A pair of Calgary Flames will be making the trip to Las Vegas for Wednesday night’s NHL Awards ceremony. Mark Giordano will be up for a pair of awards (Norris and Mark Messier Leadership Award) while Sean Monahan is in the running for the Lady Byng trophy. Let’s break down each player’s award and their likelihood of winning it.
Sean Monahan - Lady Byng/Most Gentlemanly Player
Player who “exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”
Sean Monahan is in the running for the first award of his NHL career as he was nominated for the Lady Byng trophy. Monahan has always been known as a guy who doesn’t get too involved in any extracurricular activity, which is both a good and bad thing depending on who you ask. He set a new career low in PIM this year with just 12, but also had the best year statistically of his career leading to the nomination. Monahan could be the third Flame in the last five years to win the trophy after Johnny Gaudreau won it in 2016-17 and Jiri Hudler won it in 2014-15.
His competition for the award will be Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues, and Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers. Barkov had 96 points and just 8 PIM this year with Florida, while O’Reilly had 77 points and 12 PIM.
I ultimately think Barkov will win this award by a significant margin as he had a tremendous season and probably could’ve been in the Hart running.
Mark Giordano - Mark Messier Leadership Award
The player “who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season and who plays a leading role in his community growing the game of hockey.”
Giordano will be challenged by Wayne Simmonds of the Nashville Predators and Justin Williams of the Carolina Hurricanes for this award. All three have made huge impacts on their local communities over the past year and are all very deserving of the award, not much more to say on this really. The NHL did a really good rundown on each of their community contributions which you can read here.
Mark Giordano - Norris Trophy / Best Defenseman
“The award is given annually to the defenseman voted to have demonstrated the greatest all-around ability at the position throughout the season.”
This is the big one. After a number of really good seasons during his 30’s, Giordano is finally up for the Norris Trophy and the general consensus around the league seems to be that he’s going to win it. Giordano would be the first Calgary Flame to ever win the trophy after Dion Phaneuf and Al MacInnis were runner-ups in the past.
Giordano had the best season of his career statistically and overall play, helping lead the Flames to a 2nd overall finish in the regular season. He crushed his previous career high of 56 points by putting up 74, and oh year, he did it at age 35.
His challengers for the trophy will be Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, arguably the two premiere defensemen annually in the NHL. While Burns has Gio beat in terms of points, I ultimately think Gio’s all around game surpasses Burns and brings the first Norris trophy to Calgary.
That wraps up the awards preview for this year, I’m looking forward to see how many awards these two bring back to Calgary. I’m also still waiting for someone to pay homage to the slightly (pretty) blasted Jiri Hudler in red dress socks from 2015. What a time that was.