Opinion: Presenting The NHL Awards – New York Rangers Version

Rangers and Quick agree to an exrtension
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Once the Stanley Cup Final is over, hockey fans shift their attention to the annual NHL Awards, which will take place on June 26.

I will present the NHL Awards version for the New York Rangers for this article. Below, you will find my choices for several major NHL Awards including the Vezina Trophy (given to the best goaltender), Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey), James Norris Memorial Trophy (given to the best defenseman), Hart Memorial Trophy (given to the most valuable player), Calder Memorial Trophy (given to the best rookie), and the Frank J. Selke Trophy (given to the best defensive forward).

Vezina Trophy: Igor Shesterkin
For the first part of the season, it would have been easy to give this award to Jonathan Quick as he went above and beyond the call of duty in keeping the Rangers afloat and helping them to be one of the best teams in the league while All-Star goaltender Igor Shesterkin was injured or struggling to find his game.

The trophy should now go to Shesterkin. “Shesty” has found his game as he is currently (As of Thursday, April 4) 33-16-0-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage, and three shutouts.

With Shesterkin at the top of his game, the sky could be the limit for the Blueshirts come playoff time.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Jonathan Quick
Coming into the season, Ranger fans were not overly enthused about the signing of Quick considering how much he struggled last season.

Luckily, Quick turned those frowns upside down and has been an outstanding addition to this franchise. Quick, 38, is currently 17-5-0-2 with a 2.54 goals-against average, a .913 save percentage, and two shutouts.

Should Shesterkin falter in the postseason, the Rangers should be more than set as they will be able to rely on Quick to come in and be comfortable stepping up when the games matter the most, something he did when he won two Cups with the Kings in 2012 and 2014.

James Norris Memorial Trophy: Adam Fox
Adam Fox has continued to show why he is not only the team’s best defenseman, but also one of the league’s top blueliners.

Fox currently has 68 points on 15 goals and 53 assists. He is one of the game’s best power play quarterbacks, is terrific in his own zone, blocks a lot of shots, breaks up a lot of plays, and is very smart with the puck.

He looks a lot like Brian Leetch and for the Rangers, that can only mean that he will continue to get better and better. 

Hart Memorial Trophy: Artemi Panarin
It is very hard to imagine where the Rangers would be if they did not have Artemi Panarin.

Panarin currently leads the team in goals (45), assists (65), points, and shots (276). He is a threat to score every time he is on the ice and has helped elevate his linemates Vincent Trocheck (75 points) and Alexis Lafreniere (54) to new levels in their respective games.

If Panarin can carry his play into the playoffs, the Rangers could put themselves in a position to make a strong run when it matters the most.

Calder Memorial Trophy: Will Cuylle
Both the Rangers and their fans probably thought that Brennan Othmann would be up for this “award” before the season began.

Well, forward Will Cuylle made the Rangers’ brass think otherwise with his outstanding play in training camp and now terrific rookie season. Cuylle currently has a respectable 20 points and leads the team with 235 hits.

Cuylle works hard, is fearless, and is going to be a good hockey for the Blueshirts for a very long time.

Frank J. Selke Trophy: Mika Zibanejad
Mika Zibanejad may not be having the kind of offensive season that he wants or that people expected (64 points in 85 games), but that certainly has not deterred his play on the other side of the puck.

Zibanejad is someone who backchecks hard, creates a lot of turnovers that lead to odd-man rushes going the other way, takes the puck away, does a great job of forechecking in the offensive zone, and is also great at killing penalties. He is the team’s best 200-foot player.

If Mika can carry that into the playoffs and get his offense going again, he may end up being a big reason why the Rangers have a good chance to capture the Cup for the first time in 30 years.

ECF Game 1 Recap : Flukes & Lacking Production Ranting Rangers: A New York Rangers Podcast

In this playoff episode we recap the Rangers loss in Game 1 of the ECF.For more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. ECF Game 1 Recap : Flukes & Lacking Production
  2. Guest Colin Stephenson : ECF Preview
  3. Cry-der
  4. 7-1 Stay Cuylle, We're Fine
  5. 2-0 Series Lead!!! : Trocheck 2OT Hero

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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