On NHL Saturday, we are getting closer to the present day, as the 2022 regular season approaches its end soon. We will be all caught up here in a few months. Shocking! We’re not sure where this column goes next, but we’re sticking through this first series to the end, obviously. That being said, we have another dynasty to take on this week: the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 2010s were really interesting, so let’s get going on this year in particular …
2016 Hart: Patrick Kane (original, confirmed)
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane had a dominant season, topped all NHL players with 14.95 Point Shares. The next-best forwards were Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (12.05) and Washington Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin (11.71), our Hart winner last year. That’s a huge gap between the top candidates for this award. Kane did win the vote at the time, by the way, too.
Chicago made the postseason with a 21-point margin, while the Caps posted the most points in the league to established a 27-point cushion in the standings. The Stars also had a 27-point bubble. So that solidifies that, as no one else should be considered for this award, considering Kane’s straight-up PS dominance.
His stats—46G, 60A, plus-17 rating, 30 PIMs, and 20:25 ATOI—reveal an all-around game, as Kane topped the NHL in points. Also, his 2.6 DPS were a career-high mark, built on 21 hits, 37 blocks, and 34 takeaways. The 3-time Cup champion carried his team offensively, as no one else on the roster was able to notch a point a game, and the post-title malaise may have truly affected this team deeply.
2016 Norris: Drew Doughty (original), Brent Burns (revised)
The top defensemen in the league were San Jose Sharks veteran Brent Burns (12.86 PS) and Ottawa Senators star Erik Karlsson (11.68). However, it was Los Angeles Kings star Drew Doughty (11.6) who won the Norris vote. So what gives? Well, the Kings finished higher than the Sharks did in the Pacific Division, so Doughty isn’t going to “out value” Burns here; plus, Ottawa missed the playoffs.
Thus, this award should have gone to Burns, and we’re here to correct this error. Doughty won our Conn Smythe in 2014, but he’s losing this Norris. Burns’ stats are impressive: 27G, 48A, 53 PIM, and 25:52 ATOI. The ice team was a career-high mark at that point, and Burns used his big body to notch 145 blocks and 101 hits. The blocks number is still his all-time best effort in the NHL.
2016 Vezina: Braden Holtby (original), Ben Bishop (revised)
We have 5 candidates here, as Washington workhorse Braden Holtby (12.13 PS) won the vote over New York Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist (12.63), Tampa Bay Lightning journeyman Ben Bishop (12.19), Florida Panthers veteran Roberto Luongo (12.12), and Chicago stalwart Corey Crawford (11.97). Lundqvist has won this award before (2009, 2011), while Crawford has other hardware (2011, 2013).
Lundqvist has the edge on Holtby, since the Caps finished 19 points higher in Metropolitan Division; Florida also finished 6 points ahead of Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division, so that knocks out Luongo. In terms of postseason margins for error? It’s Chicago (21), New York (8), and Tampa Bay (4). That basically hands this trophy to Bishop, with the goalies all bunched so closely together in PS.
Bishop’s numbers: NHL-best 2.06 GAA, .926 S%, 6 SOs, and a 35-21-4 record. His backups posted a 11-10-1 mark, collectively, so the Lightning would have missed the playoffs without him. Bishop also topped the NHL is GSAA (19.4). He was the most valuable netminder in the league, period.
2016 Calder: Artemi Panarin (original), Shayne Gostisbehere (revised)
Three rookies stand out here: Chicago LW Artemi Panarin (9.8 PS), Philadelphia Flyers D Shayne Gostisbehere (8.9), and St. Louis Blues D Colton Parayko (8.8). Panarin won the vote, and he got a lot of help in playing with Kane, that’s for sure. Meanwhile, the Flyers made the postseason with just 3 points to spare in the standings, while the Blues cruised into the postseason like the Blackhawks did.
That means this trophy should go to Gostisbehere: 17G, 29A, plus-8, 24 PIMs, and 20:05 ATOI. Not bad for a rookie blueliner on a team that was outscored by 4 goals on the season as a whole. Without him, the Flyers probably would have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs.
2016 Conn Smythe: Sidney Crosby (original), Matt Murray (revised)
The Penguins won their second Cup this century in 6 games over the San Jose Sharks, who were making their first-ever Finals appearance after years of falling short in the Western Conference playoffs. Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe vote, although no skater on the Pens managed a point a game in the postseason. We’re a little skeptical here, in truth.
Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray stepped up as a rookie with just 13 regular-season starts to put up a 15-6 record with a 2.08 GAA and a .923 S%. We see him as a lot of more valuable here than Crosby or any of the skaters. Also, perhaps Sharks C Logan Couture (30 points in 24 games) and Burns (24P, 24G) deserve some credit here, too, but without a Game 7, it’s hard to go that way.
We will go with Murray, in one of the more impressive displays by a rookie goaltender in recent Stanley Cup playoffs history.