If you haven't seen already, here's a list of each team blog at SB Nation making their choices for players of the year at From the Rink.
Frank and I distributed the following awards for the Pens, with their basic definitions in parenthesis if you didn't know:
Hart (MVP) - Evgeni Malkin
Norris (defenseman)- Sergei Gonchar
Vezina (goalie of the year) - Marc-Andre Fleury
Calder (rookie of the year) - Alex Goligoski
Selke (best defensive forward) - Jordan Staal
Thoughts, comments? Did we screw anything up? Two categories for the Vezina and the Calder are no-brainers: Goligoski was the only rookie to make any impact and MAF's obviously the #1 goalie.
But I think there could be some debate about the others:
- Like Malkin for the MVP? Sidney Crosby got a lot of consideration from me. Malkin has nine more points, has played in every game (Crosby's missed five games) and Malkin's been solid and reliable all season. But this is still definitely Crosby's team, he's the key. As often, it's hard to decide between the two but, we went with Malkin for his season long excellence and consistency.
- Sergei Gonchar's only played 22 games, can he really be the Pens defenseman of the year? That question may be more controversial for non-Penguin fans. Us that have watched have seen the Sarge score 17 points (6g + 11a), restore the power play and jump right back into playing 25-26 minutes a night against the other team's best players. Plus maybe what said more about Gonchar's worth and value is how the team struggled so mightily in his absence. So, with apologies to Rob Scuderi (team best +20, career high in assists, points) and Brooks Orpik, #55 was our selection.
- Jordan Staal got the nod for our Selke winner based off of what he does killing penalties. Staal has played an average of 3:28 per game on the PK, leading all forwards by far. Staal leads the team with three short-handed points (1g, 2a). He's a big guy and uses his size reach very well, something you can't quantify with stats. One thing you can quantify is his improvement on faceoffs: Staal won just 37.1 % of his faceoffs as a rookie (remember he played mainly wing that year). Last season Staal was a winner 42.2% of the time. This year it's 47.2%, consistent increases. As he gains more experience, expect it to continue to rise about 50% soon. As always mentioned, you have to remember Staal's still just 20 years old. I almost wanted to make a case for Sidney Crosby here based off his improvements in PK and how hard he plays in his defensive end, but he just doesn't get enough PK time (0:56/game) to justify not honoring Staal here.
What do you think, did we mangle anything too bad? I think the categories were mainly cut and dry for the Pens this season, but I'd be interested to hear if you can make a case for someone that we snubbed.