NHL

Predicting the 2018-19 NHL Awards before the Vegas show

The NHL season may be over but the very fun and entertaining NHL awards are on Wednesday night. Let’s run through the awards and discuss who should win.

What a season. The St. Louis Blues pulled the most improbably of comebacks when they went from the last place team in January to the NHL Stanley Cup Champions in June. It’s a story you’ve heard a thousand times and will hear a thousand more.

A new coach, a new goaltender and a very catchy song propelled this team from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the world in only six months.

The season is over, but the fun is just beginning. The NHL offseason kicks off with the NHL awards on Wednesday evening, which marks our last night of fun before we start talking about Mitch Marner’s contract all summer.

Here’s a preview of the awards and what to expect on Wednesday night.

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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JUNE 06: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins plays against the St. Louis Blues during the third period of Game Five of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Frank J. Selke Trophy

We might as well kick this off with the Selke Trophy, which is the only trophy not directly tied to a statistic that is still a complete lock. Patrice Bergeron is the greatest defensive forward in NHL history. At some point in the future, this trophy will be named after Bergeron.

They will rename it the Patrice Bergeron Trophy several years after he wins his ninth or 10th trophy. It’s his to lose.

At 33, Bergeron is coming off of arguably his best season. He had 32 goals and 47 assists this season, hitting a career-high 79 points. In only 65 games.

His 56.6 percent faceoff win percentage is good for eighth in the NHL and his 56.8 percent Corsi rating is the best among the three finalists. Bergeron was built to win this award.

A fifth Selke Trophy win would put Patrice Bergeron one ahead of Montreal Canadiens great Bob Gainey, leaving him alone atop the defensive forward mountain with the most overall wins.

There’s little doubt he eventually grabs his fifth trophy, but it would be surprising to see him not get it in one of his best seasons in the NHL.

If he doesn’t get it, either Ryan O’Reilly or Mark Stone will be celebrating their first Selke win. Both Stone and O’Reilly had some of their most productive seasons, offensively and defensively.

O’Reilly is the hot choice to overthrow the king, given how well he played in the NHL playoffs (which doesn’t affect voting) and Stone would be the first non-center to win the award since Jere Lehtinen in 2002-03.

Prediction: Do you even have to ask? (Patrice. It’s going to be Patrice).



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