NHL Awards Predictions


With the NHL season officially underway, each team is looking to find a way to have their name etched into Lord Stanley’s Cup. While the Stanley Cup is the ultimate prize, players, coaches, and general managers along the way could secure additional hardware or consolation prizes after missing out on the sport’s top prize. Here are our way-too-early choices for the NHL’s award winners.

Hart Trophy: Nathan MacKinnon

Every sport has had a conundrum when it comes to awarding an MVP award in recent history. The award rarely ever goes to a player who is the most valuable to their respective team, but rather the best player on the best team.


Nikita Kucherov, the last winner of the Hart, was the best player on the Tampa Bay Lightning without question. The former second-round pick registered a league-leading 128 points after all. However, his ensemble cast of superstar players lessened the burden on his shoulders, and Tampa Bay would likely have been a playoff contender without Kucherov.

That being said, Nathan MacKinnon is in a similar position. Centering what arguably is the most talented line in hockey with Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, MacKinnon’s job gets made a bit easier.


However, the drop off in talent from that first line to the rest of Colorado’s roster is what makes MacKinnon so important to his team. Their line is forced to propel the Avalanche forward if they wish to make another playoff berth. MacKinnon has his coming out party this season and gets the recognition he deserves with an MVP award to go along with another playoff appearance. Expect MacKinnon to break the 100 point barrier for the first time in his career in 2020.

Art Ross: Connor McDavid

What is there to say about the best player in the world that has not already been said?

Game-breaking speed? He has it. Hockey sense that’s off the charts? He has it. Playmaking ability that’s unmatched? He’s got it covered. Connor McDavid is the most difficult player in the entire league to defend. Putting another star like Leon Draisaitl on his wing, and the duo is nearly impossible to stop.


Edmonton’s lack of offensive firepower led the club to bring in James Neal from Calgary after a disappointing season, but the former perennial 20 goal scorer should slot onto McDavid’s other wing to form a dynamite offensive force for the Oilers. McDavid will still be forced to drag Edmonton as far as he can, and they likely will miss the playoffs yet again, but McDavid will rack up the points in pursuit of his third Art Ross in four years.

Rocket Richard: Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin is pursuing immortality. Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record of 894 is as close to being broken as it likely ever will be. Ovechkin needs under 240 goals to eclipse Gretzky, and at 34 years of age, Ovechkin needs to do most of the heavy lifting now before it is too late.

Lucky for him, Ovechkin has shown little signs of slowing down anytime soon; he is coming off of his eighth 50 goal season of his career. Arguably the best pure goal scorer the league has seen in its history regardless if he breaks the record, Ovechkin will be in the running and likely bring home yet another Rocket Richard Trophy.

Vezina Trophy: Frederik Andersen

This offseason for the Toronto Maple Leafs has been a chaotic media storm that served as nothing but a distraction.

Who will be the Leafs’ Captain? Will Marner re-sign? What is going on with Auston Matthews’ legal trouble? Luckily for the Maple Leafs, the controversy will start to go away once the puck drops on their season.

Toronto has made strides to improve their defense in front of star goaltender Frederik Andersen, acquiring defenceman Tyson Barrie from the Avalanche and letting their scapegoat Jake Gardiner leave in free agency.

All signs point to the Maple Leafs playing a better defensive game in front of Andersen, who has never gotten recognition as one of the league’s elite goaltenders because of the lack of defense in front of him.

Expect this to be the year Andersen gets the recognition he deserves by bringing home a Vezina Trophy

James Norris Trophy: Victor Hedman

Hedman looked to be a favorite for the Norris until he missed time due to an injury, and defenceman Mark Giordano burst onto the scene and captured the Norris for himself.

Though missing 12 games, Hedman still registered 54 points and a +24 rating. With a full schedule ahead of him in his prime, the 28-year-old Hedman comes in as a favorite again for the Norris Trophy.

He is arguably the best two-way defenceman in hockey, scoring points in bunches on a lethal offensive team and neutralizing the oppositions top forwards each night. As long as he is healthy, the Norris is Victor Hedman’s to lose.

Calder Trophy: Kaapo Kakko

The Calder race, unless a dark horse emerges, is likely between first overall pick Jack Hughes and second pick Kaapo Kakko.

The Finnish forward Kakko enters a Rangers team who acquired forward Artemi Panarin in free agency, one of the league’s premiere playmakers.

Playing with Panarin affords Kakko a player who will garner most of the attention from the opposition, and more space for him to operate.

Kakko’s game also looks to be more polished than Hughes at this point. This was made evident by Kakko’s six goals and +10 rating in the IIHF worlds for Finland playing against NHL talent. He seems to be more NHL-ready than Hughes and the likely winner of the NHL’s rookie of the year award.

Selke Award: Aleksander Barkov

Aleksander Barkov has been one of the NHL’s premiere defensive stars for a few years now.

Barkov’s biggest problem is the market in which he plays in; not many people watch the Florida Panthers.

Those who do tune into the Panthers’ games would see No.16 dominating both sides of the ice. Barkov scored 96 points while shouldering the defensive duties for the Panthers, registering 100 takeaways, which was second only to Mark Stone.

He blocked 61 shots and only had 8 PIMS, all three of those stats beating out last year’s Selke winner Ryan O’Reilly. Barkov’s one weakness for Selke was he was a -3 in +/-. Since signing free agent Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida’s goaltending situation is solidified and that should help boost his +/-, as the team will be allowing less goals.

Jack Adams Award: Bruce Cassidy

The Boston Bruins bench boss has deserved to win the Jack Adams award twice now, and this year could be the season that he finally captures the elusive award.

The Bruins were not afforded the luxury of making a big-name free agency acquisition as other teams did, nor did they make a splash in the trade market. For the vast majority, this is the same Bruins team returning whilst some of their rivals, specifically the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs got better.

If Boston makes a playoff push like last year and are within range of the Bolts in the final standings, Cassidy deserves the Jack Adams Award.




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