The Winner is…
The Vancouver Canucks hand out individual awards each year, probably like every other team, but it’s especially fun to do when your team is the best. Really, who would you say the most valuable player is on the Bluejackets? Nash? Maybe; but they finished last in the league. When it comes down to it, no one there was valuable this season.
In total, six awards are presented to those who exemplified outstanding performance throughout the season and instead of just agreeing like a sheep with the recipients, I’ll tell you who should have won each award.
Mike’s Three Stars Award – Given to the player with the most Three Stars nominations
Actual Winner: Roberto Luongo won this award and I’m starting here because this is the only one of the six which I can’t really change. Numbers don’t lie; Bobby Lu had the most nods in post-game three star picks. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Most Exciting Player
Actual Winner: David Booth has been exemplary in his first season as a Canuck. At times, he shone as management hoped he would upon leaving the hockey hellhole that is Florida.
The Twins haven’t had seasons like we’ve seen the two years prior to this one but they remain one of the slickest pair of players in the league.
While we’re not sure if Daniel will return for Game 1 against LA since being knocked out against Chicago and missing 9 games, this hat trick in December against the Avs proves my point:
Most Outstanding Defenseman (Walter ‘Babe’ Pratt Trophy)
Actual Winner: Alex Edler received this year’s award as he piled up a career high in goals, assists and points with 49 total. He was also selected to the All-Star team and finished 6th in scoring among d-men league-wide.
My Pick: Dan Hamhuis is my pick for best Canucks blueliner because of his more consistent reliability. Don’t get me wrong, Alex Edler is outstanding. I’m not an idiot, but Dan Hamhuis was a +29 this season to Edler’s even rating. Pair that with Hamhuis’ 37 points, one off his career high from ’06 in Nashville, and you’ve got a guy whose production increased offensively while being responsible in his own end.
At times this season, Edler looked lethargic and slow, especially post All-Star break. Hamhuis has been the anchor and a leader by example in the end he’s supposed to focus on the most.
Leading Scorer (Cyrus H. McLean Award)
Actual Winner: Henrik Sedin won this award but it’s another write-off here because again, numbers don’t lie. I might have said Daniel Sedin however if he’d actually had more points than Henrik when he was hit by Duncan Keith.
Alas he didn’t as Henrik had 70 to Daniel’s 67.
Me Getting Technical: That being said, the description of the award is leading SCORER, so yeah, technically speaking, Daniel should get it with 30 goals to his name this year. In hockey lingo, “leading scorer,” is sometimes meant to imply total points. It makes no sense because you don’t score assists. I digress; oh yeah, Burrows was a close second with 28 goals.
Most Valuable Player (Cyclone Taylor Award)
Actual Winner: Captain Hank took this award for the second time in his career but even as the team’s leading point-getter, does he deserve it?
My Pick: This is going out on a limb, but I choose Roberto Luongo AND Cory Schneider. None of the Canucks’ main forwards had career years points-wise and that made it harder to not only finish first in the league again, but to tough it out through slumps like the one we all saw in March.
The not one, but two constants however were always the two backstoppers. Luongo had his 7th straight 30+ win season and 6th straight with Vancouver. On top of that, Cory Schneider had more wins than he did in his first fantastic regular season (2010-11) with 20. He’s included in this because of his dominance as backup. He never looked shaky, even in a losing effort.
While Luongo finished a little ways up there, Schneider finished in the top 3 for both GAA and SV% in the NHL. The Vancouver Canucks would not be President’s Trophy Champs for the 2nd year running without Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.
Unsung Hero (Fred J. Hume Award)
Actual Winner: Chris Higgins took home his first Canucks team award and honestly, pretty deservingly. The Smithtown, New York native had 43 points this year after just five last season, albeit in 14 games.
My Pick: I’d say Luongo since a lot of the idiot “fans” in this city really don’t appreciate him enough but clearly, the broadcasters get it since he was nominated the most times for three stars following games.
I might have also picked Cody Hodgson since he was having such a stellar season beneath the Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Booth and Higgins, but he’s gone.
So my pick has to be Alex Burrows. He persevered more than anyone this season offensively. While he slumped like his teammates, he was thrown around the lineup at every occasion. He played on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines but still managed to match his 2nd highest career total for goals in a season and his 2nd highest points total with 52. That’s pretty good for a guy getting paid 2 million dollars.
So there you have it; my picks for the Canucks’ annual awards! Here’s a summary:
Mike’s Three Stars – Roberto Luongo (unchanged)
Leading Scorer – Henrik Sedin (unchanged…sort of)
Most Exciting Player – Daniel Sedin (changed from David Booth)
Most Outstanding Defenseman – Dan Hamhuis (changed from Alex Edler
Most Valuable Player – Roberto Luongo & Cory Schneider (changed from Henrik Sedin)