The NHL Awards will be handed out in Vegas tonight. Alex Ovechkin will be there to collect yet another Rocket Richard Trophy for scoring the most goals during the regular season. Sidney Crosby will almost certainly win the Hart and Lindsay. If you ask me, Chara, Bergeron, and Rask should make the Norris, Selke, and Vezina a sweep for the Bruins. But we’ll see.
Thing is– the awards handed out during the televised ceremony only scratch the surface. There’s a ton of exceptional and superlative stuff that happened in the league this season. After peeking at the stats, we’re ready to hand out some more.
The “Always a Bridesmaid” Trophy: Matt Barkowksi
Awarded to the player with the most assists without scoring a goal, we bestow the Bridesmaid to Boston D-man Matt Bartkowski. Recording 18 assists for the Bruins over 64 games and 1250 minutes, Bartkowski managed to take 91 shots without hitting twine even once.
The runner-up was Ville Leino, who got 15 assists but went scoreless on 38 shots in 58 games and is now getting bought out by the Sabres. Philly fans should take solace in knowing that not everyone who leaves town becomes awesome.
The “Party Animal” Fruit Basket: Nazim Kadri
Awarded to the player who sees the most shot attempts by both teams, the Party Animal of 2013-14 is Nazim Kadri. That spunky little dude in Toronto has a tendency to open up play– in both directions– being on the ice for 125 shot attempts by both teams per 60 minutes.
Now, if you want players who open up play but are still awesome, try out Alexander Semin or former-babyface Brent Burns in San Jose, who saw 125 and 123 shot attempts per 60 respectively while also maintaining possession scores above 55 percent. There’s a reason they’re both fan favorites.
The “Party Pooper” Artisanal Candle: Stephen Gionta
Awarded to the player who sees the fewest shot events on ice by either team, this year’s Party Pooper is Stephen Gionta from New Jersey. Before you saw the answer, you just knew it’d be someone from the Devils, right? The ten players with the lowest events / 60 numbers were all Devils. Gionta stifled play more than anyone else, which I guess is a good thing if you hate fun.
Compared to Kadri, Gionta sees 36% fewer shot attempts per 60 minutes. That helps explain why watching Devils games is such a chore.
The “Straightlaced” Keds Sneakers: Beau Bennett
Awarded to the player with the most time on ice without committing a single penalty, the boring white Keds go to young master Beau Bennett of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Beau played 21 games and 291 minutes without getting busted for a single penalty. How did he pull it off? Well, his team had the puck 57.8% of the time (Corsi) when he was on the ice. It’s hard to hook or trip somebody when you’re busy taking shots.
Perhaps more impressive than Bennett was Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly, who went without a penalty all the way until March 29th– when he snapped his sinless streak by playing with a broken stick. Bummer. O’Reilly went 1586 minutes and got just one penalty. He’s an angel.
The Colton Orr Memorial Trophy: George Parros
Given to the player with the most penalties per minute, the Orr is won this year by George Parros. In a walk. With 85 PIMs in just 100 minutes of ice time, Parros was a PIM factory. To him a hockey stick is just an affectation– like when Will Smith bites a cigar but doesn’t light it in “Getting Jiggy With It.”
The award’s namesake, Colton Orr– who is currently alive and therefore doesn’t need a memorial trophy– got 110 PIMs in 290 minutes, a penalty rate less than half of Parros’. Those two brutes squared off in October, resulting in a freak injury to Parros that kept him out for most of the season– which is part of what made his PIM rate so high.
The “Take This Job and Shove It” Johnny Paycheck Award: Patrick Bordeleau
Awarded to the player with the lowest ice time over a full 82-game season, the Paycheck goes to Colorado brawler Patrick Bordeleau. You thought it was gonna be Tom Wilson, didn’t you? Me too. But Patrick Roy used Bordeleau on the 4th line sparingly– under 7 minutes per game. Wilson was heading that way for a while as well, but he started getting extra shifts in late March– particularly after Kuznetsov joined the team.
For Bordeleau, the fact that the fighter played in all 82 games may be more extraordinary than how little ice he got.
The NPR Marketplace Sustainability Desk Lamp: Valtteri Filppula
Given to the player with the highest shooting percentage over at least 74 games played, the desk lamp goes to Valtteri Filppula of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Filppula had a hot stick a few times with Detroit but never hotter than this season. His 19.1 shooting percentage meant that one out of every five shots hit the back of the net. Can he keep it up? Probably not at that clip, but the guy is a bona fide sniper.
The runners-up are Brenden Morrow of the Blues and Tyler Bozak of the Leafs, who were both above 20 percent shooting in partial seasons. I’d bet both of them fall off next season.
The Poisoned Chalice of the Pariah: Alexander Edler
Awarded to the player with the biggest deficit between possession and goals, the Pariah goes to Alex Edler of the Canucks. Edler just couldn’t finish. His team took 52.4 percent of shots during even strength but scored just 30.6 percent of the goals. That’s ridiculous, and attributable primarily to an awful 3.6 on-ice shooting percentage. Edler’s individual shooting percentage was a big factor in that: he scored 7 goals on 178 shots for a 3.9 percent shooting.
Steve Bernier wasn’t far behind with a 19-point difference between possession and goals, though he suffered a bit more from weak Devils goaltending (90.8%). Hey, maybe the Caps should sign that goalie!
The Harp of the Halo: Dustin Penner
Given to the player who sees the most goals per possession, the Halo goes to Dustin Penner. Master of PDO, Penner blew the competition away with 70.3 percent of goals scored in his teams’ favor despite owning just 49.3 percent of shot attempts. That’s the result of the one-two punch of Penner’s 10.90 percent on-ice shooting and his 94.60 percent on-ice saving. He’s either a world-class finisher or a really lucky dude. Or– more likely– some combination of both.
Penner was miles ahead of his former teammate Ryan Getzlaf, another surfer of the PDO tsunami that swept through Anaheim this season. Let’s see if either of these guys can keep it up next year.
The “Dude, C’mon” Plaque: Matt Hendricks
Awarded to the player whose teammates have the lowest shooting percentage during 5v5, the Dude, C’mon goes to Matt Hendricks. Maybe you were expecting Alex Ovechkin. I know I was.
When he was on the ice, Hendy’s teammates in Nashville and Edmonton scored just 5 goals on 203 shots for a lowly 2.5 shooting percentage. Ovechkin didn’t fare much better– his guys scored 13 on 343 for a 3.8 shooting percentage. Hendy’s number is unfortunate; Ovechkin’s is almost unfathomable.
There’s a few ways to think about it. Some see this stat as the very essence of luck– completely out of control of the player himself. For Ovi, who has suffered from bad linemate and teammate sh% for years, it’s a pressing concern that needs to be addressed now. For Hendricks, well he’s still making $1.85 M per year, so he’s probably cool.