Revealing my full 2019 NHL Awards ballot

Alex Trebek handed Nikita Kucherov the Hart Memorial Trophy, making the Lightning forward the NHL’s MVP.

Call it the reveal after the reveal.

For just the second year, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association is following the lead of its baseball brethren, meaning the ballot for each individual voter on the NHL Awards will be made public on the PHWA site.

Bring on the full transparency and hate tweets.

I was one of the 81.3 per cent of the PHWA membership who was in favour of making all of 170 or so ballots public within a couple of days after the trophies are handed out in Las Vegas.

Here is the ballot I submitted to Ernst & Young upon conclusion of the 2018-19 regular season and a few thoughts behind my reasoning — which is to be unquestioned. Unless, you know, Sportsnet decides to place a comments section at the bottom of this article.


1. Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)
2. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
3. Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins)
4. Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)
5. Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

I actually toiled over Kucherov as my first choice more than most because there is a legitimate chance the all-star-laden Lightning could have won the Presidents’ Trophy without him, but when you register the most points by any player since 1995-96 and throw down 38 multi-point outings, you become undeniable. Marchand had his best season, period. And the Penguins and Avalanche don’t make the playoffs without their Cole Harbour horses.


1. Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames)
2. John Carlson (Washington Capitals)
3. Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs)
4. Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
5. Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks)

Giordano having the best season of his life at age 35 was something to behold. It’s difficult to knock Hedman and Burns as finalists, but Carlson appears destined to be forever underrated and Rielly led all D-men in goals (20) and put up 72 points while drawing the toughest defensive assignments on a run-and-gun squad nightly.


1. Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks)
2. Jordan Binnington (St. Louis Blues)
3. Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars)
4. Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo Sabres)
5. Brady Tkachuk (Ottawa Senators)

Games played factored into this one for me. Pettersson topped all freshmen in goals (28), assists (38), points (66), power-play goals (10) and game-winners (seven). More important, he gave a fan base hope and highlights in the post-Sedins era. That said, I’m sure Pettersson would swap his Calder for Binnington’s Stanley Cup ring. Dahlin edged out Heiskanen as a finalist, but the Stars defender is the more complete player right now.


1. Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers)
2. Ryan O’Reilly (St. Louis Blues)
3. Sean Monahan (Calgary Flames)
4. Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs)
5. Teuvo Teravainen (Carolina Hurricanes)

My top three mirrored the three finalists here, and any one of them would’ve been worthy of having his name called. Interesting that Monahan could’ve been the third different Lady Byng finalist from the Flames in the past five seasons (Jiri Hudler, Johnny Gaudreau). I believe Teravainen flew under the radar here because he plays in Carolina. He quietly put a career-best 76(!) points and a plus-30 rating, playing all 82 games while taking just six minor penalties. One of the league’s unsung stars.


1. Mark Stone (Vegas Golden Knights)
2. Ryan O’Reilly (St. Louis Blues)
3. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
4. Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)
5. Mikael Backlund (Calgary Flames)

This is the first time I’ve placed a winger at the top of my Selke ballot, and it is high time Stone gets his props. He led the NHL in takeaways for the fourth time in the past five seasons (122). It pained me a little to place O’Reilly at No. 2, however — he was the Blues’ best skater from October through June, logged a silly 20:46 per game and won more face-offs than anybody (1,086). We take Crosby for granted at this point. Eighty-seven had his best defensive season yet, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he has a Selke finalist in him yet.


Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)

Right wing
Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Left wing
Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins)
Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames)
Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)

Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames)
John Carlson (Washington Capitals)
Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks)
Ryan McDonagh (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Ben Bishop (Dallas Stars)
Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens)

Here is where McDavid gets his due. Difficult omissions: Leon Draisaitl, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Blake Wheeler, Mikko Rantanen, Roman Josi, Frederik Andersen, Robin Lehner. Although writers don’t vote on the Vezina, the all-star goaltending category is where you can see whom we would’ve voted for.


Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks)
Brady Tkachuk (Ottawa Senators)
Anthony Cirelli (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars)
Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo Sabres)

Jordan Binnington (St. Louis Blues)

Slam-dunk, no-brainer choices at defence and in net. Pettersson was the runaway pick at No. 1 among forwards, and Tkachuk’s 22 goals (just four on the power play) combined with his nasty edge made him an easy No. 2. I was more impressed with Cirelli’s all-around game (rookie-high six shorthanded points), so I gave him the nod over Toronto’s Andreas Johnsson and Ottawa’s Colin White in the 3 slot.

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