While most fans are predicting how National Hockey League teams will finish this upcoming year, I am going to predict the winners of the various awards. This is how I see the NHL Awards hardware being handed out after the 2008/2009 season:
Hart Trophy (most valuable player) - Alexander Ovechkin
Ovechkin will be involved in around 45 percent of his team's goals. The only thing that will stop this young man from repeating is if he gets injured—and given the way he plays, hitting everything in sight, that just may happen.
Jack Adams Award (coach of the year) - Mike Babcock
As I predicted before, he will coach his team to within one win of the Stanley Cup finals. Even so, Babcock will finally be recognized for his abilities to suit his coaching styles to the team—and he has been blessed with another great squad.
Selke Trophy * (best defensive forward) - Mike Fisher
Fisher plays on a high-scoring team—look at their first line! Someone has to play defense, and no forward will do it better then him.
Calder Trophy (best rookie) - Kyle Turris
Turris is one of a handful of rookies on a young Phoenix Coyotes team. He will be a standout not only on that team, but in the League as a whole.
Norris Trophy (best defenseman) - Niklas Lidstrom
Lidstrom will repeat, because he makes the position look so effortless. Honourable mention—and possible upset—goes to Zdeno Chara.
Jennings Trophy (lowest team goals against average) - Evgeni Nabokov and Brian Boucher
While Nabokov will carry the majority of the workload, Boucher will prove to be a backup who can hold (save?) his own.
Lady Byng Trophy (most sportsmanlike player) - Sean Avery (just joking!) Nicklas Lidstrom *
Lidstrom is a defenseman who plays the position so well he doesn't need to take penalties. That, and his personality, will mean he will be on stage accepting this award.
Vezina Trophy (best goaltender) - Evgeni Nabokov
Martin Brodeur narrowly defeated Nabokov last year. But this year will be Nabakov's, because of the much better defensive corps in front of him.
Rocket Richard Trophy (top goal scorer) - Evgeni Malkin
The Pittsburgh Penguins will score in bunches and Malkin will lead the charge—much like he did last year when Sidney Crosby was hurt.
President's Trophy (team with the most points) - Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy (Eastern Conference Champion) - Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl (Western Conference Champion) San Jose Sharks
Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) - Evgeni Nabokov
Stanley Cup (every knows what this one is for!) - San Jose Sharks
* While I think this is a useless award (another topic for another time), it still needs to be handed out!