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Introducing the 2021 NHL Awards Finalists

Earlier this week, the NHL began announcing the 2021 NHL Awards finalists. They will continue to announce one a day until Friday, June 11th. The full list of finalists for each award, as well as who I think will take home the hardware, can be found below. This post will be updated daily as more finalists are announced. The winners for each award will be announced during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and the Stanley Cup Final, with the date, time, and format TBA. Earlier this season, I wrote about who should win each award, and my opinion is largely the same for each one, so if you want to know my thoughts on the TBA awards, you can check out those articles out here and here.

Vezina Trophy

The Vezina Trophy finalists were announced first. They are: Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning), Marc-Andre Fleury (Vegas Golden Knights), and Phillip Grubauer (Colorado Avalanche). The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the goaltender who is determined to be the best at his position, and it is voted on by the NHL general managers.

Vasilevskiy seems to be the most likely to win the award, although I strongly believe that Fleury deserves it more. Based on just how good the other two were this season, Grubauer really doesn’t have a chance to win, although that shouldn’t take away from the fact that he had a great season. That being said, I’m not so sure he was more deserving of being a finalist than the likes of Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets). But, he did have a great year so I can’t complain too much.

Ted Lindsay Award

The Ted Lindsay Award finalists were announced on Wednesday. They are: Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), and Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs). The Ted Lindsay Award is given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL. It is voted on by members of the NHLPA.

This award is McDavid’s to lose. Crosby and Matthews had great seasons, but they still weren’t even close to McDavid’s level. Anyone who knows anything about hockey knows that McDavid was the best player in the league season by a long shot, so I would be absolutely shocked if he doesn’t win this.

Calder Memorial Trophy

Yesterday saw the announcement of the Calder Memorial Trophy finalists. They are: Kirill Kaprizov (Minnesota Wild), Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes), and Jason Robertson (Dallas Stars). The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the league’s best rookie. It is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA).

Kaprizov has been the favorite to win the award all year, and for good reason. He set multiple rookie records for the Wild despite the shortened season, led all rookies in goals and points, and led the Wild in scoring. As a result, I think he’ll be the one to take it home. However,  while I believe Kaprizov should and will take home the award, if the one of the others does, it won’t be a big upset because they have excellent cases for the award as well.

King Clancy Memorial Trophy

Today (June 4th), the finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy were announced. They are: P.K. Subban (New Jersey Devils), Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators), and Kurtis Gabriel (San Jose Sharks). The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has also made a significant humanitarian impact on his community. Each team nominates a player, and then a committee of senior NHL executives, lead by Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, select the finalists and the winner.

I am honestly not sure who will get this award because it’s very hard to judge as an outsider. I’m inclined to go with Pekka Rinne for reasons I can’t fully explain, but it certainly could also be the other two. Out of the three, I’d be the most surprised to see Gabriel win despite all he does in the community because he spent a significant chunk of this season on the Sharks’ taxi squad, but it’s still possible. However, it seems more likely that it will be Subban or Rinne, and if I were to choose between the two, I’d go with Rinne.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

To be announced Saturday, June 5th.

The Lady Byng Trophy is awarded annually to the player who exhibits the best sportsmanship and most gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of play. It is voted on by members of the PHWA.

Frank J. Selke Trophy

To be announced Sunday, June 6th.

The Selke Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL’s best defensive forward, and is voted on by the PHWA.

Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award

To be announced Monday, June 7th.

The Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award is given annually to an individual who, through the game of hockey, has made a positive impact on their community, culture, or society. This award is determined differently than the rest. For starters, the public nominate individuals for the award. Next, a committee (that includes Willie O’Ree) selects three semifinalists, and then the public votes on the winner.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

To be announced Tuesday, June 8th.

The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication to hockey, and it is voted on by members of the PHWA.

James Norris Memorial Trophy

To be announced Wednesday, June 9th.

The Norris Trophy is given annually to the league’s best defenseman and is voted on by members of the PHWA.

Hart Memorial Trophy

To be announced Thursday, June 10th.

The Hart Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. It is voted on by members of the PHWA.

Jack Adams Award

To be announced Friday, June 11th.

The Jack Adams Award is given annually to the best coach, and is voted on by members of the PHWA.

Other Awards

There are some NHL awards that have already been awarded since they are not voted on. You can find the winners of those below.

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (most goals)- Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Art Ross Trophy (most points)– Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

William M. Jennings Trophy (given to the goalies whose team allows the fewest goals)– Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner (Vegas Golden Knights)

Lastly, there are also a couple of awards that are voted on that will be announced a bit differently than the others this year. You can find them below.

Mark Messier Leadership Award– Awarded annually to a player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team both on and off the ice. Suggestions for nominees can come from anyone, but the finalists and winner are ultimately selected by Mark Messier himself. However, this year, only the winner will be announced.

Jim Gregory GM of the Year– Awarded annually to the NHL’s best general manager, as determined by a panel that includes all 31 GM, five NHL executives, and five media members. This year, the finalists for this award will be announced at the conclusion of the second round of the playoffs.

-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)

Featured image courtesy of thesportsgeek.com

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