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NHL award predictions 2023: Mid-season picks for Presidents Trophy, Rookie of the Year and more

NHL award predictions
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Our NHL award predictions are here as the 2022-23 season reaches its midway point. Sportsnaut has tallied top contenders for some of the most significant awards, including NHL MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Best Goalie.

One of this generation’s most outstanding players is tearing it up on a path to achieving a milestone unthought of since the 1990s. Furthermore, one of the Original Six teams is on a mission to destroy single-season records, with several players and staff members in line to challenge for awards.

Related: NHL games today

The race for the league’s MVP award and scoring title may already be decided; however, every other trophy is up for grabs, keeping fans on the edge of their seats in the second half. Let’s dive into our NHL award predictions.

NHL award predictions: Boston Bruins, Connor McDavid clean up

Presidents Trophy (Team with the Best Record)

NHL: Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
  • Boston Bruins (32-4-4)

The Boston Bruins remain at the top of the NHL standings, a place they have occupied since the opening week. Halfway through the 2022-23 season, the team has amassed 68 points to lead the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. Furthermore, the Bruins are on a collision course with history as they chase down the league’s records for wins (62) and points (132) in a single season. 

  • Other candidates: Toronto Maple Leafs (26-9-7) and Carolina Hurricanes (25-9-7)

Jack Adams Award (NHL Coach of the Year)

NHL: Winter Classic-Practice
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jim Montgomery (Boston Bruins)

In January 2020, Jim Montgomery was unemployed and checking into rehab for alcohol misuse. Upon his return to the bench later that year, he joined the St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach. Then, when the Bruins had a coaching vacancy after firing Bruce Cassidy, Montgomery became the Bruin’s 27th head coach. Many felt he inherited an aging team with a core on its last legs; however, he flipped the script and deployed a new system that revitalized the roster from top to bottom. Currently, the Bruins are chasing history after an outstanding first half. 

  • Other candidates: Bruce Cassidy (Vegas Golden Knights) and Dave Hakstol (Seattle Kraken)

Related: Six questionable NHL All-Star Game selections

Hart Memorial Trophy (League’s Most Valuable Player)

  • Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

At the halfway point of the 2022-23 season, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is in line to win his third MVP award in eight seasons. Historically, the trophy goes to the player who leads the league in scoring since that player’s performance is a driving force for their team’s success. Right now, it makes sense to hand it back to McDavid, who may become the first player in a generation to score 160 points. 

  • Other candidates: David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins) and Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers)

Ted Lindsay Award (MVP – voted by players)

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

McDavid has had one of the best regular-season performances since the mid-1990s. He’s currently leading the league in goals, assists, and points, leaving many to wonder how successful the Oilers would be without their captain. Even though there will be many players worthy of this honor, if McDavid continues his historic pace, it will be a no-brainer. 

  • Other candidates: Tage Thompson (Buffalo Sabres) and Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers)

Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year)

  • Matthew Beniers (Seattle Kraken)

Matthew Beniers played just ten games last season after being selected second overall by the Kraken in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Nevertheless, he registered nine points with three goals and six assists, which served as an opening act for the Massachusetts native. Furthermore, at 20 years old, he’s got 16 goals and 18 helpers for 34 points to lead all rookie scorers by eight points. 

  • Other candidates: Logan Thompson (Vegas Golden Knights) and Mason McTavish (Anaheim Ducks)

Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie)

NHL: Winter Classic-Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
  • Linus Ullmark (Boston Bruins)

The Bruins are the best team in the NHL with a 32-5-3 record, thanks partly to the outstanding play of Linus Ullmark, whose numbers rank at the top of every statistical category. Moreover, Ullmark was the first goalie to 20 wins this season, the only netminder with a sub 2.00 goals-against average, and the only player with a save percentage higher than .930.   

  • Other candidates: Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets) and Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars) 

James Norris Memorial Trophy (Best Defenseman)

  • Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks)

During preseason predictions, if anyone asked the experts who would be the front-runner for the Norris Trophy, only a few would have considered Erik Karlsson. The two-time Norris winner has seen his numbers decline over the last few campaigns; however, the 32-year-old has had a resurgent season. Despite being on a struggling San Jose Sharks team, Karlsson is amongst the top ten scorers in the league with totals he had yet to reach since 2017-18. Although there have been some magical moments from other defensemen in the league, he remains the clear-cut favorite.  

