Blackhawks Division Rivals Fill NHL Award Finalist Spots

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Blackhawks Division Rivals Fill NHL Award Finalist Spots

Chicago Blackhawks

Wednesday morning, we learned the identities of the three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, the final award for players’ on-ice contributions that has three finalists named. All of the NHL’s individual awards presented annually to players have had the finalists now revealed, and two things have become painfully apparent if Blackhawks fans are paying attention.

1. The Blackhawks aren’t finalists for any awards.
2. The Blackhawks are in a division with finalists for almost every award.

Ugh… another not-so-subtle reminder that the Hawks are staring at a serious uphill climb in the Central. Of course, when the Blackhawks were on top of the game, they were receiving recognition and winning awards almost annually. But now that they’re down, the rest of the division has star players being touted by the writers and their fellow players.

Here’s where players from division rivals have been named as finalists.

Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, Tampa
Roman Josi, Nashville*
Cale Makar, Colorado*

Yes, in the assessment of the PHWA, two of the top-three defensemen in the league right now happen to play in the Central. And one of Josi or Makar will probably win it this year.

Vezina Trophy

Igor Shesterkin, NY Rangers
Jacob Markstrom, Calgary
Juuse Saros, Nashville*

Saros being a finalist likely doesn’t surprise Blackhawks fans; some of his best work came at the expense of Chicago this season. It appears Shesterkin will run away with this one, but two of the three finalists are from the Western Conference, and one — like Josi — is in Nashville.

Calder Trophy

Michael Bunting, Toronto
Moritz Seider, Detroit
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim

There are no Central Division players in this one, but plenty of Hawks fans have cried over the team taking Kirby Dach over Zegras this season. I’m willing to give the two players a few more years before we make our ruling official, but Zegras is a highlight reel player. Of course, Zegras is a Rookie of the Year candidate after Dach is completing his third NHL season (with the huge asterisk that last year was limited because of his wrist), so maybe that speaks to Anaheim allowing Zegras to develop more than Bowman and Co. did with Dach?

Hart Trophy

Auston Matthews, Toronto
Connor McDavid, Edmonton
Igor Shesterkin, NY Rangers

There are no Central Division players here, but some have made the case that goaltenders (like pitchers with the Cy Young Award in baseball) have their own trophy (the Vezina), so why is Shesterkin an MVP candidate? Well, he was that good this season. Some have argued that Josi and/or Makar could have been a finalist here, and they’re both in the Central.

Ted Lindsay Award

Auston Matthews, Toronto
Connor McDavid, Edmonton
Roman Josi, Nashville*

The Lindsay is awarded to the MVP as voted on by the players — not the media. And the players view Josi as one of the three best players in the game this year (see my comments about the Hart).

Bill Masteron Trophy

Kevin Hayes, Flyers
Zdeno Chara
, Islanders
Carey Price, Canadiens

There isn’t a Central Division finalist here, but Kevin Hayes was the Hawks’ first-round pick back in 2010 and opted to sign elsewhere when his career at Boston College concluded. He’s been through hell this year, dealing with injuries and the awful, stunning death of his brother (and former Hawks forward) Jimmy before the season started.

Selke Trophy

Aleksander Barkov, Florida
Patrice Bergeron, Boston
Elias Lindholm, Calgary

There is just one finalist here from the Western Conference, and Lindholm isn’t in the Central Division (thankfully). Bergeron has held this award captive for nearly a decade, but the torch may be passed this year. However, there’s some question if this was Bergeron’s final season, so maybe the voters cap his career with one more Selke?

Lady Byng Trophy

Kyle Connor, Winnipeg*
Jaccob Slavin, Carolina
Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota*

The Lady Byng Trophy is awarded annually to “the player who best combines sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct with a high standard of playing ability.” And two of the three finalists this year are from the Central Division. Slavin won the award last year; his brother, Josiah, appeared in 15 games for the Blackhawks this season and scored 18 goals in 49 games for the IceHogs.

The remaining awards awaiting the reveal of the finalists are the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year), which will happen on Wednesday, and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which will be announced on Friday. The King Clancy Memorial Trophy is given annually to “the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.”

Only the winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award is announced; there are no finalists.

The winners of the 2022 NHL Awards will be revealed during the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format, and times to be announced.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab