With the regular season now having come to a close and the playoffs in full swing, it’s time to dole out some well deserved, division specific, metaphorical medals. Without further ado, here are ATB’s 2015-16 regular season awards for the Metropolitan Division.
Most of these awards were no brainers, and the MVP of the Metropolitan Division was no different. While he may not have had the greatest start to the season, Sidney Crosby proved all of us wrong. He managed to finish third in terms of points (36 G, 49 A), and I don’t know if I would say he single-handedly carried the Penguins into a playoff position, but some nights it sure looked that way.
So good job, Sidney Crosby. You may not win the Hart this season, but you’re an MVP at ATB, and I think we all know which one counts more.
Honorable Mention: Alexander Ovechkin (WSH)
Braden Holtby takes home the Best Goalie award, hands down. Holtby not only had the most wins in the NHL with 48, but he also managed to tie Martin Brodeur for most wins in the season. If that record wasn’t enough, his team took home the President’s Trophy at the end of the season too. The President’s Trophy may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it does mean that team had the best record in the whole league, and that’s no small feat. He deserves all of the accolades thrown his way, and will be a huge player towards the Capitals succeeding in the playoffs this year.
Honorable Mention: Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT)
This award, as the others thus far, came as a no-brainer for me. Kris Letang deserves this title hands down, without a doubt. In terms of all defensemen this season, he is third in points, and in just the Metropolitan Division he’s first. Letang has been vital to the success the Penguins have seen this season, and he will continue to be the key piece for the team as they make their way into the playoffs. Letang may not win the Norris this year, but he should definitely be a contender. He most likely won’t win this year, but he gets my vote for Best Defenseman.
Honorable Mention: Keith Yandle (NYR)
Rookie of the Year
If you hear Rookie of the Year, your thoughts probably head to McDavid and Eichel. It’s okay, we all understand. It’s only natural. But the Rookie of the Year for the Metropolitan Division is, without a doubt, Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers. The 22-year-old rookie is fifth in points in terms of rookies this season. Back in March, he was considered the number one rookie of the month. It could be said that Gostisbehere was one of the reasons the Flyers were even able to make a push for the playoffs. Whatever stat or reason you want to cite, Gostisbehere deserves Rookie of the Year, hands down.
Honorable Mention: Noah Hanifin (CAR)
Coach of the Year
ATB’s own JSG said it best in his Pacific Division awards: “Coach of the Year voting is always funny. It seems like the only two reasons someone wins it are:
- They oversaw the team with the best record, thereby doing the ‘best job’
- They coached a team everyone expected to be awful to a great year, thereby doing the ‘best job'”
He’s not wrong, either. It’s tricky. It’s not the best system, but it’s one I’ll stick with if nothing else. And because of that, the Coach of the Year for the Metropolitan Division is Barry Trotz. The Capitals were by no means an awful team last season, having finished 2nd at the end of the regular season, but this season they were on fire. They couldn’t be touched. They won the President’s Trophy, meaning they had the best record in the league, which is why I’m handing Barry Trotz the Coach of the Year title. Good job, Coach. Now hit the showers.
Honorable Mention: Mike Sullivan (PIT)
The turn-around that GM Jim Rutherford managed for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ roster this year was a remarkable one. Not only did he get offensive and defensive depth that the Penguins just didn’t have in recent years, but he also fired the head coach at the beginning of the season and hired Mike Sullivan (who could be argued as the Coach of the Year in his own right). All of that aside, Rutherford’s best and most important moves with the Penguins happened with trades he managed in his two years with Pittsburgh. Even just this year, Rutherford snagged Phil Kessel in the off-season, traded eternal anchor Rob Scuderi for Trevor Daley and traded David Perron for Carl Hagelin which ended up being a trade that benefited both teams in involved. Rutherford managed to build a Stanley Cup contending team in a few short months, and because of that, he deserves the Best GM award hands down.
Honorable Mention: Garth Snow (NYI)
Worst Offseason Signing
The Devils signing Jiri Tlusty goes down as the Worst Offseason Signing. It wasn’t much — a one year, $800,000 contract — but the 27-year-old forward didn’t end up contributing much for the Devils. In the 30 games he played with the Devils, he only had four points (2G, 2A). Then, to top it all off, Tlusty got injured in January. He had surgery on his wrist and it was announced that he would be out for the rest of the season. The Devils, who have been “rebuilding”, wasted their money on this signing. The injury wasn’t Tlusty’s fault obviously, but his production prior to that was minimal at best. Thankfully, it was a one-year contract. I would be surprised if the Devils re-signed Tlsuty in the offseason.
It’s hard to choose the unluckiest team sometimes. It feels like all of the teams have their own streaks of terrible luck throughout the season, whether it be from injury or they’re just on a cold streak. However, despite all of that, there’s a handy dandy luck calculator from Hockey Abstract. There are several factors that play into a team’s “luck score”, but regardless of all of those numbers and statistics, the Carolina Hurricanes are my pick for Unluckiest Team in the Metropolitan Division. They’re third unluckiest team in the NHL, with only Edmonton and Toronto below them. They deserve this title, if nothing else.
Sorry, Carolina. Maybe next year.
Honorable Mention: NY Islanders
Worst Jersey Worn
For the most part, throwback jerseys hold a certain appeal to them that can be hard to resist. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case with the New Jersey Devils’ throwback jerseys. They look like Christmas threw up all over them. All they need are some multi-colored lights, and they would be a perfect contender for a holiday-themed jersey night. Sorry, New Jersey. Stick with red and black. It suits you well, it makes sense and it should not be messed with.
Honorable Mention: N/A (I really love the jerseys in the Metro, what can I say?)
GIF of the Year
A truly iconic moment that will go down in history, I’m sure.