We saw the NHL announce their awards last night, and you can find the full breakdown in lots of places quickly if you google it. There's not a lot of fantasy value to be gained from awards and all, but they are a fun way to wrap-up the season, and look ahead to potential winners next year. Let's do just that with my way-too-early picks for next year's awards:
2021-22 Winner: Auston Matthews
2022-23 Predicted winner: Kirill Kaprizov
With Minnesota in the prime of their contention window, but lacking the cap space to acquire many more difference makers, Kaprizov is going to have to shoulder a heavy load next year while this team keeps pace with Colorado in the Central. It's also boring to pick a repeat winner.
21/22: Cale Makar
22/23: Miro Heiskanen
Heiskanen got a bit of love this year, and probably could have been higher on a lot of ballots. He plays every part of the game well, and plays a lot. With John Klingberg likely leaving in the offseason, the D-core in Dallas is Miro's to run. Having to carry around Ryan Suter while playing his off-side, Heiskanen really hasn't had the shackles off for a full season… yet.
21/22: Igor Shesterkin
22/23: Ilya Sorokin
When Sorokin carries a left-for-dead Islanders team to the playoffs next year, and plays 60 games on route, it's going to be tough to vote for anyone else here. Shesterkin's season was historic, and he will certainly be a challenger, but there's maybe a workload question to be asked at some point too.
21/22: Moritz Seider
22/23: Marco Rossi
Who else do we think is going to come in on a cheap contract to centre my HartTrophy winner Kaprizov? Rossi has had the time to get healthy, train, get his skates back underneath him, and he's not ready to show why so many were shocked that he fell out of the top-10 in his draft year.
Lady Byng Trophy
21/22: Kyle Connor
22/23: Mitch Marner
Marner is ust as deserving as some of the other winners, and a better player overall. All it's going to take is one season with a couple less tripping and puck-over-glass penalties and her will have it in the bag.
21/22: Patrice Bergeron
22/23: Anthony Cirelli