Ramblings: The Underrated Slavin, Awards voting, injury updates and more (Apr. 12)
My 11th annual Interactive Playoff Draft List is fully updated through Tuesday and available for immediate download. Get it here
I set up two free playoff DobberHockey contests. One is the NHL Bracket Challenge. The other is the second annual Dobbernomics Challenge – Details on those here.
I get to be one of the 280 or so hockey writers who vote on this year’s NHL Awards. My third year of having this privilege with the PHWA. I sent off my ballots last night. I won’t give you my ballot before the winners are announced (I will afterward), but I do have a few thoughts…
1. Brad Marchand was a shoe-in for runner-up voting on the Hart Trophy…until that ridiculousness at the end of the season. A shoe-in. Was anyone more important to his team this year other than the obvious guy? I mean, if Marchand was out for the season, would Boston have even been in the Top 20?
2. Jaccob Slavin was truly amazing. The ballots required five players for each award, but if I was able to extend the list to seven players, then he would have made it at No.7. It surprised me just how good he was. Not only did he have 17 points in the last 33 games, but he did it without the help of the power play (all four of his PPPts came in the first half) and he did it while leading the NHL’s defensemen in %PK. I mean – he was on the ice for 74.1% of Carolina’s shorthanded ice time, the highest in the entire league. He turns 23 soon, so the best is still to come. I didn’t know the Hurricanes leaned on him quite so much.
3. I gave Auston Matthews Top 5 consideration for three different awards. Do the Leafs make the playoffs without him? Nope.
4. Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund got the Patrice Bergeron treatment – toughest competition faced on the team and lowest offensive zone start percentage at even strength.
5. I wish there was a way to recognize the unsung rookies. Brady Skjei snuck onto my All-Rookie Team over Ivan Provorov, who I really like. And William Nylander didn’t get mentioned anywhere on my ballot – there are a lot of year