Los Angeles Kings

NHL Awards Preview: LA Kings

The NHL Awards will be in Las Vegas once again for their annual gala. There are three awards that two Kings players are vying for this year; it’s the Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty show in Vegas.

Drew Doughty NHL Awards

Drew Doughty is trying to win his second Norris Trophy award, which is given to the best defensemen in the league. Doughty’s lone victory came in 2016 after finishing second in 2015 and third in 2010.

Doughty had his best offensive statistical year. He set a career high in assists (50) and points (60). Doughty was the leader of a defensive unit that allowed the least amount of goals in the NHL, while also leading the league in average ice time (26:50).

Doughty faces stiff competition going up against Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators. Hedman was tied at the top for goals by a defenseman (17). Subban, meanwhile, helped the Predators’ defensive unit lead the league in goals and points.

It feels like Hedman wins the award this year because of his teams success. But Doughty was the better player on a less talented team than Hedman or Subban.

NHL Awards – Anze Kopitar

Kopitar is trying to win his second Selke Award. The Selke goes to the forward who put in the best defensive shifts all season. He was a finalist three years in a row from 2014-16, winning it in 2016. The Kings’ center faces the Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron and Philadelphia Flyers Sean Couturier for the award.

Kopitar was better at taking and winning faceoffs than both Bergeron and Couturier. He also logged more ice time while the Kings were playing short handed.

But I don’t think he wins. This award has been Bergeron’s to win seemingly every year. He is going for his record fifth this year, and it is tough to look past the perennial forward.

Kopitar is also up for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The Hart Memorial is given to the most valuable player of the the league. Kopitar is deservedly a finalist after setting career records in goals (35), assists (57), and points (92). He is the first Kings finalist for the award since Wayne Gretzky in 1991.

Kopitar won’t win unfortunately because Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils and Nathan McKinnon of the Colorado Avlanche have had more hype leading into award season. McKinnon dragged the Avalanche to an unlikely playoff spot. Hall turned around an equally moribund Devils team, leading them to the playoffs.

Hockey media holds the fact that Kopitar plays with Jonathan Quick and Doughty against him conveniently forgetting that Mackinnon had the benift of playing with wingers Gabriel Landeskog (68 points) and  Miko Rantanen (84 points). Hall may have had huge impact on his team as well. However, he is a winger who doesn’t have one iota of the defensive responsibility that Kopitar has.

Chalk it up to east coast voter bias but I think Hall wins it over both McKinnon and Kopitar.

Awards Show

Tune in on Wednesday to see if maybe Kopitar or Doughty come home with some hardware.

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