist 1 (0-0-1)
Henrik Sedin 1 (0-0-1)
Steven Stamkos 1 (0-0-1)
votes cast by the Bos, Cbj, NJ, NYR, Phi, Pit, SJ chapters of the CSHWA