The 2021 NHL award finalists have been announced. One of the most exciting nights in hockey, outside of the games, is right around the corner and the nominees are out. From the Vezina Trophy to the Hart Trophy and everything in-between will be announced in July. The question now is who will take home the hardware on award night? Now is time to dive into the 2021 NHL Award Finalists.
The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the goaltender judge to be the best at his position, as voted on by all 31 general managers. The 2020 Vezina winner was Connor Hellebuyck, who respectfully is not a 2021 award finalist. The three Vezina finalists are Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Of the three finalists, Vasilevskiy is the only one who has won a Vezina previously. This will be Vasilevskiy’s fourth consecutive season as a finalist, while it is Fleury and Grubauer’s first time as a finalist. During 2021 all three goaltenders complied great seasons, respectfully, but only one can take home the hardware.
Vasilevskiy started 42 games, posting a career-high 2.21 goals against average, as well as a career-high .925 save percentage. He finished the season with 31 wins and added five shutouts to cap off his phenomenal 2021 season.
Much like Vasilevskiy, Fleury had a career a year. Posting a career-high 1.98 goals-against average as well as a .928 save percentage, with 26 wins and six shutouts in 36 games. Fleury has found himself as a well-deserved Vezina finalist in 2021.
Not only did Grubauer help lead the Avalanche to the President Trophy, but he also put up unreal numbers in the process. Grubauer posted a 1.96 goals-against average to go with his .922 save percentage in 39 games started. He won 30 of 39 starts with seven shutouts to go with them.
All three goaltenders played their hearts out in 2021 and are well deserving of being NHL award finalists. Of all three nominees who do you believe should win the 2021 Vezina Trophy?
Prediction: Philipp Grubauer
Ted Lindsay Award
The Ted Lindsay Award, formally known as the Lester B. Pearson Award is given out annually to the most outstanding player as voted on by fellow members of the NHLPA. Last year Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl won, but like the Vezina, there will not be a back-to-back recipient this season. Although there could be a familiar face taking home the award.
The finalists for the 2021 Ted Lindsay Award are all great players, but unfortunately, there can only be one winner. Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Mathews has been named a finalist, but he has some tough competition in the form of three-time winner Sidney Crosby and two-time winner Connor McDavid. Of the three finalists who has the best shot to take home the Ted Lindsay Award?
Matthews’ season was nothing less than extraordinary. He scored 41 goals in 52 games, 10 of which on the powerplay. His ability to score in 2021 led him to win the Maurice Richard Trophy. He would add 25 assists bringing his season points total to 66 points on the year. How does Mathews stack up to his competitors though?
In his aged 33 Crosby season, Crosby put 62 in 66 games, which helped lead the Penguins to a first-place finish in the East Division. His numbers may not play pop off the page like Matthews but he continued to be an elite player in an elite East division. Crosby may not be the front runner, but he very well is a dark horse to win the Ted Lindsay Award.
In his fifth season, Connor McDavid once again blew hockey fans’ minds, scoring 105 points in just 56 games. His 105 points were well above everyone else and netted him his third Art Ross Trophy for being the NHL’s top point scorer. McDavid was nothing short of amazing this season and he seems to get better as time goes on.
Ted Lindsay Award Prediction: Connor McDavid
Calder Memorial Trophy
The Calder Memorial Trophy is award annually to the NHL’s top rookie. and these NHL award finalists all had great starts to their NHL careers. If history has taught us anything, most of the time the Calder finalists go on to have great careers. Fans around the league are lucky to have seen the three finalists play their hearts out this year. Let’s look at these NHL award finalists.
The first finalist from the Dallas Stars, winger Jason Roberts was almost a point per game player. He notched 17 goals and added 28 assists, totaling 45 points in 51 games. He also finished the season with a plus 13. Proving he can be a fixture within Dallas for years to come.
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was no slouch himself. The Canes netminder started 23 games and posted a 1.90 goals-against average, with a .932 save percentage. Look for Nedeljkovic to be in the Vezina conversation at some point during his career.
