Now that everyone knows what position Alex Ovechkin plays (we are clear on that, aren’t we guys?), the voting for this year’s NHL awards offers few challenges. While a couple of honors are still up for grabs with less than a month to go, most are already in the bag. In fact, handicapping this year’s Calder Trophy race is about as challenging as picking the winner of the 1977 Kentucky Derby.
When early favorite Tomas Hertl of the Sharks went down before Christmas with a season-ending knee injury, Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon stepped up and, before long, ran away with the race.
The No. 1 pick in last June’s NHL Draft leads all freshmen in the stats that catch the eye: goals (22), assists (29), points (51), power play goals (8), game winners (5) and shots (192). Then there are the peripherals: the No. 1 pedigree; the tender age (the kid is still somehow just 18); and his part in the turnaround in Colorado.