Artemy Panarin - "Hart Memorial Trophy" and "Ted Lindsay Eward"
Artemy Panarin in his very first season with the New York Rangers may become the owner of two prestigious NHL prizes at once. He was nominated for the "Hart Memorial Trophy" and "Ted Lindsay Eward" - awards for the best player of the regular season according to journalists and the hockey players themselves. In both cases, he will face Leon Dreiseitl (Edmonton Oilers) and Nathan McKinnon (Colorado Avalanche).
This season, Panarin has gone from a free agent to an irreplaceable player in the team. The striker became the Rangers' top scorer with 95 points and renewed his best career record in goals and assists in a partial season. At the same time, Panarin was especially good when playing in equal compositions - with 71 points he became the best in the league in this indicator. In 69 games, he was only 15 times unscored, and 12 of these games ended in defeat for the Rangers.
An obstacle to winning one of the two prizes may be the fact that New Yorkers were not formally included in the Stanley Cup at the time of the stop of the season. Only thanks to the introduction of a qualifying round, the Rangers, led by Panarin, will continue the season. But at the same time, their lag was negligible, so the Russian could well have pulled the team into the playoffs, which would have been his main argument.
For Dreiseitl, his statistics speaks - he scored 110 points and was out of reach in the scorer race. He eclipsed one of the main stars of the NHL, Connor McDavid, and that in itself is a significant achievement. The German scored goals for Edmonton while the Canadian was healing the injury, which was critical for the team at the time.
In favor of McKinnon speaks his indispensability for the “Colorado”, which, unlike the “Rangers”, almost climbed to the top in the regular season. The Canadian ice hockey player scored 93 points, while his closest teammate Cale Makar - only 50. McKinnon was not only dangerous at the front gate, but also useful in his zone, while gaining only 12 penalty minutes.
Andrey Vasilevsky - "Vezina Trophy"
This year, Tampa Bay Lightning goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevsky has a chance for the second time in a row to become the owner of the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the best goalkeeper of the regular season. He was among the three nominees along with Tuukka Rusk (Boston Bruins) and Connor Hellebuck (Winnipeg Jets). The last to be voted the best two seasons in a row was Martin Brodeur in 2007 and 2008.
Vasilevsky has every reason to win. He co-authored 35 wins for his team - the best result for goalkeepers this season. He was directly involved in Tampa's incredible 21-game unbeaten streak in regular time and ended up finishing third on the ice among other goalkeepers. Experts from the NHL Network have already recognized Vasilevsky as the best, but now he should be noted by general managers.
But other nominees also have their own achievements. Rusk has already won the William M. Jennings Trophy along with Jaroslav Galak, a trophy awarded to the goalkeepers whose teams have conceded the least goals. Five times the Finn defended his goal to zero. Hellebuck was irreplaceable for Winnipeg. He played 58 games and made the most saves of any goalkeeper. In six matches, the American has issued a "rusk".
At the same time, it should be noted that one more Russian goalkeeper Anton Khudobin was not included in the number of nominees. At first glance, the Dallas Stars goalkeeper really does not fit into this company, since even in his own team he is not the first number and basically replaces Ben Bishop. Khudobin played 30 matches and brought 16 victories, and this is really not enough for Vezina Trophy.
However, it was the native of Ust-Kamenogorsk who became the leader of the regular season in terms of the percentage of reflected shots - exactly 93%. He beat Rusk quite a bit, bypassed Helleback and left Vasilevsky far behind. Together with Bishop, Khudobin seriously claimed the William M. Jennings Trophy, but lost seven goals to Rusk and Galak.
Alexander Ovechkin - "Maurice Richard Trophy"
One Russian hockey player has already won the NHL prize for the regular season. Alexander Ovechkin once again received the Maurice Richard Trophy as the best sniper of the season. No hockey player has won more than two of these awards, and the Washington Capitals striker has done so for the ninth time.
True, in the past season, Maurice Richard had to share with David Pastrnyak from Boston Bruins. Both players scored 48 goals and beat Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maples Leafs by one. At the same time, Ovechkin played 68 matches, and the Czech forward - two more.
According to the results of the playoffs, the Russians will have another chance to fight for the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup. Even more hockey players will be able to claim it than usual, since the season continues for 24 teams at once instead of the usual 16.