By JD Lagrange – While a vast majority of Habs’ fans were wanting the team to draft Shane Wright, the fact that he slipped to fourth overall and that another center, Logan Cooley, was selected ahead of him, served as a serious dose of reality. It seems like now, most Canadiens’ fans are rallying behind their favourite team’s choice of Juraj Slafkovsky and things are back to normal… for now.
In a tweet this morning, Slovak hockey insider Tomas Prokop provided us with some new information about Montreal’s shiny new toy. Tonight is the Hockey Slovakia hockey awards and according to the insider, the Canadiens’ top prospect is the front-runner to become the youngest winner of the Player of the Year award in history.
Further, Prokop states that Slafkovsky will be returning to Montreal next week and will be training with friend and compatriot Filip Mesar in preparation for the Canadiens’ rookie camp, scheduled to start on September 14th.
The Canadiens will participate in a rookie tournament in Buffalo this year as well. The Canadiens will be joining the Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Each team will play three games in the tournament.
The Mini-Habs will face the Buffalo Sabres rookies on Thursday, September 15th, the New Jersey Devils rookies on Friday, September 16th and the rookies for the Ottawa Senators on the afternoon of Sunday, September 18th.
By CTL Staff – The NHL Awards are just around the corner and we have polled our staff to provide you with their picks for each one of them. We have also added the Montreal Canadiens’ Awards in a similar style, for your reading pleasure. Don’t hesitate to share your own choices in the comments! Happy reading.
An annual award given to the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.
Victor Hedman (TBL)
Roman Josi (NAS)
Cale Makar (COL)
Marc-André Breault: Roman Josi – What a season for him. He missed the 100 points mark by just four points! Makar is flashier but Josi deserves it.
Bob Trask: Roman Josi – He accomplished what he did on a mediocre team. Hedman and Makar both had the benefit of stronger teammates.
Sylvain Perreault: Cale Makar – Just because of the magic he brings on the ice. I personally like more Ds that excel in all facet of the game, but it’s impossible to ignore the 23 year-old phenom.
JD Lagrange: Cale Makar – Tough choice, all three are great. Difference? Makar plays twice as much as Josi on the PK. Norris is for best all-around.
The Vezina Trophy is an annual award given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.
Jacob Markstrom (CGY)
Juuse Saros (NAS)
Ago Shesterkin (NYR)
Marc-André Breault: Igor Shesterkin – Because he had a very good goals against average of 2.07 and a .935 saves percentage. Yes, .935! Wow!
Bob Trask: Igor Shesterkin – Not sure it could be anyone else.
Sylvain Perreault: Igor Shesterkin – Who else! For a generational goalie (King Henrik) to the next one (Prince Igor). He, by himself made the Rangers cup contenders for many years to come.
JD Lagrange: Igor Shesterkin – Although he played 10 fewer games than Markstrom and 15 fewer than Saros. Those numbers are amazing!
An annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL, selected in a PWHA poll.
Michael Bunting (TOR)
Moritz Seider (DET)
Trevor Zegras (ANA)
Marc-André Breault: Moritz Seider – Bunting is 26 but it was his first season. Not easy at 26 or 18.
Bob Trask: Moritz Seider – Playing big minutes on defense as a rookie is an accomplishment in itself. Still has some things to work on defensively but for me, he stands out.
Sylvain Perreault: Moritz Seider – For anyone who has seen him play a couple time. This guy looked like a 10 year veteran.
JD Lagrange: Moritz Seider – What this young man has done this season is extremely underrated because he doesn’t play on a good team. Young defensemen don’t get enough credit as most voters are drawn to points.
The Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association in all NHL cities at the end of the regular season.
Auston Matthews (TOR)
Connor McDavid (EDM)
Igor Shesterkin (NYR)
Marc-André Breault: Connor McDavid – I think Toronto can be good without Matthews. Edmonton not sure without McDavid. Shesterkin is really close because he had a really good season.
Bob Trask: Connor McDavid – He absolutely brings fans out of their seats, piles up the points and is a key reason an otherwise mediocre team finished as high as it did. In my mind, he is more important to Edmonton than Matthews is to Toronto – but it’s close.
