The Toronto Maple Leafs have been attempting to rebuild the right way under the Brendan Shanahan/Lou Lamoriello/Mike Babcock regime and in winning Saturday night’s draft lottery, the most important piece has become available to them.
Anze Kopitar was nominated for his second 2016 NHL award on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Kings center was named one of the three finalists for the league’s Lady Byng Trophy, given to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Kopitar is also up for the Selke Trophy for the top defensive forward.
Joining Kopitar among the final three are Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and Boston Bruins left winger Loui Eriksson.
Erik Karlsson has a chance to win his second straight Norris Trophy and third since 2012, but a couple defensemen seeking their first prize stand in his way.
The Ottawa Senators captain was named a nominee for the league’s top blueliner award on Friday, joining Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty and Pacific Division rival Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks.
That Karlsson is yet again up for the award given to “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position” comes as little surprise.
Boston’s Patrice Bergeron will have a shot at the Selke Trophy three-peat — and his fourth nod as the league’s best defensive forward — but Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar and Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler will stand in his way.
The NHL announced the Selke finalists Thursday night with Bergeron, Kopitar and Kesler as the top three vote-getters for the award given to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” Both Bergeron and Kesler have won the award before, but Kopitar, who has been a finalist in each of the past two seasons, has never taken home the hardware.
Unlike other awards that can be judged off of pure statistics, the voting for Selke can be a lot more vague. Really, each of the three have good cases for the award. Read more
Unlike a year ago when Montreal’s Carey Price was the no-doubt-about-it winner of the Vezina Trophy, the 2015-16 season had no sure thing.
Three weeks ago, THN made the case for the 10 goalies who were deserving of votes. On Wednesday, the NHL unveiled the three finalists for the award given to “the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position.” They are Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, Washington’s Braden Holtby, and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick.
The Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings were the first clubs eliminated from the opening round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. Their early exits have given rise to considerable speculation about their off-season plans.
Having rebounded from missing the 2015 post-season, the Kings entered this year’s playoffs considered among the Cup favorites. Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times cites a lack of blueline depth for why they fell in five games to the San Jose Sharks. It’s an issue she believes GM Dean Lombardi will have difficulty addressing this summer.
A lack of salary-cap space will hamper Lombardi’s effort to bolster his defense. The Kings currently have over $65.9 million invested in 20 players for 2016-17, though center Vincent Lecavalier’s anticipated retirement should free up an additional $2.25 million.
Vincent Lecavalier said when he was traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles that the 2015-16 campaign would be his final season and he would retire no matter the outcome of the Kings’ season.
But that was before Lecavalier, 36, potted 10 goals and 17 points in 42 games in Los Angeles and looked like he still had something left in the tank. After being scratched more often than not as a Flyer over the early portion of the season, Lecavalier looked like he could still be an effective veteran, even if his best years were far behind him. However, Lecavalier appears to be a man of his word.
In an exit interview Sunday, though, Lecavalier confirmed that his plans haven’t changed and that 2015-16 was indeed his final season in the NHL. That will put an end to his 17-season career. Read more
It may be time to re-write the old narrative about the San Jose Sharks. For the last decade the Sharks have been known as a good-to-very-good regular season team that can’t get it done in the playoffs.
It’s only one round, but the Sharks got it done on Friday night. The Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 on Friday to, surprisingly, win their first-round series in five games.
The last time the Sharks were in the playoffs was in the 2013-14 season when these very same Kings staged an epic comeback from 3-0 down to beat the Sharks in seven games en route to winning the Stanley Cup.