Who are the frontrunners for the NHL's most prestigious awards? 2021-22 mid-season honors


(Paul Sancya/AP)

 

For most teams in the NHL, we are officially a little over half-way through the current season. With the All-Star break behind us, and the trade deadline a little over a month away, I thought we'd take a look at who I think are currently the frontrunners for the NHL's five major awards at this point in the season.

 
Hart Trophy (League MVP)

Alex Ovechkin - Washington Capitals


This is a really close race. From what I've gathered after reading other mid-season award lists, most writers believe that the race for the Hart is a neck and neck battle between Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid.


I know, boring. Who wants to see McDavid or Ovechkin win another Hart Trophy? McDavid has won the prestigious award twice in his 7-year career, and Ovi has won it three times in his 17 years in the league. But when two guys dominate their sport as often as these two do, you really can't complain, we get to see true greatness night in and night out, after all.


However, I have to give the edge to the guy who's on pace to score upwards of 60 goals this season. The Capitals are in a playoff spot, and the Oilers aren't. Therefore, I believe Ovechkin is more valuable to his team than McDavid is at this point in time.


Runners up:

  • Connor McDavid - Edmonton Oilers

  • Leon Draisaitl - Edmonton Oilers

 
Norris Trophy (Defenseman of the year)

Cale Makar - Colorado Avalanche


Colorado's 23-year old defenseman has been nothing but sensational this year. It seems as if Makar has made the highlight reel night after night, as the first place Avalanche march toward the playoffs at an alarming rate.


It was hard to choose Makar over my guy, Adam Fox, but I'm going to remain patient. This Norris Trophy race is possibly the most hotly contested in the league, and the likes of Fox and Roman Josi could leap frog Makar any day now.


Runners up:

  • Adam Fox - New York Rangers

  • Roman Josi - Nashville Predators

 
Vezina Trophy (Goalie of the year)

Igor Shesterkin - New York Rangers


I know, it's going to sound completely biased, but this race isn't even close. Don't believe me? Fine, don't take my word for it. Just go look up the dozens of other articles covering this topic and you'll find that the consensus seems to be that Shesterkin is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, and is absolutely running away with this award.


Runners up:

  • Jack Campbell - Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Frederik Andersen - Carolina Hurricanes

 
Calder Trophy (Rookie of the year)

Lucas Raymond - Detroit Red Wings


It was really hard for me to give this award to Raymond over Trevor Zegras, but numbers just don't lie. Stats wise, Raymond is absolutely dominating all rookies in the NHL and is the most likely recipient of the Calder come season's end.


However, as far as cultural impact goes, you have to give that edge to Zegras. For a 20-year old American kid to be considered by many as the "new face of the NHL" over guys like Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin? In a league dominated by Canadian players? I think that's a pretty big deal. Zegras becoming a household name is best-case scenario for the league’s plan to grow the game within the United States.


Runners up:

  • Trevor Zegras - Anaheim Ducks

  • Moritz Seider - Detroit Red Wings

 
Selke Trophy (Defensive forward of the year)

Patrice Bergeron - Boston Bruins


The Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the offensive player who best exemplifies defensive prowess, has been mainly dominated by Patrice Bergeron over the majority of his 18-year career. Bergeron has won the award four times so far, and is likely looking at his fifth title here in 2022.


Runners up:

  • Auston Matthews - Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Matthew Tkachuk - Calgary Flames


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