Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Which Blackhawks Could Join Connor Bedard This Week As NHL Awards Finalists?


On Tuesday morning, the NHL announced perhaps the most obvious news of the year: Connor Bedard is a Calder Trophy finalist.

The league’s most successful rookie emerged this season as the favorite to win the award, which is given annually to “the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.” He’s accompanied by fellow finalists Brock Faber and Luke Hughes, who enjoyed impressive seasons in their own right.

While the NHL awards are set to be announced on June 27, the league is using this week to recognize the finalists for all its major awards. The Vezina Trophy (top goalie) finalists were announced Monday, and the Blackhawks’ Petr Mrazek unfortunately didn’t make the list. But with finalists for seven more awards to be revealed over the next week, a few Blackhawks have an outside chance at becoming finalists.

Jason Dickinson – Selke Trophy

The Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is given annually to the “forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game,” has Jason Dickinson’s name written all over it. The Blackhawks’ most consistent player all season produced at a high level on both ends of the ice in all 82 games. He somehow logged a +4 on a team with a goal differential of -111. Thanks in large part to Dickinson’s defensive prowess, his third line is put on the ice more often than not against the opposition’s best scorers, making his defensive success nearly unfathomable.

Finally, Dickinson was impressive at the dot all season, winning exactly 50 percent of his whopping 1,236 draws. For a team that struggled mightily in the faceoff circle this year, Dickinson held down the fort. His overall strong game and consistency make him a prime candidate to win the Selke Trophy, even if he faces long odds to do so.

Alex Vlasic – Norris Trophy

Let’s be honest – this isn’t happening. Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes is the overwhelming favorite to win the award, and Vlasic isn’t even on the NHL’s radar to win the award. When the finalists for the award are announced Wednesday, it’s safe to say Vlasic’s name won’t be on the list.

But maybe it should be. The Norris Trophy, which is given annually to the league’s top defenseman, often focuses on scoring leaders, a category where Hughes is right at the top. However, the award is intended to recognize strong defensive talent, an area where Vlasic actually ranks among the league’s best. He was constantly matched up against the opposing team’s top scorers, yet only posted a plus-minus of -4, even while only posting 16 points of his own and playing on one of the worst teams in franchise history. His advanced metrics are all among the top defenders in the league, and he already deserves consideration as the league’s top blueliner. He won’t be recognized for his efforts this year, but it isn’t far-fetched to predict that he will be in the future.

A woeful season for the Blackhawks could still result in individual players taking home hardware. While Bedard is practically a shoo-in to receive the Calder Trophy, Dickinson and Vlasic have at least earned consideration for the finalist spots, even if they aren’t likely to be recognized.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Chicago SportsNEWS
Recommended for you

Give us your thoughts.x