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NHL Player Honors Thus Far in the Season

With the season still on hiatus due to COVID-19, the NHL are making plans to finish out the rest of the 2019-20 season during July and August. The league plans on having teams play in four different arenas and to play three games every day. Of course, there’s still other issues and concerns that come with this including the draft, free agency and the closure of the U.S. – Canadien border. But until then, fans can talk about player honors thus far in the season. There are seven awards that’ll be discussed: points, goals, assists, Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy, Norris Trophy and Hart Trophy.

Points: Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

Leon Draisaitl scores a goal
Leon Draisaitl celebrates after scoring a goal against the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 2, 2019. Image courtesy: Ian Kucerak

After four years of being behind Connor McDavid in Edmonton’s leading points getter, Leon Draisaitl finally beat out McDavid with 110 points. Draisaitl’s game consists of scoring goals and getting assists, which makes him a dangerous player on the ice. He can score from virtually anywhere while also giving assists for his teammates to score. The question now is if Draisaitl and McDavid can lead this Edmonton Oilers team to victories in the playoffs.

Goals: David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins) and Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)

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Okay. There should be only one person, but you can make a case for both of them. Pastrnak and Ovechkin are tied with 48 goals this season. Pastrnak scored his first 25 goals in Boston’s first 27 games making him the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 25-goal marker that quickly. However, Ovechkin’s 48 goals seem to have more meaning behind it since he reached the 700 career goal mark on February 22. Ovechkin has played longer than Pastrnak, but Ovechkin can find different ways to score goals which is why his 48 goals have that much more meaning behind it.

Assists: Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

What can’t this guy do? At this point, there isn’t any other explanation that can be said. Well, maybe there’s one more thing that can be said about Draisaitl. His vision on the ice is just as amazing as his counterpart in McDavid. He can get crafty with his passes and that’s because he can be a slick player at times.

Calder Trophy: Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

Cale Makar
Cale Makar continues to show that he belongs in the league as a Calder Trophy favorite. Image courtesy: NHL

Makar may be only 21 years old, but he came into this season as one of the Calder Trophy favorites recording 50 points this season. He’s a well rounded player that can not only work the blue line, but find ways to get scoring chances. His skating ability allows him to break down opponents and finish off with his lightning, quick release. There seems to be no looking back for Makar and he could be named the league’s best defenseman in the near future.

Vezina Trophy: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Rask is one of the league’s elite goalies and has won the Vezina Trophy in 2013. Rask has a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.12 and a save percentage of .929 this season making him one of two favorites. The other favorite being Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rask isn’t the same goalie as he was during his Vezina Trophy run, but he’s still versatile in the crease finding different ways to make saves.

Norris Trophy: John Carlson, Washington Capitals

If the Stanley Cup trophy wasn’t enough, the Norris Trophy would solidify Carlson’s career if it isn’t solidified already. Carlson leads all defensemen this season with 75 points making him the clear favorite to win the Norris Trophy. He can find ways to score goals and give assists all from the blueline making him a threat on the ice especially on the power play. His contributions for the Capitals on the ice is one of the reasons why the Capitals have been in the conversation of being a Stanley Cup contender for years before winning it in 2018.

Hart Trophy: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

This one was tough, but MacKinnon has shown that he could be the next Hart Trophy winner. MacKinnon has 35 goals and 58 assists giving him a total of 93 points this season. He’s also one of the league’s most versatile players, being able to create plays for himself and his teammates. He’s helped carry this team on his back through some key injuries during the middle parts of the season. 

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