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How I voted for each NHL award

Daniel Sedin, the league's leading point-scorer, was the MVP of the NHL according to Adam. (Getty Images)

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Daniel Sedin, the league's leading point-scorer, was the MVP of the NHL according to Adam. (Getty Images)

Being able to vote on the NHL Awards is a privilege I don’t take lightly. Along with the other members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association who cast a ballot, I carefully consider a number of factors before emailing in my choices and can justify all of them.

Of course, they may not be justifiable to you, but I think ’70s guitarist Dave Mason said/sang it best when he said/sang, “there ain’t no good guys, there ain’t no bad guys, there’s only you and me and we just disagree.
Ooo-ooo-ooohoo-oh-oh-o-whoa.”

Here’s how I voted:

HART TROPHY
This is an award I think needs to be redefined by the NHL as the most outstanding player. But I need a whole column to adequately explain why, so pick up the May 2 edition of the magazine to find out.

For now, at least, the Hart goes “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.” While a good case can be made for Anaheim’s Corey Perry thanks to his spectacular second half of the season performance, I voted for Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin because he played at almost the same level the entire year.

1. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
2. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
3. Martin St-Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
5. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

NORRIS TROPHY
The award presented to the league’s best all-round defenseman should go to the greatest blueliner of his generation: the 40-year-old Nicklas Lidstrom, who already has six Norris Trophies in his cabinet.

Now, you can talk about slight slippage in Lidstrom’s game and point out that he was a minus player (minus-2) for the first time in his career. I don’t care. If you asked all NHL coaches which D-man they’d put out on the ice at any time in a crucial game, the grand majority would reply with Lidstrom’s name. And on the offensive end, he finished the year with 62 points - his best total since 2007-08. Sorry, Shea Weber, but the professor isn’t leaning on his tenure enough for me to give you the Norris. Yet.

1. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
2. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
3. Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
4. Lubomir Visnovsky, Anaheim Ducks
5. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

CALDER TROPHY
This is another trophy that needs changes - in this case, to the rules on what qualifies (or disqualifies) a player from contention as the NHL’s best “first-year” player. As it stands, I thought San Jose’s Logan Couture had the better all-round year than superb young Hurricanes sniper Jeff Skinner.

1. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
2. Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
3. Michael Grabner, New York Islanders
4. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
5. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues

LADY BYNG TROPHY
Players may be too cool for school to revel in the idea behind this award, but I think it does say something positive about the character of a player just to be mentioned in this group. Incredibly, Lidstrom hasn’t won it yet and should this year.

1. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
2. Martin St-Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Loui Eriksson, Dallas Stars
4. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
5. Brad Richards, Dallas Stars

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SELKE TROPHY
The award for best defensive forward could have gone to Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler last season, but he lost to Detroit’s two-way menace (and three-time reigning Selke champ) Pavel Datsyuk. Kesler’s game has improved beyond that level this year, to the point he’ll deservedly get some consideration (even if minor) for the Hart. Side note: Datsyuk and Manny Malhotra would’ve been rated higher had injuries not sidelined them for extended stretches.

1. Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
2. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
3. Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders
4. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
5. Manny Malhotra, Vancouver Canucks

NHL All-Star Team

Most of these are fairly self-evident, so I won’t go into detail.

CENTER
1. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
2. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
3. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

RIGHT WING
1. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
2. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames

LEFT WING
1. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
3. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

DEFENSE
1. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
2. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
3. Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
4. Lubomir Visnovsky, Anaheim Ducks
5. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
6. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

GOALTENDER
1. Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
3. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes.

NHL All-Rookie Team

FORWARD
1. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
2. Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
3. Michael Grabner, New York Islanders

DEFENSE
1. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
2. John Carlson, Washington Capitals

GOALTENDER
1. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

 

Follow Adam's hockey tweets at twitter.com/TheHockeyNews, and his non-hockey observations at twitter.com/ProteauType.

Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. Power Rankings appear Mondays, his blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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