Though the NHL is past the official halfway mark of the season, the All-Star break serves as the unofficial midway point.
So with that in mind, the members of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association put forth a vote for midseason awards among its membership. Fans were also invited to have their say in traditional categories such as Hart and Norris trophy winners as well as Vezina winner along with a few others, including the Rob Langway Award as the top defensive defenseman.
Members of the PHWA each cast their ballot with the fans vote counting as one. And the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, as you would imagine, were well represented when the final tally was announced on Friday as All-Star weekend festivities kicked off with the team landing seven finalists and four winners among the 10 awards.
Here’s a message from The PHWA on the mid-season awards: Historically, the PHWA voted on “Half Season” Awards through 1968, but the annual practice fell off the radar soon after the advent of the modern-day NHL All-Star Game in 1969.The Midseason Awards were revived this season, this time giving hockey fans across North America a vote with the power of social media.
“We are all thrilled to see the Midseason Awards make their return to the hockey calendar,” PHWA president Mark Spector said. “It's a very useful exercise for those PHWA members who vote on end-of-season NHL Awards in April, and judging by the response of the hundreds of hockey fans who cast their votes, including our readers in this process will ensure that this project only grows from here.”
More than 150 writers and broadcasters and 2,000 fans completed ballots for 10 Midseason Awards, which included traditional end-of-season honors such as the Hart Trophy, Norris Trophy, Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy, Lady Byng Trophy, Selke Trophy, Jack Adams Award and GM of the Year. Two new awards were also added including the Rod Langway Award, for best ‘defensive defenseman,’ and Comeback Player of the Year, awarded to a player who has returned to a previous high level of performance that was interrupted by subpar play, long-term injury or major illness.
The voice of fans proved critical as a dead heat for third place in the Jack Adams Award was broken by fan ballot. All told, 16 of the NHL’s 31 teams featured at least one representative voted as winner or finalist in the 2017-18 Midseason Awards.
And the winners are:
Hart Trophy - to the player adjudged to be most valuable to his team. 1. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning 2. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche 3. John Tavares, New York Islanders
Norris Trophy - to the defenseman who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position. 1. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning 2. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings 3. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars
Selke Trophy - to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. 1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins 2. Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers 3. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles KingsCalder Trophy - to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition. 1. Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders 2. Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks 3. Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Trophy - to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. 1. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames 2. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs 3. Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo Sabres
Vezina Trophy - to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position. 1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning 2. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets 3. Pekka Rinne, Nashville PredatorsJack Adams Award - to the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success. 1. Gerard Gallant, Vegas Golden Knights 2. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning 3. Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets
GM of the Year Award - to the General Manager adjusted to have contributed most to his team's success. 1. George McPhee, Vegas Golden Knights 2. Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay Lightning 3. Ray Shero, New Jersey Devils
Rod Langway Award - to the defenseman who best excels in the defensive aspect of the game. 1. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings 2. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins 3. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Comeback Player of the Year Award - to the player who returned to a previous high level of performance that was interrupted by subpar play, long-term injury or major illness. 1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning 2. Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils 3. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers