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Recapping the 2018 NHL Awards

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Basically nothing for the Penguins!

2018 NHL Awards Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After all the MVPs and scoring titles and other various awards of the past 30+ years that Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have blessed Penguins fans with, the 2018 NHL awards were pretty dull. Last year the boys had the Stanley Cup in tow and the world’s second dreamiest Pittsburgh fan Joe Manganiello as host, the show was basically a Pens love-fest.

This year...Not so much. But we’ll check the voting to see the honorable mentions on an otherwise drab show from the Pittsburgh perspective.

No Pens here for Norris (Defenseman) and that’s no surprise really.

No Pens here either for rookie of the year. Mat Barzal, as fate would have it, was picked #16 overall in 2015 with a pick that started with Pittsburgh though. The Pens traded it to Edmonton for David Perron (who later got traded of course for Carl Hagelin) and the Oilers traded it for defenseman Griffin Reinhart (whoops!)

Goes to show the mentality of trading first round picks, Hagelin was instrumental and critical to help the Pens win two Stanley Cups, but Barzal will be an impact player for years to come. It’s always worth it for not one but two Cups, but the price of trading so many top picks all taken together will add up here soon. (And, who knows if the Pens would have drafted an under-sized skill center with a #1 overall pick anyways).

Our sweet, sweet boy Olli Maatta gets a 3rd place vote in Lady Byng (sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct). Really he didn’t deserve it being as he had a career high 28 penalty minutes this year, but we’ll take it.

Also interesting: Crosby got 7 votes for this award last year, 0 this year. Last year he hacked off Marc Methot’s finger!

Congrats to Brian Boyle for the Masterton. Kris Letang was Pittsburgh’s team nominee this year but was not named a finalist, if you were wondering. Letang almost deserves a lifetime achievement Masterton at this rate.

Crosby finishes 9th in the Selke (best defensive forward)! As we have said before- later in his career if Crosby ever is a regular penalty killer he will get a “oh he’s just like Steve Yzerman becoming a better two-way player” narrative rolling STRONG and probably win this. I doubt that’s really high on anyone’s radar to do so, though.

The guy who won GM of the year got swindled by Jim Rutherford to give him $2 million of cap space for last season and next for a 4th round pick to allow the Pens to upgrade their center spot. Hashtag never forget.

Shame Marc-Andre Fleury got hurt, otherwise he might have won with more games played. 5th place here is Fleury’s best showing in the Vezina ever, he had only received votes in two other seasons in his whole career.

Wasn’t much doubt about coach of the year with what happened in Vegas. Nice to see Mike Sullivan get a few token votes and come in 9th place. Surprisingly enough with all the 100+ point seasons, consecutive playoff streak, post-season success, the Pens coach always seems to get under-valued here. As if it’s a negative to do well with so many good players. I’m sure the coach really doesn’t care but it is interesting to watch over the years.

Neither Crosby nor Malkin has been on the front of the NHL’s flagship video game, that’s pretty odd right? No real beef with PK Subban getting the nod this year, should be fun and all.

The closest and most controversial vote- the MVP. Many were upset that Connor McDavid did not win. But what is his “value”, keeping the Oilers from being the Senators? McDavid probably had the best season, but Nathan MacKinnon and Taylor Hall were better candidates for this award. I’m a bit surprised Hall actually won, but so it goes.

Nice to see Malkin finish 7th, he was surely the league’s best player in a stretch from January-February.

Crosby and Malkin miss out o getting named 1st or 2nd team all-stars but at least get some votes.

Winning MVP is an easy way for Hall to be top LW, the race for 2nd was surprisingly close between Claude the Fraud and Alex Ovechkin for 2nd team, with the butt grabber’s 102 points holding off Ovi’s 49 goals.

Phil Kessel scored 11 more goals and ended up with 1 more point than Blake Wheeler but still finished well behind him. That’s a shame. If there’s any snub, this is it- Kessel should have been the 2nd team RW all-star this year. Not exactly anything to get fired up or upset about so we will move on.

This mirrors the Norris voting at the top.

And this one is just like the Vezina.

**

Well, that’s that. The awards show is in the books and we can pretty much close the door on the 2017-18 season at this point. Draft starts Friday night, Pens picks will be on Saturday.