The NHL handed out all of its top individual hardware on Wednesday, and now the second wave of debate can begin. Was Taylor Hall the right choice for the Hart Trophy? How did Victor Hedman win the Norris Trophy over P.K. Subban and Drew Doughty? And how big was the chasm in voting between George McPhee and the rest of the league’s GMs? (Hint: Not as wide as you might expect.)
Here are the complete voting results from the 2018 NHL Awards, with a quick look at what stands out:
HART TROPHY — Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
Voting Results: Hall’s narrow margin of victory speaks to how important both he and Nathan MacKinnon were to their teams this season. It was largely a one-man show in both New Jersey and Colorado, and they’re worthy of the one-two finish atop Hart voting. The 70 points separating Hall and MacKinnon make this the tightest Hart finish since Alex Ovechkin narrowly defeated Sidney Crosby in 2012-13. Ovechkin had 1,090 voting points to Crosby’s 1,058. Also of note is how close Claude Giroux was to the third “finalist” spot in voting, as only five points separated he and Anze Kopitar. Interesting to note that Nikita Kucherov, once viewed as the runaway leader in the Hart race, didn’t receive a single first-place vote while both Blake Wheeler and William Karlsson did.
NORRIS TROPHY — Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Voting Results: On point totals, it doesn’t appear like a landslide victory for Hedman, but he nearly doubled up Drew Doughty when it comes to first-place votes as the league’s best defenseman. Hedman’s first Norris victory seems to be the result of his ability to find that mix of top-tier offensive contributions and heavy defensive responsibility. He finished the season fifth in points by a blueliner and fifth in average ice time among rearguards. Meanwhile, points alone were apparently enough to get Erik Karlsson a second-place vote. He finished sixth in scoring on an abysmal Senators team. Likewise, Dougie Hamilton earned himself one second-place nod despite finishing 22nd in scoring and 63rd in average ice time. He was tremendous down the stretch and led defensemen with 17 goals.
VEZINA TROPHY — Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Voting Results: After three top-three Vezina finishes in his career, Rinne finally brought the award home and did so in convincing fashion with 22 of the 31 first-place votes. However, there were two ballots that didn’t include Rinne at all, just as there were five voters that didn’t include runner-up Connor Hellebuyck and 20 that left third-place finisher Andrei Vasilevskiy off. There were a few bizarre first-place votes, as well, with Frederik Andersen and Marc-Andre Fleury earning top honors. Andersen finished 10th among goalies who played at least 41 games in save percentage and fourth in wins. Meanwhile, Fleury finished second in save percentage among that group while playing only 46 games. By those parameters, Antti Raanta should've had a first-place vote ahead of Fleury given Raanta had a superior SP — .930 to .927 — with one more game played. Tough to figure that one out.
CALDER TROPHY — Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders
Voting Results: Barzal — who tied for 13th in scoring among all players, not just rookies, with 85 points — finished first on 160 of the 164 ballots and was rated no lower than third by any single voter. However, that he even finished as “low” as third on one ballot is somewhat jarring. The skaters who pulled first-place nods away from Barzal include Brock Boeser, who would've made the Calder race much tighter if not for injury; Clayton Keller, who finished second in rookie scoring; and, surprisingly, Yanni Gourde, a 26-year-old rookie who finished sixth in overall voting. For all the talk about Charlie McAvoy getting snubbed by voters, he didn’t even finish fourth and was actually surpassed by Kyle Connor by season’s end, with the Jets youngster earning 35 more voting points than his Bruins counterpart.
SELKE TROPHY — Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Voting Results: There was some belief ahead of the end of the regular season that Kopitar, who was spectacular this year, could end up winning the Selke as a consolation prize of sorts for missing out on the Hart. And while we can’t say for certain that’s what happened, this season was hardly the best defensive year of his career, and it felt like Sean Couturier’s year. Sure enough, though, Kopitar nearly doubled Couturier in first-place votes, while Selke mainstay Patrice Bergeron came up short in his pursuit of a record fifth Selke. It was nice to see Mikko Koivu, Radek Faksa and Brayden Point get some love for their play this season. Strange to see John Tavares earn a fifth-place vote, though, given the Islanders were the worst defensive team in the NHL.
