NHL Power Rankings: Year-End Awards

The Hockey Central at Noon panel attempts to come to grips with what is going wrong for the Pittsburgh Penguins and how the problem seems to be so much more than injured defencemen.

At a modest banquet sponsored by a light domestic beer and held in a nondescript Holiday Inn conference room, the NHL Power Rankings’ Year-End Awards were handed out this morning.

In the spirit of parity — a theme so dominant this season, one of the league’s hottest teams has cracked our Top 5 but isn’t even close to qualifying for the playoffs — each of the NHL’s 30 clubs received an award.

And the winners are…

Rank Team

Underrated Coach of the Year, presented to Alain Vigneault. For capturing his third Presidents’ Trophy and becoming just the fourth coach to win the hardware with two different teams.

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Man Up Plaque, for operating easily the most efficient power play in the NHL (25%). Presented to Nicklas Backstrom, who immediately passes the plaque to Alex Ovechkin sneaking onto the dais from the blind side.

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The Silver Grenade Pin, for excellence in explosiveness. The Lightning have four players with at least 60 points and 11 with at least 30.

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Unsung Defence of the Year. Perhaps because of Chicago’s heralded crop of forwards, we overlook that the Blackhawks have the second-best goals against in the league (2.26).

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Bruising & Battered Bowl, presented to the team that has both endured the most injuries and taken the most major penalties.

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Second-Half Hart Trophy, awarded to Devan Dubnyk, whose command of the Minnesota crease helped secure the Wild its third consecutive postseason appearance.

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Weirdest Stat of the Year. Did you know the Jets are more likely to win without all-star Dustin Byfuglien in the lineup? Since the start of 2013-14, Winnipeg is 12-4-0 without Buff in the lineup.

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A Get Well Soon card, presented to Max Pacioretty, whom the Canadiens need healthy and concussion-free for the playoffs next week.

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The Goalie Pick ‘Em Award, awarded to whichever netminder’s name is on the lottery ball coach Bruce Boudreau happens to pull on game night.

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The Chalice of Consistency, for finishing four straight seasons with more than 100 points (if lockout season’s points are prorated).

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The Young Guns Twin Pistols, awarded to Sean Monahan (youngest Flame in history to have a 30-goal season) and Johnny Gaudreau (the odds-makers’ Calder favourite).

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Sweden Fellowship Award (repeat champion), for another year relying on Edler and the Sedins, but just as importantly for the stellar relief work of Eddie Lack.

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Never Say Die Trophy. A set of bronzed defibrillators goes to the Senators, who are 11-6-1 when trailing after the first period and have kept their playoff hopes alive through five straight overtime games.

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Toughest Draw of the Year. The Stars play in the Central Division, which should see five playoff teams and four clubs hit the 100-point mark.

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The Loose Lips Award, presented to Dougie Hamilton, who told Celtics centre Kelly Olynyk about his broken ribs, then Olynyk accidentally ratted him out to the media.

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Offence Discovery of the Year, for jumping from an NHL-ranked 23rd to third in shots fired.

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Corsi Consolation Prize, for holding onto the puck better than any other team. (Regrettable side note: Jonathan Quick smashed his stick on the CCP after it was presented to him at an untelevised conference where you needed a laminate to get in.)

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Superstar About to Get Less Inconspicuous of the Year Award, to John Tavares. The Art Ross candidate should have a higher Q rating once the club moves to Brooklyn.

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Bad-Luck Rental of the Year. The Red Wings rented a nice scorer in Erik Cole at the trade deadline. Now he’s done for the year with a neck injury.

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Most Shocking Stretch Collapse of the Year. Since March 15, the Penguins have the second-worst points percentage in the NHL (.333), next only to the tank-mode Coyotes.

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Off-Season Mayhem Award, a team achievement handed out in advance to the club most likely to make headlines with trades and firings this summer. (The Sharks had owned the NHL’s second-longest active playoff streak until this week.)

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The Late Streaker Award, to Brayden Schenn, who has scored seven points in his last five games but had only seven in his previous 23.

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The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to and immediately rejected by Jaromir Jagr, who said, “Wait seven years, then give me this crap.” He was on an elliptical machine at the time.

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The Get ‘Em Next Year Award, for a team that swears it will be better in 2015-16, with more man-games from Erik Johnson and Nathan MacKinnon, and perhaps the acquisition of a top-four defenceman.

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“Interim” Ignorance Award, to replacement coach Todd Nelson, who doesn’t know the meaning of the word, winning four of his last seven and pulling the Oilers five points clear of the Western basement.

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Ring of Honour, for being elite at face-offs (52.6%), which is something.

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The Culture Change Encouragement Bursary. Funded generously by Leafs Nation and presented by Dr. Phil.

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The Boycott Award, not presented to Lou Lamoriello, who cancelled all Devils annual team awards (MVP, etc.) this season without citing a reason.

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The McDavid Chalice, which guarantees an 80% chance of not landing a franchise player.

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The Doan Wolf: A polished copper canine awarded annually to captain Shane for fighting the good fight in the desert.

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