Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews wins Mark Messier Award


Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews wins Mark Messier Award

Jonathan Toews was named the winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award on Wednesday night in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards.

The award, voted by Messier, is given to the player "who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season." It's the first time Toews has won the award since it debuted during the 2006-07 season.

Honored and shocked, the Blackhawks captain said he owes all the credit to the players around him.

"Wow, this is amazing. Definitely did not expect to be standing up here accepting this award," Toews said, after accepting his award. "I feel in so many ways unworthy. ...I definitely would like to thank my teammates. I wouldn't be where I am, right here, without those guys."

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Two weeks ago — midway through the Stanley Cup Final, Messier shared high praise for the (now) three-time Stanley Cup winner.

"I know how much pressure is put on a captain at an early age," said Messier. "Jonathan came in here when he was named captain early and has never taken a backwards step. He's grown into an incredible captain, leader, inspirational on and off the ice. The way he's carried himself, the messaging to the fans, his initiatives that he's involved in off the ice — what more can you say? Easy guy to like on and off the ice."

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron edged out Toews for the Selke Trophy (NHL's top defensive forward) for the second straight year. Bergeron received 1,083 votes to Toews' 1,051. Toews captured the award in 2013.

Blackhawks notables

— Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson took home the Norris Trophy for the second time in his career. Karlsson had 964 votes. Duncan Keith finished in seventh, scoring 134 votes.

— Tampa Bay Lightning's Steve Yzerman won GM of the year. Stan Bowman ranked No. 10.

— Carey Price ran away with the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender. Price had 144 points. Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne was the runner-up with 60 tallies. Corey Crawford came in sixth.

— Patrick Kane finished in 10th place for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award given to the player with best combining sportsmanship and ability. Calgary Flames' Jiri Hudler won the award.

Other award winners

Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL's most valuable player): Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Jack Adams Award (NHL's top coach): Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames

Ted Lindsay Award (top player chosen by fellow players): Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Calder Trophy (NHL's top rookie): Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey): Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 189 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"Kotkaniemi has been a top-six forward for his league team in Finland all season and had a very solid U18 season relative to his historical peers in the league. He has very good hands that are high-end, if not flashing elite. He can make very skilled plays off an entry, but what impresses me is how well he can control the puck and keep plays alive."

NHL player comparable:

Fit for Blackhawks:

There isn't a player that has climbed the rankings in such a short amount of time than Kotkaniemi, who was initially projected to go outside the top 10 but could go as high as No. 3 overall. It's likely because there aren't many high-end centers in this draft, and he's the top one.

If Kotkaniemi happens to slip to No. 8, it may be hard for the Blackhawks to pass up on him. He's versatile, too, which is always a bonus, especially when playing under Joel Quenneville. But if they view him as a center, here's how the Blackhawks would look down the middle: Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz, Kotkaniemi and Artem Anisimov.

Um, yeah. That'll work.