The 2013-14 NHL Awards: A transparent look at 1 voter’s ballot

Justin Bourne

This is my second full year as a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, which means I’m one of the folks who has the privilege of voting on the annual NHL awards. I’m once again taking the responsibility seriously, as the awards can actually affect the lives of players (particularly in a financial way), and they most certainly affect the historical record of our game.

The goal of voting is simply to award trophies to players who legitimately earned them during the given season. That means where there are obvious answers, you give them, and don’t try to get too cute about it. And, of course, having stats to back up your opinions is pretty key.

Aside from my own viewing and opinions, I largely used NHL.comExtra Skater, and HockeyDB for research.

(My 2013 ballot can be read here.)

(1) NHL Trophies

HART TROPHY (“to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”) — Five selections

I choose to vote for the Hart Trophy a very specific way, which I’ve laid out in full here. The short form of that piece is basically this commentary by Tyler Delow:

“’Player adjudged most valuable to his team’ can mean two things. The lunatic interpretation is ‘Player whose share of the total value of his team is greatest.’ This is the one people are adopting. The sane people interpretation is ‘Player who provides the most value to his team’ with “value” being simply a raw counting number, not factoring in how much total value his team has. I mean, on the criteria these people are explicitly adopting, Zack Stortini could win the Hart, if you put him on a team with 19 mes. “Well, that team was the worst team in NHL history, but Stortini is undeniably miles ahead of all those Dellows.”

And this quick add-on from myself in that piece:

So my point is, after that long walk, let’s say the Hart was for “value provided to team,” literally. What would be the point of that? What are we trying to identify? The worst team who had the most disproportionately great player? That’s just a luck award for one of the league’s best players. It would be pointless.

That’s just my personal take on it. Just thought I’d let you in on how I choose to vote.

Anyway, on to the actual votes!

1) Sidney Crosby - Pittsburgh Penguins

In 2013-14 Sidney Crosby was simply the league’s most valuable asset. His 104 points were 17 greater than the next closest player, giving Sid the largest statistical margin of victory since Jaromir Jagr in 1998-99 (20, over Teemu Selanne). While points aren’t everything, I don’t feel like much explanation is needed here.

2) Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers

3) Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks

4) Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins

5) Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars

Benn tied for 8th in league scoring with Alex Ovechkin. He and Tyler Seguin dragged the Stars into playoffs for the first time since 2007-08. He drove play, finished 7th in the league in shots, and created room for his linemates to flourish. He’s a bull, and he had a hell of a season.

NORRIS TROPHY (“to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”) — Five selections

1) Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins won the President’s Trophy this year thanks in large part to the work of captain Zdeno Chara.

I tend to think the Bruins d-corps, as young as it is with Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Matt Barkowski, and Kevan Miller, is a little overrated. They need Chara to eat big minutes, to use his long reach to break up plays, to physically intimidate opponents from being able to play comfortably. I believe that he is the most important piece in the perceived make-up of the Bruins – the Big Bad Bruins – and without him, they look like a totally different team.

I believe he single-handedly affected the outcome of more games than any other defender.

2) Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild

3) Drew Doughty - Los Angeles Kings

From here on, the decisions were hell. I could’ve made and remade this list 100 times, each one different, and people would’ve largely said “Yeah, that makes sense.

4) Mark Giordano - Calgary Flames

A reminder, this isn’t a list of the best defenseman in the league, it’s a list of defensemen who had the best seasons. It kills me to not have Victor Hedman, Shea Weber and Duncan Keith on here. But when the Flames didn’t have Giordano on the ice, they were a trainwreck. To put up the numbers he did on that team – the guy was a plus-12 while driving possession and scoring 47 points in 64 games (.73, third among d-men) – was truly remarkable.

5) Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis Blues

I have Pietrangelo ahead of Duncan Keith because I tend to think the perception of Keith is inflated thanks to second assists on a hugely skilled team. Pietro spends a bit more time on the ice, and controls the play a remarkable amount.

CALDER TROPHY (“to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition”) — Five selections

(Note: An eligible player cannot have played more than 25 NHL games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons. A player must not have attained his 26th birthday by Sept. 15 of the season in which he is eligible.)

1) Nathan MacKinnon - Colorado Avalanche

2) Ondrej Palat – Tampa Bay Lightning

3) Tyler Johnson - Tampa Bay Lightning

4) Olli Maatta – Pittsburgh Penguins

5) Hampus Lindholm – Anaheim Ducks (Brutal division.)

Not having Torey Krug and his 40 points as a defenseman on the list, but I’ve gotta admit to being influenced by his age (23) and his previous experience with the Bruins (15 playoff games). Maatta (19) and Lindholm (20) had remarkable years from the backend, and just feel more like true rookies.

Also, shout out to Jacob Trouba, another young d-man who had a great year.

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”) — Five selections

1) Ryan O’Reilly – Colorado Avalanche

2) Frans Nielsen –  New York Islanders

3) Nick Leddy – Chicago Blackhawks (31 points in 82 games played, only 10 PIMs playing while defense 16:22 a night. That’s not easy to do.)

4) Marcus Johansson – Washington Capitals

5) Loui Eriksson – Boston Bruins

SELKE TROPHY (“to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”) — Five selections

1) Patrice Bergeron - Boston Bruins

2) Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings

3) Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks

4) David Backes – St. Louis Blues

5) Ryan O’Reilly – Colorado Avalanche

How about O’Reilly: one of the leagues best two way players, and can do it without taking penalties. How valuable is he?

(2) NHL All-Star Team

CENTER — Three selections

1) Sidney Crosby - Pittsburgh Penguins

2) Claude Giroux - Philadelphia Flyers

3) Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks

RIGHT WING — Three selections

1) Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks

2) Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs

3) Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks

LEFT WING — Three selections

1) Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks

2) Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars

3) Patrick Sharp – Chicago Blackhawks

DEFENSE — Six selections

1) Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins

2) Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild

3) Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings

4) Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis Blues

5) Mark Giordano – Calgary Flames

6) Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning

GOALTENDER — Three selections

1) Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins

2) Semyon Varlamov – Colorado Avalanche

3) Ben Bishop – Tampa Bay Lightning

(3) NHL All-Rookie Team

FORWARD — Three selections, regardless of position

1) Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche

2) Ondrej Palat – Tampa Bay Lightning

3) Tyler Johnson – Tampa Bay Lightning

DEFENSE — Two selections

1) Olli Maatta – Pittsburgh Penguins

2) Hampus Lindholm – Anaheim Ducks

GOAL — One selection

1) Frederik Andersen - Anaheim Ducks

Games played are a tough one with rookie goalies – how many is enough? I’m gonna say that near-30 is about as low as I’m willing to go, so Frederick gets the benefit of the doubt. His .923 save percentage and 2.29 goals against are extremely impressive.