2022 NHL Awards primer and predictions: Matthews or McDavid for MVP?

Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers skates alongside Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews. (Mark Blinch/Getty)

The NHL Awards Show is back this season, the first time in three years that the show will be live.

Taking place in Tampa between Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, Keenan Thompson returns as host, with five awards to be handed out.

Here's what you need to know about the event:


This year's show will be hosted in Tampa at Armature Works and will begin Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW.


It's not a full array of awards this season, with some having already been decided. On Tuesday, we will find out the winners of the Hart Trophy, Norris Trophy, Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award.

While the Hart, Norris and Calder Trophies are decided by Professional Hockey Writers' Association, the Vezina is voted on by the 32 NHL general managers, and the Ted Lindsay by player vote. It's important to remember that all votes were cast before the start of the playoffs.

The three finalists for the Jim Gregory Award as the NHL's best general manager will also be revealed on Tuesday, with the winner to be announced midway through the first round of the NHL Draft on July 7.

The following award winners were announced earlier in the playoffs:

Lady Byng Award: Kyle Connor

King Clancy Trophy: P.K. Subban

Bill Masterton Trophy: Carey Price

Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron

Jack Adams Award: Darryl Sutter


NHL superstars and celebrities are expected to be in attendance, and there will also be special guests to hand out the awards, including Seattle Kraken fan Nadia Popovici, who from behind the glass discovered a cancerous mole on the neck of Vancouver Canucks assistant equipment manager Red Hamilton; and Calgary Flames assistant general manager and ALS survivor Chris Snow.

“To be able to highlight some of the most moving stories and inspirational figures from the past year in hockey on this year’s show is awesome,” said Steve Mayer, NHL chief content officer and senior executive vice president. “With all eyes on the game’s best players, we hope to also recognize these great individuals whose presence in Tampa is sure to be an emotional highlight of the evening.”

Five awards will be handed out on Tuesday. Here's a refresher of the finalists, the case to be made for each, and a prediction on a winner.


Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

The case for: NHL's first 60-goal player since 2011-12, Matthews averaged 0.82 goals per games in 73 appearances this season, the highest rate of the cap era and the best of any player since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 (69 goals in 70 games).

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

The case for: The Art Ross winner, McDavid finished with 123 points, tied for third-most in cap era history. McDavid won this award with an outstanding 1.88 points per game average last season, and though this year's 1.54 isn't as eye-popping, it's still also among the very best over the past 16 years. Truly "most valuable to his team", when McDavid was on the ice this season, Edmonton outscored its opponents 151-71; when he was off, the Oilers were outscored 180-134.

Igor Shesterkin, NY Rangers

The case for: Before the playoff heroics, Shesterkin led all goalies in the regular season by save percentage (.935), GAA (2.07) and goals saved above average (44.85). The Rangers as a team were 20th by shot differential and 15th by expected goal differential, and yet eighth in actual goals differential thanks largely to Shesterkin's play.

Prediction: Auston Matthews

In a season of offensive explosions around the league, Matthews' sheer force of goals is hard not to reward. Of course, so is McDavid's performance. This may be the most interesting vote of the night and is surely to stir debate no matter the result.


Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

The case for: Third in scoring at the position with a career-best 20 goals and 85 points, the 2018 Norris winner averaged over 25 minutes per game and was a rock for the back-to-back champs again. With Hedman on the ice, Tampa scored over 61 per cent of all goals.

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

The case for: The scoring leader among all defencemen with 96 points -- a top-10 single season total at the position over the past 40 years, and the most since Phil Housley recorded 97 points in 1992-93. Even more impressive: the 59 even-strength points Josi accumulated were the most by any blueliner since Paul Coffey got 90 in 1985-86. Josi's was the 11th-best even-strength point scoring total season by any defenceman in NHL history.

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

The case for: Though Makar finished 10 points behind Josi in the scoring race, he led the way with 28 goals -- the third-most in the cap era. Makar's 1.12 points per game mark is also the No. 2 challenger to Josi's 1.20 in the cap era. Makar averaged the most minutes (25:40) and had the best goals for percentage, all situations (68.49) among all of the finalists.

Prediction: Roman Josi

Recency bias is going to make it seem wild that Josi could be rewarded over Makar here, but his regular season was truly special. This could be a close vote, and Josi could be helped somewhat by the fact his performance came on a bubble team.


Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames

The case for: The NHL shutout leader (9), Markstrom was third by GAA (2.22) and goals saved above average (26.12), and he shouldered a heavy load for the Flames with 63 performances en route to a division title.

Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators

The case for: No goalie had a heavier lift than Saros this season. He played in more games (67) than any netminder and was second in shots faced (2,107) and saves (1,934).

Igor Shesterkin, NY Rangers

The case for: For all the same reasons Shesterkin is a Hart Trophy finalist, he is a standout at his position here. Shesterkin's performance in 2021-22 is the closest challenger in the cap era to Tim Thomas' outstanding 2010-11 season in which he won the Vezina with 17 of the 30 votes from NHL GMs.

Prediction: Igor Shesterkin

Should be a runaway for the Rangers netminder, who is now ready to challenge and push Andrei Vasilevskiy for the title of World's Best Goalie.


Michael Bunting, Toronto Maple Leafs

The case for: The rookie scoring leader with 63 points in 79 games, Bunting was also second in goals (23), and led both categories at even strength.

Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings

The case for: Averaging more ice time (23:02) than any other rookie, Seider was a plus presence at both ends and became just the fifth rookie defenceman of the cap era to finish with 50 points, joining Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes.

Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks

The case for: The face of offensive creativity this season, Zegras was more than a fancy highlight machine, finishing with 23 goals and 61 points, and second to Matt Boldy (47 games played) with 0.81 points per game.

Prediction: Moritz Seider

He arrived in the NHL a polished blue liner, with positive shot metrics on one of the worst teams in the NHL and elite offensive production for his age. This is the stepping stone to what projects to be a solid and long NHL career, which should really take off once the Wings turn the corner.


Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

The case for: Elite offensive production and regular deployment against top competition.

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

The case for: A unique talent who takes over games at will, averages over 22 minutes per game and has taken over the title of World's Best Player.

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

The case for: One of the best natural goal scorers in the game, Matthews improved defensively and added more of a physical element to his game this season

Prediction: Connor McDavid

In this season's player poll, NHLers voted McDavid as the player they'd want most on their team if you needed to win one game, and was second (to Brad Marchand) in voting for player you least like to play against. Reputation could factor into a player vote, and so these results would seem to bode well for McDavid here.

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