Sylvain Perreault: Igor Shesterkin – Without him…
JD Lagrange: Connor McDavid – I strongly believe that if McDavid played in Toronto and Matthews was in Edmonton, it wouldn’t even be a debate. I get to see McDavid a lot and he’s by far the best player in the NHL.
BILL MASTERTON MEMORIAL
An annual award under the trusteeship of the PHWA and is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Zdeno Chara (NYI)
Kevin Hayes (PHI)
Carey Price (MTL)
Marc-André Breault: Kevin Hayes – For what he’s been through with his brother and injuries.
Bob Trask: Kevin Hayes – I’m going to go against the grain here. He overcame physical injuries and loss of his brother. Tough circumstances. Price was a very, very close second. What tipped it for me was that Hayes played more than half a season.
Sylvain Perreault: Kevin Hayes – Injuries, lost his brother and continue to inspire people around him.
JD Lagrange: Kevin Hayes – Carey Price is not truly back. He only played a few games and his future is still as uncertain as it was before. Hayes came back from injuries and losing his brother.
FRANK J. SELKE
The Frank J. Selke Trophy is an annual award given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
Aleksander Barkov (FLA)
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)
Elias Lindholm (CGY)
Marc-André Breault: Patrice Bergeron – Who can be better than him?
Bob Trask: Patrice Bergeron – He has been so good defensively that the trophy should almost be renamed the Bergeron Trophy.
Sylvain Perreault: Patrice Bergeron – Because… one last time. He was still a dominant force all season.
JD Lagrange: Patrice Bergeron – In all due respect to Barkov and Lindholm, who are excellent defensive forwards, they are a notch below Bergeron who exemplifies what the Selke is all about.
LADY BYNG MEMORIAL
Given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
Aleksander Barkov (FLA)
Sean Monahan (CGY)
Ryan O’Reilly (STL)
Marc-André Breault: Aleksander Barkov – I don’t watch many games and surely not the late western game. But I like how Barkov’s play. Never hits a guy for nothing.
Bob Trask: Aleksander Barkov – When I look at his production, he is a clear choice for me.
Sylvain Perreault: Aleksander Barkov – Reminds me of Jean Ratelle, Bobby Smith. Style, poise, and plays clean.
JD Lagrange: Aleksander Barkov – That’s one Trophy I would never want to win in hockey, likely because I like “in-your-face” type players. Sportsmanship? Okay. Gentlemanly conduct? Nah!
Presented to the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success, selected in a poll of NHLBA members.
Darryl Sutter (CGY)
Andrew Brunette (FLA)
Gerard Gallant (NYR)
Marc-André Breault: Gerard Gallant – Because his name sounds Québécois (j/k). I think he had a really great season with a young team. He knows how to elevate his team.
Bob Trask: Sheldon Keefe – Since the departure of Mike Babcock, Keefe has gradually transformed the Leafs into an elite team. Playoff success is not there yet but that shouldn’t take away from his body of work.
Sylvain Perreault: Gerard Gallant – He will finally get recognized for his talent and prove that 50 year-old + coached can still lead teams to the greatest honours.
JD Lagrange: Andrew Brunette – It’s hard not to give this to the coach who led his team to the President’s Trophy, particularly that it was so unexpected.
KING CLANCY MEMORIAL
Given to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.
Ryan Getzlaf (ANA)
Darnell Nurse (EDM)
PK Subban (NJD)
Marc-André Breault: Ryan Getzlaf – For his exceptional career and his last season.
Bob Trask: PK Subban – He always seems to be first to the mark when it comes to comments and contributions surrounding serious issues. There are some things about him that drive me crazy but his community work is to be admired.
Sylvain Perreault: Can’t pick one there. From what I read, all 3 did something incredible for their respective communities. Maybe Getzlaf for his long tenure.
JD Lagrange: Ryan Getzlaf – I like what this Award symbolizes and I’m sure all three are good candidates. But it’s Getzlaf’s last season, all in Anaheim. He’s meant a lot in that City.
And now, the same Awards presented to the Montreal Canadiens’ players.
While some results are starting to trickle in (like Carey Price winning the Masterton), the NHL Awards ceremony will be held on June 21st.