A look at Ryan Pike’s PHWA Awards poll

The 2021-22 season was my fourth as a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and the first time I was selected as a voter in the annual awards. (Spoiler: I was equally excited and horrified by this proposal.) For the sake of transparency, our organization posts details of everyone’s votes for each award on the PHWA website, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to guide everyone through my thought processes for each award.

Grab your favorite drink and let’s dive in!

Bill Masterton Memorial Cup

Presented annually to “the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication in the game of hockey”.

1. Josh Morrissey [Winnipeg]
2. Jack Eichel [Vegas]
3. Justin Danforth [Columbus]

Winner: Carrie Price [Montreal]

Unlike the remaining prizes, which are voted on by only about half of PHWA members, all members can vote on Masterton. Each of the 32 NHL classes nominates players, then total members vote.

Masterton is always a tough vote, because every nominated player has a compelling story. For me, Morrissey’s strong season (on and off the ice) in the wake of his father’s death has resonated with me. As did Eichel’s fight for medical independence – in the context of the NHLPA’s continued advocacy of player rights, Eichel’s victory and having the procedure he favored was absolutely colossal. I’ve always had a poor place for players who have made their way into the NHL, and Danforth, who made his NHL debut at 28 years and 245 days, really shocked me.

There are no “bad” candidates for Masterton, and Price was a well-deserved winner, but I think everyone nominated deserves some love. (31 of 32 specific players received votes.)

Frank J Silk Cup

It is presented annually to “the striker who is the best in the defensive aspects of the game”.

1. Patrice Bergeron [Boston]
2. Anthony Cirelli [Tampa Bay]
3. Elias Lindholm [Calgary]
4. Alexander Barkov [Florida]
5. Ryan O’Reilly [St. Louis]

Winner: Patrice Bergeron

To me, Selke isn’t just a strong attacker’s defensive effects, but the sum of a bunch of things. It’s about challenging missions, death penalties, suppressing opportunities even in strength, and moving ice puck. Essentially, Selke Trophy’s competitor should be able to bury a bit and still have the potential to be a solid performer.

I looked at things like Dobber player usage charts (derived from Rob Vollman’s formula), Evolution Hockey targets over replacement metrics, and Natural Stat Trick shots with and against 60 modified metrics. (The player usage charts were really helpful in understanding the context of how players are using in relation to the rest of their team.)

When I researched everything, Bergeron was the best choice. But Cirelli was unobtrusively close to Bergeron, and I don’t think he got the credit he should for how effective Tampa Bay was because of his contributions. Lindholm, who I’ve seen a lot over the past few seasons, fell into third, and he felt right.

Lady Bing Memorial Cup

It is presented annually to “a player judged to have demonstrated the best in sportsmanship and courteous behavior together with a high level of playing ability.”

1. Jacob Slavin [Carolina]
2. Kyle Connor [Winnipeg]
3. Mitch Marner [Toronto]
4. Jared Spurgeon [Minnesota]
5. Mika Zipanjad [NY Rangers]

Winner: Kyle Connor

For me, Lady Byng is the award given to a player who played a lot, played against strong opponents and didn’t take many penalties. I’m a big fan of the defenders’ attention here, because playing defensively against fast, strong and skillful NHL attackers leads to a lot of penalties. (I was big on the “Vote for Chris Tanif” bandwagon last year.)

After looking at the icy time, the penalties per minute, and dealing with a little opposition, I got my vote order. Yes, there are two defenders on this list.

Calder Memorial Cup

It is presented annually “to the player selected as the most efficient in his first year of competition.”

1. Moritz Cider [Detroit]
2. Michael Banting [Toronto]
3. Trevor Zegras [Anaheim]
4. Lucas Raymond [Detroit]
5. Anton Lundell [Florida]

Winner: Moritz Seder

My attention was mostly directed towards the scoring race, but I took into account the different roles and situations in which the players were used. And given how bad Detroit is in general, I’ve been pretty impressed with Cider whenever I’ve seen him this season.

