The widely unique 2020-21 NHL regular season has officially come to an end with the conclusion of the annual NHL Awards. Five awards were handed out on Tuesday night, as the league announced the remaining award recipients of some of the biggest accolades in hockey.
Calder Memorial Trophy – Kirill Kaprizov
Kirill Kaprizov of the Minnesota Wild has been named winner of the Calder Trophy, which represents the league’s Rookie of the Year). Kaprizov beat out Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars and Alex Nedeljkovic of the Carolina Hurricanes. Kaprizov is the first rookie in Minnesota Wild history to take home the award. He was the leading scorer for Minnesota this season with 27 goals, while adding 24 assists. He tallied 11 more points than Kevin Fiala, who was right behind him in second place on the team’s point sheet. The forward led all rookies with 27 goals and 51 points. Through 55 games, this also included eight power play goals and 157 shots on goal. On April 17th, the Russian tied former rookie leader Marian Gaborik with 36 points and then 15 more, taking a hefty lead over all Minnesota Wild rookies.
If General Manager Bill Guerin can figure out a contract for this kid, he has the potential to pass Mikko Koivu for most points when he’s all said and done, but certainly not before a few Stanley Cups.
Ted Lindsay And Hart Memorial Trophy – Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers has been named winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy, which represents the league’s Most Valuable Player. He also won the Ted Lindsay Award, which represents the most Outstanding Player. Putting his name on a pair of accolades, McDavid tallied 105 goals, amassing 33 points, which led the league in that category. He did not, however, lead the league in the goals score column. Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs held that title, having racked up a total of 41 goals. As we can see by doing the math, 105-33=72. McDavid was an assist machine, helping teammate Leon Draisaitl en route to 31 goals. When Head Coach Dave Tippett put both these guys on the same line, there was simply no stopping the Edmonton Oilers.
Edmonton did not have a good playoff run, losing in four straight games in round one to the Winnipeg Jets. However, if the team can keep doing what they’re doing and making great deals, such as signing Nugent-Hopkins to an eight-year deal, there is no doubt we will be seeing the Oilers in the playoffs for seasons to come.
Vezina Trophy – Marc-Andre Fleury
If there was ever any debate about whether or not the flower is a future Hall of Fame player, there isn’t anymore. It’s crazy to think that it took 17 NHL seasons for Fleury to even be nominated for the Vezina Award, let alone win it, but in 2021, he finally took the trophy home.
Prior to the start of the season, Fleury’s future was up in the air. With Robin Lehner viewed as the starting goaltender in Vegas, the Golden Knights had reportedly looked at moving Fleury via trade. That being said, things quickly changed. Fleury ran with the chances he was given, so much so that he had arguably his best season to date. Throughout the shortened campaign, he started in 36 games, where he compiled a 26-10-0 record during that stretch. He finished with the third most wins, while also tied for second place for shutouts with six. His .928 save percentage and 1.98 GAA made for the best totals of the Quebec native’s career to date.
James Norris Memorial Trophy – Adam Fox
The New York Rangers sensation had himself a season he will never forget, as he now finds himself surrounded by elite company. In just his second NHL season, Adam Fox was named recipient of the Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s best defensemen. He’s the first player since Bobby Orr and just the second in NHL history to take home this honour in his first two years in the league.
Fox, 23-years-old, has quickly become the cornerstone of the Rangers blue-line. Offensively, he finished as the second-highest scoring defensemen with 47 points across 55 games this season. Putting up record statistics, he sits right behind Tyson Barrie of the Edmonton Oilers. Fox’s 42 assists were the highest marker among defensemen and was the highest total recorded by a second-year since Sergei Zubov, now a Hockey Hall of Famer.
Speaking from an overall standpoint, the righty’s game stretches beyond his offensive efforts. The American’s defensive game was just as impressive. Fox finished the season tied for third in takeaways (38), while also chalking up a Plus/Minus rating of -19. Rounding that out, he sat in 11th place in average ice time, as he saw at least 24:42 per night.