Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rangers Absent From NHL Awards Winners But Seven Rangers Received Votes

During last night’s NHL Awards the New York Rangers won zero awards and had no nominations to show for their 2010-11 campaign.  That does not mean that the work of individual players went completely unnoticed as seven members of the organization received votes. 

Lundqvist was the highest finisher with a fourth place in the Venzina voting while also coming in 14th in the race for Hart.  The only reason that Lundqvist did not crack the top three in the Vezina race this season is the overall team performance.  The combination of the Rangers squeaking into the playoffs as the final seed in the Eastern Conference and the Canuck’s winning the President’s trophy is why Luongo got the nod over Lundqvist.  Nice to see Lundqvist getting some votes for the Hart as well since he is one of the single most valuable player’s to their team.

Marc Staal continues to fly under the radar in terms of awards with his one fifth place vote in the Norris race.  Not saying Staal should have been a finalist or even close this season, but the impact offensive numbers has on the voting is still somewhat disappointing.  Coming in tied for 16th is not indicative of the season Staal had and there are those who finished above him that should not have.  Problem for Staal is that unless he raises his point total, serious consideration for a Norris will never come his way.

John Tortorella coming in ninth in the Jack Adams is one of the more interesting ones to me.  There was serious buzz about him mid-season as a contender, but the slide to start the second half and needing the huge finish just to get in took that away.  He probably should be higher on the list considering the job he did, but the guys he likely should pass have a combination of better team success and reputations to overcome. 

The Rangers did have two players make an appearance in the Calder voting with Derek Stepan finishing 13th while Michael Sauer came in 17th.  Stepan should have been a little higher on the list, probably 9 or 10, but inconsistency did plague his season, so it is easy to see why he did not get full credit for his season.  Possibly the most surprising vote getter was Michael Sauer.  Not that he did not deserve to get the fifth place vote he did, but that he was recognized for his excellent rookie season.  The lack of flash is Sauer’s game usually has player’s like him go unnoticed when it comes to awards, but good for him in getting the vote.

If there is an award, besides the Vezina that the Rangers might win sometime soon it is likely to be the Selke as they numerous forwards who work very hard on the defensive end of the ice.  Ryan Callahan came in at number 10 in the voting despite missing significant time this season while Brandon Prust was 18 and Brian Boyle finished 31.  It is not a stretch to think that if Callahan can hit 30 goals next season and play 82 games that he could creep into the top-5 range in the voting.  As for Prust and Boyle, like Sauer, it is nice to see them be rewarded for their hard work with some recognition around the league.

There were no awards for New York, but that does not mean performances were unnoticed.