The Nashville Predators obviously had the best season of their franchise history. They made it to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time and their general manager David Poile could be said to have a lot to do with that. The biggest trade of last offseason saw Predators captain Shea Weber going to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman P.K. Subban. The trade payed off big time and the Preds went to the playoffs for the 10th time in 13 seasons. Poile’s win for the General Manager of the Year is no surprise.
John Tortorella is one of the most entertaining coaches in hockey. He’s notorious for his temper and he is also well-known for his success in the NHL. The Columbus Blue Jackets were able to really take full advantage of Tortorella’s knowledge and they had the best season in their franchise history. The team was able to earn 108 points, set franchise records for wins, points, home wins (28) and road points (51). They were just one win away from tying the best-ever 17 game win streak that the Pittsburgh Penguins accomplished in the 1992-93 season. His success in Columbus earned him his 2nd Jack Adams Award for the most outstanding head coach.
The Bill Masterton Trophy goes to the player who showed the most perseverance and dedication to hockey. If you’ve followed the story of Craig Anderson and his wife Nicholle, you know that they went through a lot this season. With a devastating cancer diagnosis in the fall, Anderson stood by his families side and took some much needed time off. When the Ottawa Senators needed their goalie, though, Nicholle pushed Craig to play the sport he loved and to get back on the ice. Anderson had one of the best seasons of his career winning 25 of 40 starts and helping the team get to the third round of the playoffs. Nicholle is now cancer free and there couldn’t have been a better ending to their playoff run.
“The support we had was outstanding. It was pretty much the only reason I could come back and play. The support from the organization allowing me to take a leave of absence, to take as much time as I needed,” said Craig Anderson in regards to what his family went through. “To my teammates battling through, making me feel welcome when I came back. The fans, the opposing players who would reach out. It was a very emotional time and thats a lot to be grateful for, the people that mean so much to us. That went through thick and thin with us and allowed us to get to this point.”
Johnny Gaudreau was in Vegas nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy when his old teammate Jiri Hudler won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. This season, Gaudreau came here nominated for the same award. With just two minor penalties and four penalty minutes all season, it’s no wonder that Gaudreau was the obvious choice for the Lady Byng. Johnny Hockey is an all around gentleman. He’s always in great spirits and he makes a huge impact on his team with this. His Lady Byng Memorial Trophy win just two years after going home empty-handed is surely appreciated by the New Jersey native.
The Vezina Trophy goes to the top goaltender every season. Every year, the competition is fierce and there’s so many different goalies that are deserving of the award. Sergei Bobrovsky was one of the main reasons that the Columbus Blue Jackets had as phenomenal of a season as they did. Bobrovsky collected 25 of the 30 first place votes for the Vezina Trophy at the 2017 NHL Awards. Bobrovsky had a career and franchise high 41 wins during the regular season as well as 14 and 16 game win streaks. This honor is no surprise, especially to head coach John Tortorella who told media with confidence before the award was given that Bobrovsky would be the winner.