Welcome to the twenty-first century on NHL Saturday, for its time to take on the first season of a new decade and a new millennium. Will professional hockey in North America survive another 100 years? Only time will tell, although it’s doing pretty well today in late 2021.
But no more blather: Here is your weekly dose of ice niceness!
2000 Hart: Chris Pronger (original), Jaromír Jágr (revised)
St. Louis Blues defenseman Chris Pronger topped the NHL in Point Shares (14.84) and won the Hart vote, but we can’t give it to him, of course. So, who can we give it to? There are really only two options: Florida Panthers right wing Pavel Bure (13.50) or Pittsburgh Penguins right winger Jaromír Jágr (12.22). The latter won this award from us last season, while Bure has yet to win any awards from us.
The Panthers made the playoffs with a 14-point cushion, while the Pens only made it by four points. That makes Jágr a little more valuable than Bure, although it’s not a big edge. It’s enough, however, to secure Jágr’s second node from us in a row for the Hart. Pittsburgh just wasn’t a very good team without him.
His numbers: a league-best 96 points (42G, 54A) and a plus-25 rating on a team that only outscored its opponents a total of 5 goals all season. Jágr also put up 50 PIMs to show some grit on the other side of the ice, too.
2000 Norris: Chris Pronger (original, confirmed)
Besides Pronger, we can consider Detroit Red Wings star Nicklas Lidström (12.98) for the Norris. The Blues posted 114 points to win the Central Division by 6 points over the Red Wings, so Pronger has an edge there. However, it also works against him, as Detroit was “closer” to an early offseason than the Blues were. But both teams cleared 100 points, so that’s a silly point, in truth.
We confirm Pronger’s award here for the following stat line: a league-topping plus-52 rating, 62 points (14G, 48A), and 92 PIMs. He also notched 9.62 defensive Point Shares to best all his peers by more than 2.0 DPS. He was the best player in the league and deserves this award, wholeheartedly.
2000 Vezina: Olaf Kölzig (original, confirmed)
Six goaltenders topped 12 PS for the season, and here they are in order: Washington Capitals veteran Olaf Kölzig (14.55); Toronto Maple Leafs star Curtis Joseph (13.39); Edmonton Oilers journeyman Tommy Salo (13.30); San Jose Sharks stalwart Steve Shields (12.49); New Jersey Devils legend Martin Brodeur (12.12); and Dallas Stars Ed Belfour (12.10).
CuJo won this award from us in 1992 and 1993, while Belfour (Calder and Vezina, 1991; Conn Smythe 1999) and Brodeur (Conn Smythe 1995) have hardware, too. The Caps had an 18-point cushion for the postseason, while the Leafs had a 16-point buffer. The Oilers only had a 5-point margin for error, so Salo shoots to the top here. Meanwhile, the Sharks had just a 4-point edge as the last West team to qualify.
The Devils and the Stars each had 19-point comfort zones, which means this comes down to Salo or Shields, surprisingly (yes, we’re high on alliteration today). Let’s look at them both more closely:
- Salo: 27-28-13, 2.33 GAA, .914 save percentage on a 32-26-24 team
- Shields: 27-30-8, 2.56 GAA, .911 save percentage on a 35-30-17 team
This is odd, as both goalies finished under .500 for teams that posted better records without them. We’re not fans of that, as perhaps their backups were better? That being said, we’re going to stick with Kölzig‘s vote win, then, as the best sabermetric goalie in the league. His numbers—41-20-11, 2.24 GAA, .917 S% on a 44-24-12-2 division winner—mean a lot more than we first expected, in terms of value.
2000 Calder: Scott Gomez (original), Jean-Sebastien Aubin (revised)
Devils center Scott Gomez won the Calder vote for posting 7.3 PS, but we’re also looking at Pens goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin (9.9), New Jersey blueliner Brian Rafalski (6.8), Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart (6.7), and Buffalo Sabres backup netminder Martin Biron (6.5), too. We are glad to do so, as both Devils rookies cancel each other here for true value.
We know Pittsburgh only had a 4-point cushion for the playoffs, while the Sharks had the same buffer. The Sabres had just a 1-point margin, as they were the last team in the Eastern Conference to crash the Stanley Cup playoffs. So each of these teams would not have made the postseason without their star rookies, so we will give the award to Aubin for playing in 10 more games than Biron and that PS mark.
His 23-21-3 record was solid for a team that posted a 37-31-14 record. His 2.58 GAA and .914 S% were solid enough on a team led by Jágr on the scoring end. His PS edge on everyone else in this award conversation is just too much to overlook, as well.
2000 Conn Smythe: Scott Stevens (original), Martin Brodeur (revised)
The Devils topped the Stars in a 6-game Finals series, with N.J. defenseman Scott Stevens (11 points and 6 PIMs in 23 games) taking the Conn Smythe vote. We understand his veteran presence on the team, but that’s such an underwhelming stat line, we don’t even know what to say/think. The Devils were a defense-minded team with no skaters posting a point a game, but come on.
Meanwhile, Brodeur won all 16 games for the team in the Cup playoffs, with a 1.61 GAA and a .927 save percentage. That’s stunningly dominant, again. Stevens was 35, and we feel the vote was a nod to his career, overall, which includes the 1994 Norris from us. But this is Brodeur’s award, period, and it never should have gone to Stevens.
The goalie battle in the Finals between Belfour and Brodeur was one for the ages, and while Brodeur didn’t win it all on his own, it’s the old adage: The puck stops here—especially when he was in the net.