Every year, a handful of deserving players are nominated for awards that are recognized at the NHL Awards show from Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2016 awards show was jam-packed with celebrity presenters like host Will Arnett and superstar players like Patrick Kane. With the major announcement about the Las Vegas expansion team coming prior to the show, it was an even more exciting atmosphere than past years.
While there are always players that are not nominated for any awards that are completely deserving, the winners have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are. To undermine their success is outrageous.
To start off the show, 9-year-old ‘Room’ actor Jacob Tremblay presented Chicago Blackhawks’ Artemi Panarin the Calder Trophy given “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.”
Artemi had an incredible season alongside his linemate and fellow nominee, Patrick Kane. Panarin finished the 2015-16 season leading all rookies in goals (30), assists (47) and points (77) in 80 games played. Panarin became the first rookie to win the Calder from the Blackhawks since Patrick Kane won in 2008.
The General Manager of the Year Award was a no-brainer this year. With the success of the Pittsburgh Penguins, including their Stanley Cup Championship, it was fitting for Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford to be given the honor. This award is voted for after the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and their playoff success alone could have won him the award.
His shuffling of the roster in the offseason with the addition of Phil Kessel, Nick Bonino, Eric Fehr and Matt Cullen along with Trevor Daley and Carl Hagelin during the season was one of the best moves anyone could’ve made. His already superstar roster that included Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin was taken to a whole different level. The firing of the Pittsburgh coach mid-season and the decision to bring in Mike Sullivan brought the team out from the dead. After taking over as coach on December 12, Sullivan brought the team to 33-16-5 including a 14-2-0 record in the final 16 games of the regular season. It’s no surprise they won the cup! Rutherford says that his win is a team win, because he couldn’t have won without them.
Though not in attendance, 44-year-old Jaromir Jagr was honored for his dedication to the game with his Bill Masterton Trophy win. The Bill Masterton Trophy is given to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” The competition was fierce, but Jagr came away with the W due to his hard work and dedication to the game.
Jaromir Jagr is a player that continues to impress. By helping the Florida Panthers set franchise records in wins (47) and points (103), the team was able to reach their second division title. Jagr become the oldest player in League history to reach the 60 point mark and go above and beyond that.
The Mark Messier Leadership Award is a coveted one to earn. Messier himself selects the players who become the nominees and ultimately the sole winner of the award. It is one of the most special awards to win as a player, but Shea Weber caught Messier’s eye this past season.
As captain of the Nashville Predators, Weber was able to reach milestones with his team that had never been done before. He reached both 20 goals and 50+ points for the third time in his career. He is involved with many different charitable organizations such as the 365 Pediatric Clinic, which raises money and donates tickets to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital located at Vanderbilt. Since the 2013-14 season, they have raised over $700,000 dollars. Shea says that he likes to do the charity work without cameras or even recognition, because he is doing it because he wants to be there.