LADY BYNG TROPHY — William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights
Voting Results: Karlsson, who had 12 penalty minutes all season long, won the award, but it’s hard not to feel as though some votes went his way as a nod for his overall success. Ryan O’Reilly, who finished second, had one penalty called against him all season despite the eighth-highest average ice time among all forwards, yet he wasn’t able to overtake Karlsson to win the award. The most interesting player in the top five, though, is Jared Spurgeon, who only took eight penalty minutes across 61 games as a blueliner. That’s incredible in today’s game, and he’s only the third defenseman to have fewer than 10 penalty minutes in a season of 60-plus games in the post-lockout era. As one might expect, though, the voting for an award with a definition as broad as the Lady Byng is scattered. Case in point, MacKinnon and David Pastrnak tied for 33rd in voting with one first-place vote apiece. All told, 21 different players received first-place votes and 11 earned at least 100 points.
JACK ADAMS AWARD — Gerard Gallant, Vegas Golden Knights
Voting Results: Gerard Gallant absolutely ran away with coach-of-the-year honors, earning 102 of a possible 108 first-place votes. Somehow, though, there was one ballot where Gallant didn’t finish first, second or third in Jack Adams voting. It’s difficult to understand the thought process there. Nevertheless, it’s also interesting to see John Hynes finish sixth given he had a similar single-season turnaround as Paul Maurice — a 27-point increase by his team — and helped New Jersey reach the post-season for the first time in several years. Meanwhile, Stanley Cup-winning coach Barry Trotz finished 11th with four points. He got the piece of hardware every coach was really after, though.
GM OF THE YEAR AWARD — George McPhee, Vegas Golden Knights
Voting Results: McPhee ran the most successful expansion draft in NHL history and built a first-year club that made it all the way to the Stanley Cup final. He was a lock. Surprising to see, though, is how close the voting actually was, all things considered. McPhee only bested fellow Western Conference finalist GM Kevin Cheveldayoff by 42 points despite having a 17-vote edge in first-place nods. Steve Yzerman also earned a first-place vote for his work with the Lightning, as did Joe Sakic, who was patient in orchestrating a great trade for Matt Duchene, and Brian MacLellan, who made arguably the best deadline deal of all in acquiring Michal Kempny. There was one extraordinarily bizarre ballot here, however. Ron Hextall earned a first-place vote despite making not a single impactful signing or trade and, as far as the immediate was concerned, getting taken to the cleaners in the Brayden Schenn swap with the St. Louis Blues.
NHL ALL-STAR TEAMS
FIRST TEAM — Connor McDavid (C); Taylor Hall (LW); Nikita Kucherov (RW); Victor Hedman, Drew Doughty (D); Pekka Rinne (G)
SECOND TEAM — Nathan MacKinnon (C); Claude Giroux (LW); Blake Wheeler (RW); P.K. Subban, Seth Jones (D); Connor Hellebuyck (G)
ALL-ROOKIE TEAM — Mathew Barzal, Brock Boeser, Clayton Keller (F); Charlie McAvoy, Will Butcher (D); Juuse Saros (G)
Voting Results: Nothing stands out, really, when it comes to the final tallies, as the players one would have expected to make the all-star squads are all present. However, there were some positional oddities that found their way into the voting. For instance, Hall and Giroux, both of whom played the wing all season, earned votes as centers. Matter of fact, Giroux tied Sidney Crosby with 13 points as an all-star center while also appearing in the voting for all three positions. Meanwhile, Kopitar, one of the league’s top two-way centers and the Selke winner for his play down the middle, earned a third-place vote as a left winger.