Early awards picks
ESPN's George Johnson has his early season picks for the various NHL awards, something I've been meaning to put together all week.
Hart: Nicklas Lidstrom
It's high time he gets his due as the best player in the game. When Lidstrom's on the ice at even strength, the Red Wings score 3.94 goals per 60 minutes and allow just 1.51. When he's on the bench, those totals are 2.01 and 1.91.
HM: Vincent Lecavalier, Henrik Lundqvist
Norris: Nicklas Lidstrom
Lidstrom's an amazing specimen. He rates at the top of the league in almost every offensive and defensive metric there is, and is going to go down as one of the all-time greats.
HM: Zdeno Chara, Derek Morris
Calder: Jon Toews
It's really a neck-and-neck race between Toews and teammate Patrick Kane, but I think Atlanta's Toby Enstrom, as Johnson notes, deserves some mention as well. (I'll have more on Enstrom in the near future, as he deserves his own post.)
Vezina: Henrik Lundqvist
On a team that has struggled to score all season, King Henrik has been their saving grace. He's been a runner-up for this award twice already and is a great bet to win it this time around, even if it's absurd that Roberto Luongo still doesn't have one.
HM: Pascal Leclaire, Roberto Luongo
Lady Byng: Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Defencemen, for some reason, never ever get consideration for this award, and there are more than a few guys who are deserving.
HM: Nicklas Lidstrom, Ron Hainsey, Tom Poti, Marc Staal
Selke: Sami Pahlsson
Johnson unfortunately picks Rod Brind'Amour, who at this point isn't even the top defensive forward on his own team — despite what pundits continue to suggest. Pahlsson should have won this last season, so the award's his this time around, but my honourable mentions are having terrific seasons as well.
HM: John Madden, Patrick Sharp
Jack Adams: Andy Murray
All I'll say is that Manny Legace is a legitimate Vezina Trophy candidate. It's been an incredible turnabout in St. Louis.
HM: Wayne Gretzky, Claude Julien, Ken Hitchcock