Luke DeCock's NHL awards ballot (plus free Masterton rant)

Posted by Luke DeCock - staff columnist on April 16, 2014 

Members of the PHWA who participate in NHL awards voting have been encouraged to publish their ballots this year. So here’s mine, but to see it, you’ll have to sit through my rant on the Masterton Trophy.

I hate that this award has, over the past few years, morphed into a contest to see who can come back from the worst injury. In my mind, it’s supposed to be, at least in part, a career achievement award. Sometimes, as in the case of Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding, who won last season for playing through multiple sclerosis, there’s a clear case to be made. Other recent winners have not, to me, fit the criteria. So I always try to vote for players whose careers call for further recognition, even if this is the only trophy they’ll ever have a chance to win.

So my vote this year goes to Carolina’s Manny Malhotra, who fits both categories, a true professional who also happens to be coming back from a serious eye injury. What puts Malhotra over the top is that he was told he could no longer play by the Vancouver Canucks and fought his way back to the NHL with the Hurricanes and had a very effective season as a fourth-line center and faceoff specialist. If that isn’t perseverance and dedication to hockey, I don’t know what is.

Dominic Moore of the Rangers is the likely winner and my second-place vote, returning to hockey after sitting out a season to deal with the tragic loss of his wife to cancer, but I’ve saved my third-place vote for Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth, whose career deserves recognition. It’s the second year in a row Smyth has been on my ballot. (I also voted for Ray Whitney last year for the same reason.) And I would have voted for Teemu Selanne this year had he been nominated by the Anaheim chapter.

Adam Graves (2001) and Steve Yzerman (2003) were the last winners whose careers were honored in toto, and even Yzerman needed his knee to finally give out to win the thing. You want a comeback player of the year award? Fine. Let’s have a comeback player of the year award. The Masterton Trophy should recognize an entire career.

HART TROPHY

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

4. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

5. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars

NORRIS TROPHY

1. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

2. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild

3. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

4. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

5. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

CALDER TROPHY

1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

2. Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Torey Krug, Boston Bruins

4. Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins

5. Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets

LADY BYNG TROPHY

1. Ryan O'Reilly, Colorado Avalanche

2. Martin St. Louis, New York Rangers

3. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks

4. Andrej Sekera, Carolina Hurricanes

5. Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche

SELKE TROPHY

1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

2. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

3. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

4. David Backes, St. Louis Blues

5. Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers

NHL All-Star Team

CENTER

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

RIGHT WING

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

2. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

LEFT WING

1. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars

2. Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks

3. Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks

DEFENSE

1. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

2. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild

3. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

4. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

5. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

6. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes

GOALTENDER

1. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche

2. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

NHL All-Rookie Team

FORWARD

1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

2. Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning

DEFENSE

1. Torey Krug, Boston Bruins

2. Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins

GOAL

1. Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks

MASTERTON TROPHY

1. Manny Malhotra, Carolina Hurricanes

2. Dominic Moore, New York Rangers

3. Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers

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