Expect big things from Anze Kopitar in L.A. next season. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
The NHL handed out its hardware last week to some mighty deserving individuals. But not everybody who enjoyed a great season was honored. Here are some who were missed:
Best coaching job by a first-round casualty Award: Barry Trotz, Nashville. Not only did Trotz lose five of his team’s best players in a garage sale, little Steve Sullivan missed the year with a sore back. Still, Trotz guided the Predators to the playoffs in the tough Western Conference.
Best scorer on the Titanic Award: Brad Boyes, St. Louis. Scored 43 goals after managing 43 in his first two seasons combined. The question is, can he do it again?
Green Jacket Award: Radek Bonk, Nashville. Finished minus-31 on a team that prides itself on playing good defense. Bonk had 10 goals in his first 24 games and finished the season with 14 in 79.
You’ll know him next year Award: Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles. Sophomore quietly finished 23rd in NHL scoring with 32 goals and 77 points in 82 games. If the Kings can get some goaltending, this kid will put them on the NHL map.
Time for a change Award: Gilbert Brule, Columbus. Junior scoring star has just 12 goals in 146 NHL games. Maybe another team can coax the talent out of this guy.
Better buy earplugs Award: Dion Phaneuf, Calgary. Now that he’s dating Sean Avery’s former girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert, you can bet he’s going to face some serious razzing from the bench next season.
49 is good Award: Sam Gagner, Edmonton. Oilers’ teenage rookie made an immediate impact with 49 points in 79 games.
49 is bad Award: Mike Comrie, Islanders. His 49 points was the lowest of any team’s leading scorer.
Flip-flop Award: Andrew Raycroft, Toronto. Slipped from 37 wins to just two and is pretty much on his way out the door.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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