FloHockey's Regular-Season Award Winners

FloHockey's Regular-Season Award Winners
Photo: © Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The window for lobbying over which players are deserving of NHL awards consideration is closing. The regular season has come and gone, and the playoffs are underway. After another 42 games, our choices for mid-season award winners have seen some changes.

As a reminder, there are more than 20 awards handed out annually at the end of each season -- a handful are statistics-based and rewarded by leading a given category, including goals, points, and saves. Below, we chose the winners of the eight biggest independent awards for the regular season.

Vezina Trophy

Winner: Sergei Bobrovsky
Considerations: Carey Price, Braden Holtby
Background: Awarded to the league's best goaltender.

At the halfway mark, Devan Dubnyk led the league with a .939 save percentage, 1.39 goals allowed average, and five shutouts as the odds-on favorite to take home the Vezina Trophy and a dark-horse contender for the Hart Trophy, as well.

The second half of the season saw Sergei Bobrovsky and Braden Holtby excel while Dubnyk's torrid pace slowed.

Bobrovsky finished the season with a .931 SV%, 2.07 GAA, leading both categories. His seven shutouts were good enough for third, behind only Holtby (9) and Tuukka Rask (8). Bobrovsky's 41 wins were second to only Holtby (42) and Cam Talbot (42).

Jack Adams Award

Winner: Mike Babcock
Considerations: John Tortorella, Guy Boucher
Background: Awarded to the coach most attributed to his team's success.

Midway through the season, there wasn't much of a case to be made against John Tortorella and his top-of-the-league Columbus Blue Jackets. While Columbus still had a franchise-best season, Mike Babcock's magic in Toronto has overtaken the award.

Babcock brought a Maple Leafs team full of (exceptional) rookies and young veterans together to give the city of Toronto hope. After a 29-42-11 season in 2015-16 and the top overall pick of Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs are looking to return to their glory days.

Babcock's patience and persistence saw the team's record improve to 40-27-15 and earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2012-13.

James Norris Trophy

Winner: Brent Burns
Considerations: Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman
Background: Awarded to the defenseman with the best all-around ability at the position.

Even after a slow end to the season, Burns' 29 goals and 76 points led all defensemen. The award isn't all about the points, but leading your position certainly helps. Burns' plus-19 rating was the third best among the nine defensemen to reach the 50-point plateau.

Burns also paced his position in shots, game-winning goals, and powerplay goals while finishing in the top 10 in nearly every other major category.

There's still an argument to be made for two-time Norris winner Karlsson, who took major strides in his overall defensive game. Hedman also remains in the mix after a career year for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bill Masterton Trophy

Winner: Eric Staal
Considerations: Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa
Background: Awarded to the most persistent and dedicated player in hockey.

Following the season, every team nominates a player to be considered for the Bill Masterton Trophy. 

Staal, 32, rediscovered his game in 2016-17 -- his 13th season overall and his first with the Minnesota Wild. He was their most consistent player with 65 points, his best output since 2011-12, and his 28 goals were his most since 2010-11. His plus-17 rating was also a career best. 

The 36-year-old Zetterberg led the Detroit Red Wings with 66 points, 20 more than his closest teammate. Hossa, 38, scored 26 goals and 45 points to help the Chicago Blackhawks win the Western Conference.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Winner: Johnny Gaudreau
Considerations: Vladimir Tarasenko, Jeff Skinner
Background: Awarded to the most sportsmanlike and gentlemanly player.

The 5-foot-9 Gaudreau was credited with just nine hits on the year and only spent four minutes in the penalty box in 78 games. He recorded 18 goals and 43 assists for 61 points, his lowest output in his three years in the league.

While Gaudreau is certainly undersized, he plays strong on the puck and can give his opponents trouble with his speed and slippery moves.

Tarasenko (39 G, 78 Pts., 12 PIM) and Skinner (37 G, 63 Pts., 22 PIM), are other potential candidates who refuse to retaliate, even when opponents target them night in and night out. 

Frank J. Selke Trophy

Winner: Ryan Kesler
Considerations: Mark Stone, Mikko Koivu
Background: Awarded to the forward who displays the best defensive game.

Kesler finished sixth in faceoff percentage this year, winning 57.4 percent of his draws. He also finished third in average ice time among all forwards (21:18 ATOI), and his 58 points were his best offensive output since 2010-11.

The 32-year-old finished third in Selke voting last season. He was fifth in 2011-12, won it in 2010-11, and finished second and third in the two years prior. Kesler has been a dominant two-way force since he joined the league in 2003-04.

Stone, 24, has led the league in takeaways in each of the past two seasons. Koivu had a rejuvenated year with the Wild, going plus-27 and posting 58 points. He is an annual contender for the Selke Trophy.

Calder Memorial Trophy

Winner: Auston Matthews
Considerations: Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski
Background: Awarded to the league's best rookie player.

Matthews' rookie season started with four goals and ended with 40. The 19-year-old rookie was just one of three players to reach the 40-goal mark and led the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with a handful of other rookies, to their first playoff berth since 2012-13.

The No. 1 overall pick in 2016, Matthews has already grown into the franchise player the Leafs hoped they drafted back in June and led all rookies in goals and points this season. 

Winnipeg's Laine, drafted immediately behind Matthews, was on pace for the Calder before a concussion sidelined him for eight games. He finished the season with 36 goals and 64 points in 72 games.

Hart Memorial Trophy

Winner: Connor McDavid
Considerations: Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand
Background: Awarded to the league's most valuable player.

McDavid has been as advertised since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015. In his last game of the regular season, he tallied two assists to become just the third player in the past four years to reach 100 points.

The 20-year-old led all skaters with 70 assists and 100 points. His plus-27 was the highest among all 42 players who recorded at least 60 points. His incredible season helped carry the Oilers to their first playoff berth since 2005-06.

McDavid stole the spotlight from Crosby, who has been one of the preeminent faces of the NHL since his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005-06 and led the league with 44 goals this season.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.
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