For this edition of NHL Saturday, we take on the 2012 season, which gave us another Stanley Cup champion from the state of California—this from a franchise that has been around since the year we started this series. It just goes to show you that any team can get hot in the postseason and win it all … putting more emphasis on just getting into the playoffs in the first place, like we do here.
Enjoy the ride through the awards show below!
2012 Hart: Evgeni Malkin (original, confirmed)
Only two forwards finished in the NHL Top 10 for Point Shares: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (15.72) and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (14.64). Malkin won the Hart vote at the time, and we already gave him our nod here for the 2009 trophy—in addition to his Conn Smythe vote win that year, which we confirmed. Can Stamkos stand up to scrutiny here?
Well, with the Lightning missing the postseason, it’s Malkin’s award to lose. The Pens had a 19-point margin of error for the postseason, but with no other candidates really to consider here, we will confirm Malkin’s vote win. His stats—50G, 59A, plus-18 rating, 70 PIMs, 339 SOGs, and 21:01 ATOI—show just how good he was on all fronts. The points total and the SOGs mark led the NHL, by the way.
2012 Norris: Erik Karlsson (original, confirmed)
Ottawa Senators youngster Erik Karlsson (13.09 PS) was the only defenseman in the NHL Top 10 for Point Shares, and he outpaced all other blueliners in the league by at least 1.7 PS. He won the Norris vote at the time, and with the Sens making the postseason with a 3-point cushion, it’s clear we will be confirming this vote for the phenom in his age-21 season. The numbers? 19G, 59A, plus-16 rating, 42 PIMs, and 25:19 ATOI.
2012 Vezina: Henrik Lundqvist (original), Mike Smith (revised)
It was all about the goaltenders again, with 7 of them in the Top 10: Phoenix Coyotes journeyman Mike Smith (16.73 PS), Nashville Predators star Pekka Rinne (15.51), Los Angeles Kings youngster Jonathan Quick (14.70), Calgary Flames veteran Miikka Kiprusoff (14.13), New York Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist (14.09), Carolina Hurricanes stalwart Cam Ward (13.42), and Dallas Stars regular Kari Lehtonen (12.30).
First cut: The Flames, the Hurricanes, and the Stars all missed the postseason, so that’s easy to cut the field nearly in half. Lundqvist won the vote at the time, and we’ve given him two of our last three trophies here, as well. But the Rangers had a 20-point playoff cushion, so he may not get to keep this one, especially since the ‘Yotes and the Kings barely made it into the playoffs (7-point and 5-point margins, respectively).
The Preds had a 14-point cushion, so this comes down to Smith and Quick: By the slimmest of margins, we’re going with Smith here, since his PS mark was higher than Quick’s by just a bit more than the team margins were. It’s clear neither team makes it to the postseason without their goalie, though. Smith’s PS mark also led the entire NHL, so there’s that, too.
With a 38-18-10 record, as well as a 2.21 GAA and .930 S%, Smith was a savior in the desert for Phoenix. He also tossed 8 shutouts, as the Coyotes won the only division title in franchise history. And they did it by just one point, over the San Jose Sharks. The Kings finished one point behind San Jose, as well. Smith earned this one, playing with his third team already in just his sixth NHL season.
2012 Calder: Gabriel Landeskog (original), Slava Voynov (revised)
This was a mediocre year for rookies, as no first-year player cracked 7.0 PS for the season. The five candidates are Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (6.8), Edmonton Oilers C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6.0), New Jersey Devils C Adam Henrique (6.0), Philadelphia Flyers right wing Matt Read (5.9), and Kings D Slava Voynov (5.9). Landeskog won the vote at the time, for the record.
But the Avs missed the playoffs; so did so did the Oilers. Meanwhile, the Devils made it by 13 points; the Flyers made it by 14 points. And we know the Kings only got in by 5 points, so this award is going to Voynov, surprisingly. We bet you don’t even know who he is, as he played just four seasons in the NHL, winning two Cups in the process. He also finished just tenth in the Calder voting, but facts be facts here.
His numbers aren’t that impressive, either: 8G, 12A, plus-12 rating, and 12 PIMs in just 54 games played. But 47 blocks and 73 hits helped him earn 3.9 Defensive Point Shares, nonetheless, and that’s where he pushed himself into the conversation in an admittedly weak year for rookies. It is what it is.
2012 Conn Smythe: Jonathan Quick (original, confirmed)
The Kings earned the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and proceeded to go on a hot streak that was unbelievable at the time and still defies logic today: They won the first two games of all four series, on the road no less, which is nuts, and they did it behind Quick’s stunning play, which earned him the Conn Smythe vote (16-4, 1.41 GAA, .946 S%). It will be hard for anyone to top that stat line.
With a 5-game Finals victory over the Devils and goaltending legend Martin Brodeur, the Kings reigned supreme. They had two skaters post 20 points in 20 games apiece, but that’s not going to take away this hardware from Quick. Consider this, too: The Kings won 4 overtime games without a loss, and they went 6-1 in games decided by 1 goal in the postseason. Yeah, Quick defines the term “hot goalie” forever now.