Since the NHL’s annual awards gala is a celebration of the regular season and not the playoffs, there are more Capitals under consideration for post-season trophies than members of the Stanley Cup champion Penguins.
With the awards set for Wednesday night in Las Vegas, we’ll spend the next few days predicting the award winners.
Today, we’ll take a look at the nominees for the Vezina and Calder Trophies:
Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)
Braden Holtby, Capitals (48-9-7, 2.20 GAA, .922 save percentage)
The Capitals’ starting netminder signed a five-year, $30.5 million contract last summer and backed it up with one of the best single-season performances in NHL history. Holtby’s 48 wins tied Marty Brodeur’s single-season record and he did it in 12 fewer games, which is remarkable.
Ben Bishop, Lightning (35-21-1, 2.06 GAA, .926 SP)
Bishop led the NHL in goals-against average and shutouts (six) and had a career-best .926 save percentage. He finished behind Carey Price in last year’s voting and is destined to be a runner up again this year, even though he helped Tampa get to the conference final before getting injured in Game 1.
Jonathan Quick, Kings (40-23-5, 2.22 GAA, .918 SP)
Despite a pair of Stanley Cups Quick has not won a Vezina, finishing as a runnerup in 2011-12. He played more minutes (4,034) than any goalie this season but fell eight wins short of Holtby’s record-tying season.
The Pick: Braden Holtby
Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
Connor McDavid, Oilers (16 goals, 32 assists in 45 games)
If he had not missed 37 games with a broken collar bone, McDavid would have run away with the Calder. His 1.07 points per game ranked third in the NHL among players with 40 or more games. He’ll get the Canadian vote, which will make this a close race.
Shayne Gostisbehere, Flyers (17 goals, 29 assists in 64 games)
Although he was not injured, Gostisbehere also provided an abbreviated body of work and that will hurt his chances. Gostisbehere led all rookie blue liners with 46 points and was a force on the Flyers’ power play, helping Philadelphia claw into a playoff spot in the final week of the season.
Artemi Panarin, Blackhawks (30 goals, 47 assists in 80 games)
At 24, Panarin is five years older than McDavid and one year older than Gostisbehere and played parts of seven seasons in the KHL before signing with Chicago, but his numbers are hard to ignore. Even though award voting took place before the post-season, Panarin continued to produce in the playoffs with seven points in seven games.
The pick: Artemi Panarin