The NHL’s annual awards, which will be handed out at a ceremony on Tuesday, which can be seen on Sportsnet (19:00 ET / 16:00 PT), are won for stellar performances during the regular season. But what if instead they were handed out strictly for the Stanley Cup playoffs, like Conn Smythe?
Who would be the favorites of the odds to get the hardware for top goalkeeper, top defender, top defensive striker, top coach, best rookie, etc. for this year after the season? Fortunately, we have a list.
2021-22 finalists: Jacob Markstrom, Flames; Juuse Saros, Predators; Igor Shesterkin, Rangers
Winner of the playoffs for 2022: Andrey VasilevskyTampa Bay Lightning
It’s hard to ignore games 1 and 2 of the Cup final, of course, but we won’t ignore what the best goalkeeper in the Lightning game did in those playoffs. Honestly, a week ago Vassilevski was the runaway candidate, far ahead of No. 2 Igor Shesterkin from Rangers, but since then this distance has narrowed. However, outside of the air of Denver, there is no other goalkeeper you would want with online games. His stats are good, but the best part is: the dude knows how to win. All he did in the second round against the most powerful offense in the league was to concede three goals in four games, accelerating the surprising scale and consolidating his presence with authority. If Lightning Rally beats Avalanche to win the Stanley Cup, you need to consider Vassilevski will become the first goalkeeper to win another Con Smiths after Bernie Parent of the Flyers won his second consecutive victory in 1975.
James Norris Memorial Trophy
2022 Playoff Winner: Cale McCarthy, Avalanche
Like Sportsnet Justin Bourne skillfully smashed itAlthough there is a postseason at the Conn Smythe level. His control of the puck, his control of the game, his vision of the ice are incomparable to anyone in the playoffs, let alone any other defender. And the man is only 23. You could certainly argue that Tampa’s Headman should be considered here as well, as the former Norris winner continued his stellar and stable game on the blue line for the defending champion. But he doesn’t set the pace in playoffs like Makar, who can make a killer pass from his own end to create a great goal chance, or rush all the way up the ice to create a great goal chance for himself. His breakthrough performance in Match 2 of the Cup final was something to be seen.
Frank J. Selke Trophy
2021-22 finalists: Alexander Barkov, Panthers; Patrice Bergeron, Bruins (winner); Elias Lindholm, Flames
Winner of the playoffs for 2022: Anthony SirelliLightning
The Sirelli protective blanket played a major role in limiting the damage to Toronto’s Austin Matthews in the first round, completely shutting down Jonathan Huberdo of Florida in the second round and, after an initial hiccup, featuring New York Mika Zibanedjad and Chris Crider in the third round. Against Maple Leafs and Rangers in particular, Sirelli and teammates Brandon Heigl and Alex Killarn figured out how to adapt on the move, repeatedly fighting to limit the powerful attack of their opponents. Zibanedjad and Crider had zero points in the last two games of the Eastern Conference final due to their mastery on the Cirelli line. Lightning relied more on exclusion than Avalanche to advance, and the Cirelli trio did relatively well against Nathan McKinnon and Co., believe it or not.
Jack Adams Award
2021-22 finalists: Andrew Brunet, Panthers; Gerard Galant, Rangers; Daryl Sutter, Calgary Flames (winner)
2022 Playoff Winner: John Cooper, Lightning
Seriously, it’s a crime that this man didn’t win Jack Adams. We are here to change that. No coach has been able to get the most out of his team over three seasons and post-seasons with Cooper. He is sharp, he is tactical, he is aware of the media, he has no problem pulling a person from interview to interview. It is an ideal combination of a new school and an old school, with the results of the opposition’s training. One of the main reasons you can’t list Lightning in the finals is that Cooper is behind the bench.
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
2021-22 finalists: Zdeno Chara, Islanders; Kevin Hayes, Flyers; Carrie Price, Canadiens (winner)
Winner of the playoffs for 2022: Nazem KadriColorado Avelanch
This award is usually given to a player who is struggling with major problems off the ice during the regular season. We are not here to ignore the struggles that the real finalists had this year and this will not be a popular choice, but when it comes to the playoffs, fewer players have gone through off-ice challenges and shocks better than Kadri, who scored a hat trick against the Blues after receiving death threats to push and remove St. Louis № 1 goalkeeper Jordan Binington in the third round.
Calder Memorial Trophy
2021-22 finalists: Michael Bunting, Maple Leafs; Moritz Seider, Red Wings; Trevor Zegras, ducks
2022 Playoff Winner: Bowen Bayram, Colorado Avalanche
Bayram could also qualify for Masterton after battling the system after a shock for most of the season. But he seems to have regained his game, playing about 18 minutes per game, averaging a point in every other game and staying on the solid side of the book plus / minus. Due to the superstar pair of Cale McCarthy and Devon Tows, the depth of Avs on D doesn’t get enough props, but you can’t win without solid defenses, and Bayram has proven that he succeeded in his baptism on ice.
Lady Bing Memorial Trophy
2021-22 finalists: Kyle Connor, Jets (winner); Jacob Salvin, Hurricanes; Jared Spurgeon, Wilde
2022 Playoff Winner: I’m just kidding. Who wants to win Lady Bing from the playoffs?