Now that the year has ended, the decision can finally be made for who had the best year in each position. While the year ended on a sour note, with the majority of the NHL being put on standstill, there are some players who put themselves above the rest in terms of playing ability and performances last year. We shortlisted some of these players earlier, and now, here are our picks for the NHL’s Team of the Year for 2021.
Centre: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers, 157 points in 2021
Awards: Hart Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, Art Ross Trophy
Perhaps the most obvious selection in this list, McDavid had a stellar year last year, picking up multiple trophies and proving why he deserves to have the title of one of the best players in the NHL currently. Between his points creation, his fantastic plays, the number of awards he earned, and his leadership ability his team obviously can count on this player for a lot of big-time game situations.
Overall, the player was a shoe win for the title of center in the team of the year, and he can be expected to return to this list for the next year if he maintains his performances at the level he had before. He has made some absolutely dirty plays to put the puck in the back of the net, and that has made him a household name, as well as a good example for children, as he shows exemplary sportsmanship.
Left Wing: Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers, 99 points in 2021
Huberdeau has put up some masterful performances, which sees him leading the pack in points in 2021 for left-wingers. He plays an important role among his teammates, and many view this player as a leader among the team. He is not a selfish player, as can be seen from his point record, as 68 of his points in the year came from assists. Not just a product of the first line, Huberdeau has moved up and down the lineup, as well as helping the Panthers to deal with multiple injury crises which saw him move around the lines a fair bit.
Currently, Huberdeau is one of the best in the business on the left-wing, and he never lets his gameplay abilities slide, as he continually works at both the offensive and defensive sides of the ice in order to keep his team in front, and not allow any chances to get past him without competition. So far, the player has even played a stellar game in 2022, as he has put up four points in two games, as such we expect him to keep playing a fantastic game throughout the season.
Right Wing: Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche, 96 points in 2021
Rantanen has been a stellar player in 2021 and largely made a case to separate himself from franchise center Nathan MacKinnon, in order to prove that he himself is what makes his line great, and not strictly MacKinnon. In terms of production, this player is a true sniper, with the most goals amongst right-wingers on the year at 44 goals potted in for himself. The player seems to be fairly good all-around as a forward, as he has been able to pot in goals for himself and set up passing assists for his teammates, which put him at a fairly level record of 44 goals and 52 assists. He can clearly be seen as a leader among his teammates and would have been a sure-fire selection for his Olympic team if the NHL was sending players to the Olympics this year.
Left Defence: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, +13 +/- in 2021
Hedman is an obvious choice for this slot, with the most points produced as a left defenseman, and one of the highest +/- ratings among the left shooting defenseman. The player has really come into his own with the Lightning, and so far has yet to let his team down, helping to lead them to two Stanley Cups in a row, which is not an easy feat in the current league. He puts in a large number of top performances with his team and has proven the fact that he is a valuable player in the league. If his performances continue to be this strong, then he could really be in a position for the first three-peat in the NHL since 1983.
Right Defence: Adam Fox, New York Rangers, +25 +/- in 2021
Awards: James Norris Trophy
Adam Fox has shocked many since his entrance to the league in 2019 and has quickly made the Carolina Hurricanes regret trading him away, as he has continually been one of the best young defensemen in the league. Overall, the player is able to push play up the ice and put the puck back in the net, as is evident by his +/- rating of +25, and his 78 points in 2021. Overall, this player is one who could be wanted by any team in the league and has been the best among the right shooting defensemen in the NHL this past year, as well as one of the best in general given his winning of the James Norris Trophy.
Goalie: Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs, .931 Save Percentage in 2021
If there was an award for the most humble player in the NHL, Jack Campbell would be on top of the list of candidates to win it. He has one of the highest save percentages among goalies in 2021 and has helped his team get across to many different wins. In the current season, many people are considering Campbell as a candidate for the Vezina Trophy, as well as being possibly one of the best goalies in the league. The player is currently in consideration for a captaincy position in the NHL All-Star Game, which is unsurprising, as he helps to elevate the morale of those around him, and could make a solid leader to any team he plays on. Overall, Campbell earned his spot in this lineup, even though the competition for the position is extremely fierce.
Coach: Rod Brind’Amour, Carolina Hurricanes, 57 Wins in 2021
Awards: Jack Adams Award
Brind’Amour has completely transformed the Hurricanes organization since his arrival. The team has been making use of veteran talent, while also incorporating the youth players that are deemed as being ready to push into the main team. The youth system of the Hurricanes is considered to be one of the best in the league, team morale is high, and even when controversial decisions are made by the GM, the coach has been able to quell the storm and combine his players in a fashion that sees his team pull through a lot of victories, a huge reason why they lead the league in wins this season even with some of the fewest games played.
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