As the NHL starts winding down the awards for the regular season were announced on June 29th. There were some unanimous choices and some tightly contested races for certain awards. Lots of the superstars in the league took home the awards but there were also some up-and-coming stars that were able to take home some hardware.
Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsey Award: Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid is the recipient of two big awards this season. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league MVP and the Ted Lindsey. You may be asking what the difference is between the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsey Award is. The only difference between the awards is who is voting on the awards. The Ted Lindsey award is voted on by the NHL players themselves while Hart Memorial Trophy is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
McDavid was recognized with these two prestigious awards after a fantastic campaign for the Edmonton Oilers. In 56 games played the Oilers captain compiled a league-high 105 points. 33 of the 105 points were goals with the other 75 points being assists. His contributions helped lead the Oilers to be a top-four seed in the NHL Playoffs for the Canadian division. As the best player in the league and the world, McDavid will attempt to continue his strong play into the 2022 NHL season and beyond.
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Adam Fox
The James Norris Memorial Trophy is giving to the defenseman who is deemed the best in the league for a particular season. This season the honor went to New York Rangers defensemen, Adam Fox. Only in his second season, the 22-year-old defensemen is quickly becoming one of the best all-around defenders and players in the entire league. Not only is he a shutdown defenseman but he separated himself from his competition by being an elite point-producing defenseman.
This season Fox played 55 games for the Blueshirts and had 47 points. He scored five goals and had 42 helpers. He also had a plus 19 rating for +/-. Some may say that +/- is a flawed stat but it still paints a picture of just how good Adam Fox was this season. When he was on the ice the opponents did not score as much as the Rangers did. As Fox continues to improve and impress hockey fans the rebuilding Rangers will only get better and better to eventually become serious contenders for the Stanley Cup.
Calder Memorial Trophy: Kirill Kaprizov
The Minnesota Wild found an absolute gem in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the name of Kirill Kaprizov. The Russian sensation was named the winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie in the league. After coming over from Russia for the 2021 season Kaprizov was amazing. At 5’9” Kaprizov is undersized but he uses his smaller frame to his advantage. He has elite skating and scoring ability and uses these assets to get past defenders and snipe shots past opposing goaltenders.
This he compiled a stat line of 27 goals and 24 assists for 51 points in 55 games. One of his goals included this sweet finish to give the Wild an overtime victory.
Kaprizov earned 99 out of a possible 100 first-place votes for the Calder Memorial Trophy. Next season if he returns to the Minnesota Wild he will try to prove that one doubter wrong and have a fantastic personal season to go along with a successful season for his team.
Vezina Trophy: Marc-Andre Fleury
The final award given out on June 29th is the Vezina Trophy. The Vezina Trophy is given out annually to the goaltender who is the best in the NHL. This year’s recipient was Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights. In his very successful 17 year career, Fleury or “Flower” had never won the Vezina Trophy before. This season started with a bit of controversy as Fleury’s agent posted this cryptic tweet after his anger seemed to boil over with coach Peter Deboer.
Never the less the drama surrounding that tweet seemed to fuel Fleury as he played his way to an incredible stat line. “Flower” finished the 2021 campaign with a marvelous 1.98 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. These stats are well above the league average which helped Fleury have a fantastic personal season and lead his team to the playoffs.
Final Thoughts on the 2021 NHL Awards
Each player that earned one of the awards definitely deserved it and worked hard to be the best player they possibly could all season. After tasting that bit of personal success but unable to capture the real award that all players strive for I’m sure each and every player mentioned in this article will be training in the offseason to come back and give an effort to win the Stanley Cup in 2022.
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