The NHL has a wide range of player awards to be handed out. The Hart Memorial Trophy is the big one. This is handed out to the league’s Most Valuable Player. That award usually grabs the limelight but there are so many others who receive due recognition for their work throughout the season.
The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goalie. This award has been given to a first-time recipient in each of the last four seasons and nine out of the last ten. The James Norris Trophy is handed out to the best defenseman in the league. The award is named after Hockey Hall of Fame member and former owner of the Detroit Red Wings, James E. Norris. Aligning with the Rookie of the Year award handed out in other sports, the Calder Memorial Trophy goes to the best first-year player in the league. Historically, stats show that this award goes to a forward player more often than not. In addition to these player awards, the Jack Adams Award is handed out to the league’s best coach.
In the following section we take a look at the contenders for the awards mentioned above and give some insight into who we think might walk away with their respective trophy at season’s end.
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Hart Memorial Trophy
This award is decided upon by The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and has been handed out since 1926. Connor McDavid is the current recipient and the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, holds the record for the most awards with nine trophies to his name.
McDavid is the favourite to retain the trophy again this season. The 25-year-old has had another outstanding season for the Oilers alongside his teammate Leon Draisaitl who is also in the running for the award. In truth, that may hurt both players chances with votes going to both players. The two-headed monster of McDavid and Draisaitl are a nightmare to deal with for defenses across the league on a nightly basis.
There have been a number of outstanding performers around the league this season. Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers has shot up the rankings thanks to a number of stellar performances. The 28-year-old from Saint-Jerome leads the league in points this season and is currently listed at +650 to finish with the Hart Trophy to his name.
Elsewhere, perennial contender Alex Ovechkin has astounded fans and pundits with a resurgence in the 2021-2022 season. The Russian has picked up this award three times in his career, most recently in 2013. The 36-year-old has found some of his old form, notching 15 goals and 15 assists through his first 19 games this season. He currently ranks as the second favourite with us here at VIPCasino, coming in at +325.
Another popular choice for bettors looking at NHL player awards. Named in memory of Montreal Canadiens’ Georges Vezina, it was first awarded in 1927.
Voted on by the general managers in the league, this is often a hotly contested award. As mentioned already, nine out of ten most recent award winners have been first-timers. How does that play in to this years race for the Vezina Trophy?
Well, New York Rangers’ goal tender Igor Shesterkin has firmly taken the lead in the betting this season. Only in his third season in the league, the Russian has played a big part in the Rangers’ rise towards the top of the Eastern Conference and he has a league leading save percentage at the time of writing.
The back-to-back Stanley Cup champions have a pretty effective goalie in their ranks too. Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the Conn Smythe Award in 2021 as the Finals MVP and he is a previous recipient of the Vezina Trophy too, winning that accolade in 2019. Another strong year from the Tampa Bay Lightning man has put him right in contention for this award. He listed at odds of +575 to receive the award again this season, well behind favourite Shesterkin with odds of +175.
Jack Campbell is the only other real contender at the moment. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender has performed well in a side that are showing signs of improvement. Currently listed at +800, those odds could shorten considerably if the upward trend continues.
The last of the NHL player awards we will take a look at in this piece. The Calder Trophy is unique in the world of sports. The qualifying criteria for the award are quite unusual in that the nominated players must not have played more than 25 games in the single preceding season in any major professional league or 6 games in each of the last two seasons. The player must also not be any older than 26 on September 15th of their rookie season. Not quite Rookie of the Year territory.
Trevor Zegras is the current betting favourite at +170. It’s true that Zegras’ highlight reel plays have caught the attention this season and he will be well in contention for this award and many others throughout his professional career we’re sure. His two real competitors for this award this season are Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. Both Raymond and Seider ply their trade with the Detroit Red Wings.
At the time of writing, Raymond leads all rookies in the league in terms of points scored and he has already taken over a lot of the responsibilities in the Red Wings attack. His teammate Seider is a big defenseman, a dominating presence on the ice. Raymond is currently second in the betting behind Zegras with Seider sitting in third.
Michael Bunting and Anton Lundell are the only other realistic challengers for this award. Both men are listed at +1000 to win the award on VIPCasino.ca. However, both men are unlikely to be in the running comes season’s end.
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