Without Stanley Cup, Blackhawks Still Take Home Hardware
On Wednesday night in Las Vegas, the newest NHL expansion city, the NHL Awards were held to recognize the achievements of some of the top players in the league. While the Chicago Blackhawks’ season came to an end before many would have wanted it to, the season wasn’t a wash for postseason hardware.
On the night, both Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane came away winners for Chicago, with Panarin taking home the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie Of The Year and Kane taking home the Art Ross Trophy (league leader in points), the Ted Lindsay Award (league MVP as voted by the players) and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player.
But outside of the accomplishments of Panarin and Kane, a few other Blackhawks were in the hunt for postseason awards as well. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times provided the voting results for each award Wednesday night, showing where the Blackhawks ended up in final voting ranks.
While Corey Crawford was thought by some to be a snub for the Vezina Award (top goaltender), he finished fifth in voting behind Roberto Luongo and finalists Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick and winner Braden Holtby:
Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz earned the Jack Adams Award for NHL Coach of the Year, while Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville garnered just one first-place nod:
While the sting of the way the year ended for Chicago is still taking time to heal for some, the strong showing at the NHL Awards is a slight consolation for what was a very intriguing season in 2015-16.
Kane Wins League MVP
Kane far and away had the best season of any player in the NHL in 2015-16. It could even be argued that without the level of play from Kane at key moments in the season, the Blackhawks could have been in a tight spot when it became Stanley Cup Playoffs time.
Panarin Wins Rookie Of The Year
Another player who was critical to the success of the Blackhawks in 2015-16 was rookie Panarin, and in his first NHL season he helped elevate the level of play for Kane and for the Blackhawks as a whole.
Leading all rookies in scoring by a wide margin, Panarin was the easy and correct choice for Rookie of the Year:
Panarin, whether you agree or disagree about the legitimacy of his NHL rookie status, was undoubtedly the best first-year NHL player the league saw this last season.
Now that the awards have been handed out, the cover of NHL 17 has been decided (Vladimir Tarasenko, yuck) and the NHL Entry Draft is upon us, it is time for the likes of Kane, Panarin and the rest of the Blackhawks organization to figure out where to go from here and how to, once again, make a run for the Stanley Cup.