Jets’ Ladd, Ducks’ Getzlaf, Hawks’ Toews this year’s finalists for Mark Messier Leadership Award

Andrew Ladd (Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Winnipeg Jets winger Andrew Ladd, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf and Chicago Blackhawks superstar Jonathan Toews are the finalists for this season’s Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, the league announced Monday.

All three finalists are captains for their respective teams, and one of the three will win their first Messier Leadership Award, which since the 2006-07 campaign recognizes one individual “who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season”. Read more

Bill Masterton Trophy finalists: Wild’s Devan Dubnyk, Penguins’ Kris Letang and Senators’ Andrew Hammond

Kris Letang (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced Thursday the three finalists for this season’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player best exemplifying “the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey”: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, and Ottawa Senators netminder Andrew Hammond. Read more

Habs’ Carey Price, Isles’ John Tavares and Caps’ Alex Ovechkin named finalists for Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

John Tavares (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

The NHL announced Wednesday this year’s finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player: Montreal Canadiens goaltending dynamo Carey Price, New York Islanders captain John Tavares, and Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. And although it could be a closer race than many believe, the sense among more than a few media members is that the award is likely to go to Price. Read more

Your 2014-15 Norris Trophy finalists: P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson

Drew Doughty (Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced its three finalists in Norris Trophy voting this season – Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty – and the fact none of the three were finalists in 2013-14 says something about the calibre of defenseman currently working in hockey’s top league. Read more

Why this year’s NHL’s individual awards voting was the toughest ever

Filip Forsberg (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

As a member of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association, I have the honor of casting a ballot for five of the NHL’s annual individual player awards (the Hart, Norris, Calder, Byng and Selke Trophies) as well as the league’s first-and-second-team All-Stars and Rookie Team. It’s something I never take lightly, and as such I canvass opinions on who I should vote for from as many NHL people – coaches, GMs, scouts, and players – before I submit my ballot. There’s usually not much consensus in any of the voting categories, but this year there was one thing everyone could agree on: the field of legitimate candidates for each award was so vast this year, voters are guaranteed to anger fan bases no matter which person they decide to support. Read more

This year’s Selke Trophy finalists identical to last year’s: Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron and Anze Kopitar

Patrice Bergeron (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

For the second consecutive season, the finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward are the same three NHL star centers: Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and L.A.’s Anze Kopitar. And the latter is looking to win his first this time around. Read more

Here’s why Shea Weber deserves the Norris Trophy this season

Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Last season, the No. 1 spot on the Norris Trophy ballot I had the privilege of submitting belonged to Boston’s Zdeno Chara. But at the end of the breakdown of my vote for the Norris, I said “One of these years, though, Weber has to be the recipient”.

This is the year it ought to happen. And as it stands, I’m giving my first-place Norris vote this season to Predators captain Shea Weber. There are good cases to be made for more than a few blueliners (including Chicago’s Duncan Keith, L.A.’s Drew Doughty, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson), but it’s about time the hockey world acknowledged Weber’s unique skill set.

Weber certainly isn’t having a career year on offense (that came last season with his 23-goal, 56-point campaign), but he’s in the top 10 among NHL defensemen in scoring in 2014-15 with 15 goals and 45 points. With an average ice time of 26:24, he’s nearly three full minutes behind Doughty (29:17) and slightly behind Preds defensive partner Roman Josi (26:28). But if you’re basing your vote strictly based on points or time on ice leaders, you’re voting wrong. The Norris goes to the blueliner deemed to have displayed the greatest all-around ability, not the one who makes the most highlight reels. And Weber’s multitude of abilities make him capable of hurting you physically, in any zone, and have a direct effect on the scoreboard at both ends of the playing surface. Read more