The NHL Awards take place tonight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. You can catch the ceremony at 7pm ET on Sportsnet. This year, three players from the Ottawa Senators are nominated for trophies. Captain Erik Karlsson is nominated for best defenseman, Mark Stone for best rookie, and Andrew Hammond for perseverance and dedication to hockey. To date, seven individual awards have been won by members of the Senators. Former captain Daniel Alfredsson won the Calder Award for best rookie in 1996, won the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2012, and the King Clancy Award in 2013 for community leadership. Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy in 2012. Former coaches Jacques Martin and Paul MacLean won the Jack Adams for best coach in 1999 and 2013, respectively. Finally, defenseman Wade Redden was awarded the since-discontinued NHL Plus/Minus Award in 2006.
Here’s a breakdown of this year’s nominees from the Senators:
Karlsson is nominated for his second Norris Trophy as best defenseman in the NHL, having previously won the award for his phenomenal 78-point season in 2011-12. Karlsson led the Senators in scoring with 66 points and set a career high (and franchise high for a defenseman) with 21 goals. He also led all defenseman in scoring, with six points more than Brent Burns and PK Subban. Karlsson faces very healthy competition – PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens won the Norris himself in 2013, while Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty won the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP just last season. Sports books have Karlsson as the favourite to win, but we shall see during the ceremony.
Stone, who turned 23 years old last month, is nominated for the Calder Trophy, which is awarded to the top rookie in the NHL. Stone had an outstanding season, as he led all Senators forwards in points and tied Johnny Gaudreau for most points by a rookie. His 26 goals were second only behind another Senators rookie, Mike Hoffman, for most by a rookie. Despite the impressive season, Stone faces stiff competition. Gaudreau of the Flames is 21 years old and stands at just 5’9″, while Florida Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad stepped right out the OHL to dominate the NHL at just 18-years old.
Hammond came out of absolutely nowhere to shatter NHL records with impenetrable goaltending when the Senators’ season was on the ropes. Hammond finished the regular season with an improbable 20-1-2 record, with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage. He is nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which awards perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Hammond serves as an inspiration to everyone out there. You may wait years for your chance to come, but when it does you had better seize the opportunity. The other nominees are Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild, who had a similarly impressive stretch as Hammond, after nearly playing his way out of the NHL last year. Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins suffered a stroke two seasons ago and missed a large part of last season following a concussion.
Good luck to all the nominees and enjoy the event, everyone!
Title image courtesy of CBC.