As the NHL Preseason begins, people are swarming back to hockey that have been waiting patiently for months. In this article, I predict who will win awards that don’t involve voting.
Art Ross Trophy
The Art Ross Award is awarded to the player at the end of the NHL regular season, that has amassed the most points. Previous winners of this award have been Sidney Crosby, Martin St. Louis, and Evgeni Malkin. After a rough season with only 37 games played, I believe that Steven Stamkos will win the Art Ross Trophy. Stamkos had a phenomenal year after breaking his leg, scoring 40 points and 25 goals in his 37 games. Even with the loss of Martin St. Louis, the Tampa Bay Lightning made some very good moves this offseason, that will allow Stamkos to finally unleash his true potential if he stays healthy. The Lightning added Anton Stralman, Ryan Callahan, Brenden Morrow, and Brian Boyle this offseason. Stamkos will also still be able to play with his rising star left wing, Jonathon Drouin. Drouin, at only 19 years old, is finally ready to make the jump to play in the NHL with his lightning speed and spectacular shooting ability.
William M. Jennings Trophy
The William M. Jennings trophy is awarded to the goalkeeper or goalkeepers who played a minimum of 25 games and gave us the least amount of goals. Past winners of this award have been Jonathon Quick, Corey Crawford/ Ray Emery, and Brian Elliot/ Jaroslav Halak. After playing in 84 combined games and amassing 45 wins in the 2013-2014 season, I believe that Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot will win the William M. Jennings trophy. After a heartbreaking loss in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Rangers should be fired more than ever to find a way to get back to the Finals. If the defense steps up and gives up less chances, Lundqvist and Talbot should have no problem having a combined 50+ wins this year. Lundqvist had a .920 save percentage despite a poor start to the season and a .923 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Talbot posted an impressive .941 save percentage.
Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy
The Rocket Richard trophy is awarded to the player at the end of the regular season with the most goals. After having 51 goals in 78 games, I believe that Alexander Ovechkin will win the Rocket Richard Trophy. After a very poor offseason offensively for the Washington Capitals, it would be likely to believe that Ovechkin will need to do the same as last season if the Capitals even dream of making the postseason. With Ovechkin likely to be on a line with Niklas Backstrom and Evgeni Kuznetsov, Ovechkin will have a lot of opportunity with the puck because Backstrom rarely shoots and is more likely to pass. If this trend continues, Ovechkin will likely have to be in the top 5 of goal scoring every year for Washington to even be relevant in the NHL. One of the only offensive hopes that Washington can look forward to is if Kuznetsov can learn the shooting and skating skills of Ovechkin while learning to pass like Backstrom. If he did this, the Capitals may have one of the next NHL superstars on their roster.