NHL award predictions 2023: Picks for Presidents Trophy, Rookie of the Year, and more

NHL award predictions

Our NHL award predictions are here as the 2022-23 season reaches the final two weeks of the season. 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
  • Boston Bruins (60-12-5) 125 points

The Boston Bruins remain at the top of the NHL standings, a place they have occupied since the opening week. Recently, they became the fastest team in league history to 100 points in just 61 games. Additionally, they have beaten all 31 teams at least once and recently became just the fourth team in league history to reach 60 wins. After securing their fourth Presidents’ Trophy win, the Bruins remain on a collision course with history as they are on the verge of breaking both the wins (62) and points (132) records for a single season. 

Jack Adams Award (NHL Coach of the Year)

NHL: Winter Classic-Practice
  • 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 as the greatest regular-season team of all.

  • Other candidates: Rod Brind’Amour (Carolina Hurricanes) and Lindy Ruff (New Jersey Devils)

Related: Six questionable NHL All-Star Game selections

Hart Memorial Trophy (League’s Most Valuable Player)

  • Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

Right now, 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 drives their team’s success. Realistically, 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), Linus Ullmark (Boston Bruins), and Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils)

Ted Lindsay Award (MVP – voted by players)

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames
  • 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 (62), assists (84), and points (146), leaving many to wonder how successful the Oilers would be without their captain. Even though several players will be worthy of this honor, if McDavid continues his historic pace, it will be a no-brainer. 

  • Other candidates: David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins), Linus Ullmark (Boston Bruins), and Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils)

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 21 goals and 31 helpers for 52 points to lead all rookie scorers by eight points. 

  • Other candidates: Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers), Wyatt Johnson (Dallas Stars), Matias Maccelli (Arizona Coyotes), Owen Power (Buffalo Sabres)

Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie)

NHL: Winter Classic-Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins
  • Linus Ullmark (Boston Bruins)

The Bruins are the best team in the NHL with a 60-12-5 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 30 wins this season, the only netminder with a sub-2.00 goals-against average, and is one of two players with a save percentage higher than .930. Additionally, Ullmark became the first goalie in Bruins’ history to score a goal against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 25, 2023.

  • Other candidates: Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets), Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars), and Ilya Sorokin (New York Islanders)

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 not reached since 2017-18. Although there have been some magical moments from other defensemen in the league, he remains the clear-cut favorite.  

  • Other candidates: Josh Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets), Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks), Dougie Hamilton (New Jersey Devils)

Art Ross Trophy (Leading Scorer)

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars
  • 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 1.89 points per game. Interestingly, the only person in McDavid’s atmosphere at this point is his teammate Draisaitl, who is 26 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: Los Angeles Kings at Calgary Flames
  • Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings)

Anze Kopitar will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer upon retirement, thanks to a trophy case including two Stanley Cups, two Frank J. Selke awards, a Mark Messier Leadership Award, and a Lady Byng trophy in 2015-16. In 1,287 games, he has just 322 penalty minutes while scoring 1,135 points. So far in 2022-23, he has two penalties (four minutes), scoring 68 points in 77 games. Furthermore, he’s on the verge of reaching 70 points, his highest total since 2017-18.

  • Other candidates: Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils), Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning), Nico Hischier (New Jersey Devils), Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers)

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. Additionally, McDavid has potted 62 goals reaching the magical 50-goal plateau for the first time in his career. 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 Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers)

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

  • Linus Ullmark & Jeremy Swayman (Boston Bruins)

The Bruins were the last team to surrender 100 goals, and the duo continues to lead the league with just 163 goals against. As mentioned, All-Star goalie Ullmark has been lights out thus far with 88 goals against in 47 games, resulting in the lowest mark by a netminder who appeared in at least 40 games. His battery mate, Jeremy Swayman, is 21-6-4 in 33 games, giving up 68 goals to keep the Bruins at the top of the category. 

  • Other candidates: Carolina Hurricanes (193 goals against) and Carolina Hurricanes (200 goals against)

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

NHL: Seattle Kraken at Columbus Blue Jackets
  • 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 is currently on the verge of qualifying for the playoffs in just their second season. Moreover, Francis is the architect whose vision for the expansion team has come together brilliantly to improve 30 points in the league standings.

  • 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)
Mentioned in this article:

More About: