NHL awards to be unveiled as Vegas set to select players
Los Angeles (AFP) – Sidney Crosby, named the Stanley Cup playoffs Most Valuable Player after helping Pittsburgh win back-to-back NHL titles, could haul off more hardware Wednesday at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.
The 29-year-old Canadian center, who led the NHL with 44 goals this past season, sparked the Penguins to NHL crowns in 2009, 2016 and earlier this month when Pittsburgh defeated Nashville in the Stanley Cup Final.
Also on the docket is an expansion draft where the new Vegas Golden Knights reveal the players they’ve selected from the other 30 teams. The Las Vegas squad will play its inaugural season starting in October.
Crosby, the Penguins’ captain who missed the first six games of the season with a concussion, looks to be a favorite for his third Hart Trophy as the NHL regular season MVP after wins in 2007 and 2014.
Other Hart Trophy finalists are Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. McDavid, 20, had 30 goals and assisted on 70 more while Bobrovsky led the NHL with a 2.06 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
Bobrovsky is also a contender for the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender along with 2016 winner Braden Holtby of Washington, whose 42 wins including an NHL-best nine shutouts, and Carey Price of Montreal.
Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, San Jose’s Brent Burns and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman are finalists for the Norris Trophy as best defenseman while Calder Trophy hopefuls for the top rookie award include Toronto center Auston Matthews, Winnipeg forward Patrik Laine and Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski.
Jack Adams Award finalists for top coach honors include Toronto’s Mike Babcock, Edmonton’s Todd McLellan and Columbus’ John Tortorella.
Vegas general manager George McPhee must select one player from those available from each of the other 30 teams — including 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
The Golden Knights have several trade offers in hand and expect more after the expansion list provides a core lineup of talent.
“We’re going to have to move some defensemen because we’re going to claim a bunch,” McPhee said.
McPhee can claim a player from one squad and deal him to another, although he doesn’t plan to do too much of that.
“What’s best for our team is keeping the player, so that’s essentially how we measure things,” McPhee said.