  • Other candidates: Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo Sabres) and Josh Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets)

Art Ross Trophy (Leading Scorer)

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
  • Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

McDavid will likely walk away with three major NHL awards in the spring even if he doesn’t add to his hardware with a potential Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) or Stanley Cup championship. Currently, the Oilers captain is on pace to surpass 150 points, scoring 1.83 points per game and, at the halfway mark, is close to 80 points already. Interestingly, the only person in McDavid’s atmosphere at this point is his teammate Draisaitl, who is about 20 points behind. However, even if they continue to connect on goals, McDavid will always have the advantage. 

  • Other candidates: Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers) and Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Conduct)

NHL: NHL Awards
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
  • Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers)

Aleksander Barkov has won two awards during his ten-year career, the Frank J. Selke (2020-21) and the Lady Byng in 2018-19. In 628 games, he has just 116 penalty minutes while scoring 585 points. So far in 2022-23, he has yet to be whistled for an infraction and has 32 points in 32 games. Furthermore, although he may not reach 80 points like last season, he will remain a front-runner for the award based on his style of play. 

  • Other candidates: Cole Caufield (Montreal Canadiens) and Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (Top Goal Scorer)

  • Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

McDavid is a constant 30-goal scorer, reaching the mark in seven seasons. However, he’s more famous for setting up teammates than burying one for himself. Currently, McDavid has potted 35 goals and is on pace to shatter his personal best of 41 while netting his first 50-goal season. Although the league’s best player has been scoring above his career average, he’s not the only one chasing down the Rocket Richard trophy and will have some stiff competition until the season’s final day. 

  • Other candidates: David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins) and Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)

William J. Jennings Trophy (Lowest Goals Against by Team)

  • Linus Ullmark & Jeremy Swayman (Boston Bruins)

As crazy of a start as the Bruins have had, they remain the only team in the NHL to surrender less than 100 goals, with just 88 in 41 games. As mentioned, All-Star goalie Ullmark has been lights out thus far with 49 goals against in 27 games, resulting in the lowest mark by a netminder who appeared in at least 20 games. His battery mate, Jeremy Swayman, is 14-9-3 in 16 games, giving up 36 goals to keep the Bruins at the top of the category. 

  • Other candidates: New Jersey Devils (108 goals against) and Dallas Stars (111 goals against)

Jim Gregory GM of the Year (NHL GM of the Year)

NHL: Seattle Kraken at Columbus Blue Jackets
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  • Ron Francis (Seattle Kraken)

The NHL introduced the GM of the Year award in 2010, with a handful of Hall of Fame players turned general managers among the first two dozen winners. At the end of this season, the group will grow with the addition of Ron Francis, who is responsible for constructing the Seattle Kraken roster. After the Golden Knights overachieved in their first season with an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, many felt the Kraken underperformed as an expansion team.

Related: NHL standings

However, their place in the basement of the standings was short-lived, as the Kraken are currently challenging the Golden Knights for the Pacific Division title. Moreover, Francis is the architect whose vision for the expansion team has come together brilliantly for a successful second season.

  • Other candidates: Jim Nill (Dallas Stars) and Kelly McCrimmon (Vegas Golden Knights) 

NHL award winners 2021-’22

  • Presidents’ Trophy: Florida Panthers
  • Jack Adams Trophy: Darryl Sutter (Calgary Flames)
  • Hart Memorial Trophy: Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • Ted Lindsay Award: Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • Calder Memorial Trophy: Moritz Seider (Detroit Red Wings)
  • Vezina Trophy: Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers)
  • James Norris Memorial Trophy: Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche)
  • Art Ross Trophy: Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
  • Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets)
  • Maurice Richard Trophy: Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • William M. Jennings Trophy: Frederik Andersen & Antti Raanta (Carolina Hurricanes)
  • Jim Gregory GM of the Year: Joe Sakic (Colorado Avalanche)