Then there is the new Russian Superstar hiding away in Minnesota. The Wild’s future star Kirill Kaprizov took the league by storm when he made the jump from the KHL to the NHL. Kaprisov netted 27 goals and 24 assists for a total of 51 points, in 55 games. He had stretches through the season that made him look like a seasoned veteran.
Prediction: Kirill Kaprizov
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the play with the most sportsmanship as well as maintaining a high level of play. This award will have a first-time winner.
Last season’s runner-up Auston Matthews has once again been named a finalist. Matthews played in a total of 52 games while totaling only 10 penalty minutes. None of which were majors.
Last season’s fourth-place finisher for the Lady Byng has now found himself as a finalist. Jaccob Slavin played in 52 games this season while averaging just shy of 23 minutes of ice time per game. In his almost 1200 minutes on the ice, he only acclimated one minor penalty, and we are sure he feels bad about it.
The third finalist is another well-known NHL nice guy. Defenceman out of Minnesota Jared Spurgeon has finally found himself as a Lady Byng finalist. Playing in 54 games and racking up an astonishing six penalty minutes, well playing a big role on the Wild’s back end. He may have been sportsmanlike enough to find himself as one of the NHL award finalists, but is it enough to win?
Prediction: “Mr. Nice Guy” Jaccob Slavin
Frank J. Selke Trophy
The Frank J. Selke is awarded annually to the forward that best exhibits their skills on defense. This year could very well be a Selke history year with one of the NHL award finalists looking to take home his fifth career Selke award.
Many hockey minds believe Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov should have at least been a finalist back in 2018, which he was not but he is now. Barkov totaled 37 blocked shots and 38 takeaways in 50 games with the Panthers in 2021.
Three-time Selke runner-up Mark Stone has once again found himself as a finalist. The Golden Knights’ captain is a menace on both ends of the ice and in 2021 he showed that again. Blocking 33 shots while tailing 58 takeaways in 55 games. Being one of the regular NHL award finalists can Stone finally bring home the hardware?
A regular in the Selke conversation and possibly the record holder for the Selke, Patrice Bergeron finds himself as one of the NHL award finalists once again. With already holding four Selke awards to his name, tied with Bob Gainey for most all-time he looks for his record-breaking fifth Selke. Can his 36 blocked shots and 35 takeaways help propel the future Hall of Fame center into the history books? We will find out in July.
Prediction: Mark Stone
James Norris Memorial Trophy
The James Norris Memorial Trophy is award annually to the defensemen that best exemplifies his all-around play. These NHL award finalists include two young future NHL stars.
New York Rangers’ second-year defenseman Adam Fox had an electric season. He totaled five goals and 42 assists for a total of 47 points in 50 games. Not only did he finish fifth on the team in points he was one of the Rangers’ few bright spots. He finished one point behind Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie for the league lead in defense points.
Last year’s Calder winner Cale Makar has found himself as a first-time finalist for the Norris and it will not be his last. Makar totaled 44 points in 44 games, eight of which being goals. Makar who plays on a stellar Avalanche team found himself play a big role in the Presidents Trophy season.
The third finalist has been a regular in the Norris conversation and it will likely stay that way for the next few years. Victor Headman of the lighting is widely regarded as the best all-around defenseman in the NHL. He finished third amongst defensemen in points this year with 45. But will his 45 points be enough for him to bring home his second career Norris?
Prediction: Adam Fox
Hart Memorial Trophy
The Hart Memorial Trophy is award annually to the play judged to most valuable to his team. Similar to the Ted Lindsay Award. These NHL awards finalists are almost the same, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are finalists but Sidney Crosby is not.
The other finalist is Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche center tailed 65 points in 48 games while helping lead them to the President’s Trophy. Of MacKinnon’s 65 points 20 were goals and 45 being assists. Although Mackinnon had a great year deserving to be Hart finalist is it enough to beat out McDavid?
Prediction: Connor McDavid
Jack Adams Award
The Jack Adams Award is given out annually to the NHL’s top coach. Last season Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy took home the Jack Adams Award. This year he is not one of the NHL award Finalists. The Finalists this year are Rob Brind’Amour of the Hurricanes, Dean Evason of the Wild, Joel Quenneville of the Panthers. Which coach will win the Jack Adams Award?
Prediction: Rob Brind’Amour
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