NHL Saturday is kicking off the 2010s today, which means we’re close to catching up to the present day. That will make for a fun spring, especially without professional baseball to entertain us … It’s too bad the labor issues have to affect every sport, isn’t it? Why can’t everyone just get along? No ideas here.
Let’s drop the puck on another fun awards show for professional hockey in North America!
2010 Hart: Henrik Sedin (original, confirmed)
Three forwards separated themselves this year: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (15.6 Point Shares), Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (14.7), and Vancouver Canucks Henrik Sedin (13.5). The latter won the Hart vote, so it’s up to us to see if it was genuinely deserved. With the Canucks having 13 points to spare in making the postseason, it may be close. Perhaps they don’t make it without Sedin.
The Caps topped the NHL with 121 points, and that gave them a whopping 34-point playoff margin for error; meanwhile, the Pens had just a 14-point cushion—leaving us with a legitimate debate here between Crosby and Sedin. The Pittsburgh star led the NHL with goals, but the Vancouver veteran topped the league with a whopping 83 assists (not to mention 112 points).
This was the first of three straight seasons Sedin finished with the most assists in the league; Crosby and Ovechkin ended up with 109 points themselves, so this was very tight. We’re going to err on the side of caution here, as the PS margin with the postseason cushion slightly favors Sedin, anyway. In addition to his assists, he also added a plus-35 rating and 48 PIMs to provide a well-rounded stat line.
2010 Norris: Duncan Keith (original), Chris Pronger (revised)
We have four good candidates this hardware: Washington star Mike Green (13.0 PS), Chicago Blackhawks veteran Duncan Keith (12.6), Los Angeles Kings phenom Drew Doughty (11.9), and Philadelphia Flyers veteran Chris Pronger (11.4). We gave this nod to Green last year, and Pronger won this trophy twice from us before now, too (2000, 2004).
We know Washington was dominant, so Green’s value takes a big hit there. Chicago had a 22-point cushion for the playoffs, while the Kings had just 11 points to spare. Meanwhile, Philly (and Montréal) edged the New York Rangers by just 1 point in the Eastern Conference for the final playoff spot. That means Pronger’s value carried the most impact here, in terms of postseason opportunity.
Pronger was kind of an ass, but we cannot deny his talent: He won only one Norris vote (2000), so never let it be said we aren’t honest and transparent here. Pronger’s stats—10G, 45A, plus-22 rating, and 79 PIMs—are pretty solid, but what stands out to us is the 25:56 ATOI for a guy in his age-35 season. Also, his 6.82 Defensive Point Shares was third best in the sport, and that says a lot about his value.
2010 Vezina: Ryan Miller (original, confirmed)
This was a season dominated by goaltenders, as eight of them finished in the NHL Top 10 for Point Shares: Buffalo Sabres legend Ryan Miller (16.78 PS); Florida Panthers veteran Tomas Vokoun (15.70); San Jose Sharks stalwart Evgeni Nabokov (15.61); Rangers phenom Henrik Lundqvist (14.99); Colorado Avalanche journeyman Craig Anderson (14.81); Calgary Flames star Miikka Kiprusoff (14.25); Phoenix Coyotes acquisition Ilya Bryzgalov (13.86); and Detroit Red Wings rookie Jimmy Howard (13.77).
First cut: Florida, New York, and Calgary missed the playoffs. Meanwhile, Buffalo made it by 13 points, and San Jose qualified with 23 points to spare. Colorado grabbed the last spot in the Western Conference with a 5-point cushion, and Phoenix made it with a 17-point cushion. Detroit had a 12-point margin for error. That reduces the field to Miller, Anderson, and Howard.
This is where we state Miller won the vote, and he also posted the highest PS mark in the league; without him, the Sabres don’t make the playoffs. The same can be said for Anderson, though, and Howard, perhaps. But we’re not taking the hardware away from the player with the most value in the league, especially when he basically finished 2 PS ahead of the next guy under consideration. To wit:
- Miller: 41-18-8, 2.22 GAA, .929 S%, 5 shutouts
- Anderson: 38-25-7, 2.63 GAA, .917 S%, 7 shutouts
- Howard: 37-15-10, 2.26 GAA, .924 S%, 3 shutouts
Anderson carried his team more than the other two guys did, it would seem, yet Miller still had a PS mark almost 2 points higher—because he was that good. We will confirm the vote, although we understand anyone making the argument for Anderson instead.
2010 Calder: Tyler Myers (original), Jimmy Howard (revised)
Only three rookies should have gotten any consideration for this award, and the voters still fucked it up. Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers (9.8 PS) won the trophy at the time, but we think Howard deserved it more, obviously. Also in the mix? Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (10.2), who just retired. But Howard was clearly the best and most valuable rookie this year, as explored above in a different context.
2010 Conn Smythe: Jonathan Toews (original, confirmed)
Pronger carried the Flyers all the way to the Finals, where they lost in six games to Keith and the Blackhawks. Chicago C Jonathan Toews (29 points in 22 games) won the Conn Smythe vote, and now we have to see if that stands up to scrutiny. Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane had 28 points in 22 games, so why did voters choose one over the other? Good question.
The Chicago goalie was average at best, and Blackhawks C Patrick Sharp also posted 22 points in 22 games, so clearly it was all offense for these champs. Even Keith added 17 points in 22 games. As for the Flyers, they had two average goalies and a slew of offensive scorers, too, plus Pronger. This award, therefore, has to go to either Toews or Kane: We will stick with the voters here.
Why? Well, Toews did average 2 more minutes of ice time per game than Kane, and he did a better job dishing the puck (4 more assists) and leading on the power play, too—while managing 3 game-winning goals to Kane’s singular clincher. That works for us.