This 2021-22 NHL season has been nothing short of crazy and fun from surprise domination teams like the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames to unexpected stat leaders like Jonathan Huberdeau. We have seen close races for the 2022 NHL Awards amongst veterans and rookies in points and goals which always makes for an exciting season.
With the end of the season near, the conversations for the Hart, Norris, Calder, and Vezina trophies are beginning to heat up. Recent favorite changes have happened to some awards like the Hart Trophy which has seen Connor McDavid move from the #1 spot to #2 with Auston Matthews moving in as the current favorite to win.
The Hart Trophy isn’t (and shouldn’t be) the only award that has some back-and-forth debate on a winner. Below I will discuss what players have a chance to steal some votes in the NHL’s major player awards beyond the Hart Trophy.
2022 NHL Awards: Makar Has Norris Competition
As of April 6, the current odds leader for the Norris Trophy is Cale Makar (-225) who has been having an incredible season with 24 goals, 51 assists, and 75 points on the year. He is 3rd in points on the Colorado Avalanche and leads all defensemen in goals with a 5 goal lead.
Makar’s 75 points have him sitting in 2nd amongst defensemen only behind Roman Josi who has 84 points on the year and earning some buzz in the Norris conversation. With current odds of +180 to win the Norris, Roman Josi has quietly become the NHL’s point and assist leader among defensemen this season. On top of that, he is still 2nd in goals amongst defensemen with 19 goals which is a career-high for the 11-year blueliner.
With his lead in points and assists and his 2nd place rank in defensemen goals, Roman Josi is very deserving of some votes when it comes to 2022 NHL Awards. Yes, he may not be as fun or flashy as Cale Makar is but Roman Josi shows with his numbers and play that he has earned a chance at a second Norris Trophy.
2022 NHL Awards: Igor Not a Clear Vezina Favorite?
Like the Norris odds, there is a very clear choice in the eyes of Vegas when it comes to the Vezina Trophy as well. New York Rangers goalie, Igor Shesterkin, as the current leader with -400 odds to win. Lately, there has been some play from not just one but two goalies that deserve to be mentioned more in the Vezina voting.
Those two goalies are Frederik Andersen of the Carolina Hurricanes and Jacob Markström from the Calgary Flames. Both currently have the same odds for the Vezina with +700. The case for Andersen begins with some of his stats where he currently leads the league in GAA with 2.07 and sits top five in other categories such as SV% (second), wins (third), and shutouts (four). Ahead of Shesterkin in wins, SV%, and shutouts seems pretty deserving of votes to me.
In the Western Conference, Markström has also been doing some damage in net as he leads the league in shutouts with nine on the year. Along with that, he is third in GAA, fifth in SV%, and eighth in wins. Being one of the main reasons why the Flames are one of the league’s top teams, Markström should not get overlooked when coming to Vezina voting. His nine shutouts and top-five rankings in the majority of categories will earn him at least a nomination for this year’s awards.
Read more about why Andersen’s Hurricanes are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
2022 NHL Awards: Is Seider’s Gap on the Calder Closing?
This year’s Calder Trophy seems to be just as close as the Hart Trophy talks as they seem to be all over the map. As of now, the favorite is Moritz Seider (-200) but others like Lucas Raymond (+500), Trevor Zegras (+500), and Michael Bunting (+600) are also creating some buzz.
The current points leader amongst rookies is Bunting (20-35-55) followed by Raymond (22-31-53), Zegras (17-33-50) and Seider (5-40-45), which is as tight as it could get with a little over two weeks of games to be played. With all having solid first seasons in the NHL, it is tough to pick a clear winner. It is also hard to look at Seider’s -200 odds to win and not argue it should be a little closer.
One of those guys who is pushing the conversation is Zegras, who has been putting together a solid season as Anaheim’s #2 this year. Outside of his insane highlight-reel goals, he is second in points per game amongst rookies only behind Bunting who has star players like Matthews and Mitch Marner to play with. If Zegras can have a strong finish, look for him to steal some votes from Seider.
With just over two weeks left in the regular season, players will make their final pushes for their teams to make the playoffs and also earn a spot in award nominations. With closer races lately, awards like the Hart, Vezina, Norris, and Calder no longer have a cut and clear winner.
Strong finishes from Anderson and Markström could earn some votes from Vezina voters while guys like Josi and Zegras could see some votes their way in the Norris and Calder races, respectively. With 2022 NHL Awards talk heating up, look for these names to show up in comparison to current award favorites.