My NHL awards ballot
|04.16.14 at 10:30 pm ET|
In the interest of transparency, following is my ballot for the 2013-14 NHL awards.
Before I jump into it, I will freely admit that the votes that you see here are the ones I had in the final hours before they were due Wednesday at 7 p.m. and I changed my mind on some of them several times leading up to the deadline.
I also didn’t arrive at my votes totally by myself – nobody does – but through discussions with other writers. In particular, I discussed the various awards with two non-voters in WEEI.com’s Scott McLaughlin — one of the premier advanced stats nerds and a major help to geezers like me who see a place in the world for some of the crazy numbers out there but can’t always understand them — and the MetroWest Daily News’ Dan Cagen. The Pro Hockey Writers’ Association cut the number of voters this season down to 150, with Cagen being Exhibit A of the baby being thrown out with the bath water.
At the end of the day, any votes here you don’t like are still my fault. Also, the PHWA doesn’t vote for the Vezina Trophy or the Jack Adams, as those are determined by NHL general managers and broadcasters, respectively.
[Also, in the interest of transparency, I will admit that the first explanation I wrote was for Hart and was way too long. Given that I had other work to get to, I decided to only write out explanations for the heavy hitters (Hart, Norris and Selke). If you have any questions about any of the votes, you can find me on Twitter @DJ_Bean.]
(“To the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”)
The Penguins led the NHL in man games lost due to injury with 429. While that was happening, Sidney Crosby was doing everything, and he finished with an NHL-best 104 points en route to leading the Penguins to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Points-wise, it wasn’t even close, as nobody else had 100, or even 90. Getzlaf was second with 87. Plus, it wasn’t like achieved his numbers by being surrounded by Pittsburgh’s star forwards. His third most-common linemate was Lee Stempniak.
Bergeron was a real toughie, because I believe in the eye test over stats when appropriate. I gave Jonathan Quick a Hart vote the year they won the Cup for that reason even though other players had better numbers. Yet when determining a middle-of-the pack Hart candidate who didn’t have the traditional numbers, it’s difficult to figure out where they fall. For example, I had him ahead of Seguin despite not having similar numbers, so why wouldn’t I have him ahead of Getzlaf?
At the end of the day, Getzlaf edged out Bergeron in the consistency department. Bergeron was steadier there defensively, as he was only a minus player in 14 games (sorry for using plus-minus to prove a point) with only one minus-2 game, while Getzlaf had 22 minus-performances with four games of minus-2 or worse.
Getzlaf however, produced far more consistently than Bergeron. People forget that Bergeron had a slow start to the season, as he was coming off injuries and his most productive linemate in Brad Marchand really struggled early. When all was said and done, Bergeron had 35 games without a point, while Getzlaf, who played in three less games than Bergeron, only had 22 performances in which he didn’t pick up points.
Bergeron definitely deserved a vote, however, as he was terrific down the stretch, scored 30 goals and led the league with 1015 faceoffs won.
Speaking of faceoffs, Seguin was terrible on them but got the Stars to the postseason. This was a tough call because his linemate Jamie Benn should also be given a lot of credit for Dallas’ turnaround. Seguin gets the nod on the eye-test/stats combo: He was brought in to make a terrifying line with Benn and get the Stars back to the playoffs and he did. Seguin’s 84 points at season’s end were fourth-best in the NHL and his 37 goals were fifth.
The most notable omission here is Claude Giroux. Though he was a big reason as to why the Flyers got back in the playoff picture, he was way too streaky, and that’s when his value to the team really showed, but in a bad way. Giroux had three streaks of five or more games without a goal. The results for Philly in those games: 4-10-1, 2-3-2, 1-2-2. Long story short, he was prone to being unproductive and the Flyers lost when it happened. Though their point totals were similar (Giroux had 86 to Pavelski’s 79), Pavelski was more important to San Jose’s penalty kill and was a superior faceoff man.
(“To the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”)
I tried until the end to keep Duncan Keith — who I’m guessing will win – on my ballot, but he fell off when McLaughlin talked me into Pietrangelo.
The reason Keith isn’t on here is because of the fact that he isn’t used in a shutdown role — something he has done in years past, but no longer does as Joel Quenneville has employed Niklas Hjalmarsson and Claude Julien favorite Johnny Oduya as the team’s shutdown pairing. That means easier minutes for Keith, who still ended up leading his team in time on ice.
The reason I think Keith will win is because people will look at the numbers he’s put up against lesser competition (61 points; second among NHL defensemen) and put it to video from 2010 when he was playing against the other teams’ best players.
As for Chara, McLaughlin basically did all of the voters’ research for them when he took a hard statistical look at this year’s Norris race. That extensive research found Chara to be one of only four defensemen in the NHL who played over 23 minutes per game, had 25 points or more, started most of his shifts outside the offensive zone, had a positive CorsiRel (meaning he helped his team in possessing the puck when he was on the ice rather than hurting it) and faced a quality of competition of 1.00 or higher. Chara’s 1.58 quality of competition means this season has been the most difficult competition he’s faced since 2007 (information for previous seasons are not available).
(“To the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition”)
1. Nathan MacKinnon
2. Ondrej Palat
3. Tyler Johnson
4. Jacob Trouba
5. Olli Maatta
LADY BYNG TROPHY
(“To the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”)
1. Ryan O’Reilly
2. Martin St. Louis
3. Tyler Seguin
4. Nick Leddy
5. Jordan Eberle
(“To the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”)
1. Patrice Bergeron
2. Anze Kopitar
3. Jonathan Toews
4. Joe Pavelski
5. David Backes
Bergeron’s primary competition here is Kopitar, and Kopitar could end up giving him a real run for his money.
The Kings finished 26th in the NHL with 2.42 goals per game and Kopitar still finished fourth in the league with a plsu-34 rating. Plus-minus isn’t the most important stat, but it’s telling when a player on a team that doesn’t score is still able to be on the ice for 34 more goals for than goals against in 5-on-5 play.
Kopitar also had more points than Bergeron, but Bergeron’s faceoff numbers were far superior. Bergeron led the league in Corsi and was second in CorsiRel (first among forwards), while Kopitar was third in Corsi (second among forwards) and 26th in CorsiRel.
NHL ALL-STAR TEAM
CENTER — Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron
RIGHT WING — Corey Perry, Phil Kessel, Jaromir Jagr
LEFT WING — Jamie Benn, Max Pacioretty, Taylor Hall
DEFENSE – Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Mark Giordano, Alex Pietrangelo, Duncan Keith
GOALTENDER — Tuukka Rask, Semyon Varlamov, Ben Bishop
NHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
FORWARD – Nathan MacKinnon, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson
DEFENSE – Jacob Trouba, Olli Maatta
GOAL — Frederik Andersen