Lundell beat Carolina Seth Jarvis and Jeremy Swayman of Boston for fifth.

James Norris Memorial Cup

It is presented annually to “the defensive player who throughout the season has demonstrated the greatest all-round ability in a position.”

1. Roman Jose [Nashville]
2. Cal Makar [Colorado]
3. Victor Hedman [Tampa Bay]
4. Adam Fox [NY Rangers]
5. Charlie McAvoy [Boston]

Winner: Cal Makar

For Norris’ team, I looked at the scoring effects, as well as players who played a lot and played a lot in different situations and played well in the situations they were used to. I’m a huge Josie fan this season – see below – and so it was easy to pick him up for this award.

Hart Memorial Cup

Presented annually to “the player judged to be the most valuable to his team”.

1. Auston Matthews [Toronto]
2. Johnny Goudreau [Calgary]
3. Conor MacDavid [Edmonton]
4. Igor Shesterkin [NY Rangers]
5. Roman Jose [Nashville]

Winner: Auston Matthews

I’ve made a distinction here based on award wording: ‘most valuable’ does not mean ‘best’. In terms of value, I looked at the players who were better at certain things and ran with them in that order based on the things that were most important to their team’s success. Matthews excelled at the most difficult thing, which was scoring goals (overall and in five against five). Gaudreau led the league with five points on five points. McDavid led the league in total points. Shesterkin was the best goalkeeper. Josie was the best blueliner player.

NHL All-Rookie Team

My picks from All-Rookie mirrored my Calder’s voices, with Swayman adding in the grid.

straight ahead
1. Michael Banting [Toronto]
2. Trevor Zegras [Anaheim]
3. Lucas Raymond [Detroit]

Winners: Trevor Zegras, Michael Banting, Lucas Raymond

defense
1. Moritz Cider [Detroit]
2. Jimmy Dressdale [Anaheim]

Winners: Moritz Seder and Alexandre Carrier

Goalkeeper
1. Jeremy Swayman [Boston]

Winner: Jeremy Swayman

NHL All-Star Team

Reminder: The Hart Cup is the “most valuable”. All-star rating is the “best” in each position. Because of this distinction, I moved some of my votes a bit, but for the most part, the awards reflect my preferences for the Hart and Norris awards.

I didn’t have Jacob Markstrom on my goalkeeper ballot, simply because I thought Sorokin and Andersen were a little better. But Chesterkin was basically #1 and Sorokin/Andersen/Markstrom as 2A/2B/2C for me.

center
1. Conor MacDavid [Edmonton]
2. Auston Matthews [Toronto]
3. Leon Drysittel [Edmonton]

First Team Winner: Auston Matthews
Team Two Winner: Conor McDavid

right wing
1. Matthew Tkachuk [Calgary]
2. Mitch Marner [Toronto]
3. Miku Rantanin [Colorado]

First Team Winner: Mitch Marner
Second Place Winner: Matthew Tkachuk

left wing
1. Johnny Goudreau [Calgary]
2. Jonathan Huberdow [Florida]
3. Kirill Kaprizov [Minnesota]

First Team Winner: Johnny Goudreau
Runners-up: Jonathan Huberdeau

defense
1. Roman Jose [Nashville]
2. Cal Makar [Colorado]
3. Victor Hedman [Tampa Bay]
4. Adam Fox [NY Rangers]
5. Charlie McAvoy [Boston]
6. Aaron Ekblad [Florida]

First Team Winners: Cal Makar and Roman Jose
Second place winners: Victor Hedman and Charlie McAvoy

Goalkeeper
1. Igor Shesterkin [NY Rangers]
2. Ilya Sorokin [NY Islanders]
3. Frederic Andersen [Carolina]

First Team Winner: Igor Shesterkin
Second place winner: Jacob Markstrom

It was a humbling and nerve-wracking experience being part of the voting process, but it was really fun to come back and enjoy all the great performances at the league level over the past season.

What is your stance with Ryan Voices? Where do you think Ryan was so far from rock music? Let us know in the comments!

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