NHLN Awards Race: Vezina Trophy

Cam Lewis
March 21 2016 09:00AM

On paper, this seems like a really easy trophy to hand out. Braden Holtby is challenging the league’s single-season win record, and as a result, he should certainly be running away with the award. While it’s true that he probably will, because those who vote for these awards tend to overvalue basic and meaningless statistics like wins, there are goalies in the league who have had much, much more impressive seasons than Holtby has. 

The Vezina Trophy is meant to be awarded to the goaltender who is adjudged to be the best at the position. With that considered, we need to break down how each goalie fares based on what their team gives them to truly determine who the best goalie in the league is. Last year, Carey Price was magnificent not only because he had a lot of wins and an excellent save percentage, but because the Canadiens didn’t make his life very easy. This year, while the results may be surprising, there are a few goalies who are being overlooked who have been absolutely fantastic despite their teams allowing them to be peppered with high danger chances all the time.

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NHLN Awards Race: Calder Trophy

Cam Lewis
March 18 2016 11:49AM

The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey league. After a draft featuring two phonemes last spring, it was expected that this was going to be a two horse race between Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel for rookie of the year. With McDavid missing significant time thanks to injury and the rise of a couple of unexpected late bloomers, the safe bets are pretty much out the window. 

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NHLN Awards Race: Hart Trophy

Cam Lewis
March 13 2016 09:27AM

Hart

The Hart Trophy, or the NHL's Most Valuable Player, is awarded to the player who is judged most valuable to his team. Now, this wording creates a bit of a misunderstanding. Does this mean that it should go to whatever player would have the most significant impact if they were removed from their team and swapped with a replacement-level player? Or is it simply the best player in the league in any given year? Well, it can't just be that, because it's against the rules to award it to a player on a team that doesn't make the playoffs. So is it looking at who's the best player on the best team in the league? 

To me, it's the first one. Which player is irreplaceable? Who would have the most detrimental negative impact if they were removed from a team, and in contrast, who could have the biggest positive impact on a bad team if they were added to the roster? Of course, the people who vote in these things don't tend to see it that way, and the Hart is usually just awarded to the best player in the league that year. 

Anyways, based on what's happened through the first three-quarters of the season, here are my picks for the NHL's Most Valuable Player. 

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Top to Bottom: Checking in with each team after the Trade Deadline

Cam Lewis
March 09 2016 09:00AM

With the trade deadline passing, we're officially into the final stretch of the season. By now, we can pretty much tell how the playoff picture is going to shape out, save for some shuffling among seeds, and a couple of battles for final Wild Card spots. Even though a good chunk of the teams in the NHL have no hope left for the 2015-16 season, there's still something to look forward to. In this month's check-in, I'm going to look at what each team did over deadline week and whether or not if fulfilled their individual goal of buying to actively improve their chances at winning right now or selling to improve their position in the future. 

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The Good and Bad of Trade Deadline Week 2016: Atlantic Division

Cam Lewis
March 05 2016 05:00PM

Well, that was a really boring trade deadline. I guess we can't be too surprised, as the salary cap has pretty much eliminated the possibility of legitimate, blockbuster hockey trades, essentially turning deadline day into a barren wasteland yard sale for slightly above average rental players to be sold off for mid-round draft picks. So in order to make this somewhat interesting, I figured I would take a look at the good and the bad of what we should now be referring to as 'deadline week,' as a good chunk of the major moves came days before TSN and Sportsnet put on their annual feature where they tried really hard to convince us that a flood of exciting deals always come in the afternoon.  

The Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers were the only two active buyers over deadline week in the Atlantic Division. Both of them dealt a handful of mid-round draft picks for rental players to increase their fly-by-night chances of going on a big run in a pretty wide open Eastern Conference. Aside from them, everybody else tried to sell or stood completely still. The Lightning didn't budge on Jonathan Drouin's trade request, so good on them, and the Senators and Sabres shocked fans of the AHL with a blockbuster seven-player deal. The Canadiens have officially waved the white flag, and the Leafs did exactly what we all expected, selling off on whoever they could in order to improve their chances at getting a high pick at this summer's draft. Let's get into it. 

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