The NHL Awards took place last night in Las Vegas, and was very interesting to watch. There didn’t seem to be too many surprises, and many finalists were very close (in terms of voting points) for many awards. There were also the many somber and touching moments that showed why the NHL and hockey in general are different from all others. It was an especially big night for the New Jersey Devils players in attendance that brought home hardware like Brian Boyle and Taylor Hall. Here’s a breakdown of how New Jersey Devils players fared at last night’s ceremony.
Brian Boyle Wins Masterton
Brian Boyle was a finalist for the Masterton, along with Carolina’s Jordan Staal and Florida’s Roberto Loungo. Before discussing Boyle, let me first say that Staal and Loungo were very worthy finalists, and the stories behind their nominations should not be overlooked. Boyle represents a cancer survivor who is doing what he loves, whose story is an inspirational one that anybody can follow. I previously wrote a piece praising Boyle’s perseverence and strength, so to see him getting recognized on this stage is truly gratifying. Boyle’s speech was quite emotional and he thanked everyone he could think of in what was truly a fitting end to his 2017-2018 campaign.
Will Butcher Makes NHL All-Rookie Team
Will Butcher has been a fantastic signing, and Devils fans were excited by his acquisition. Butcher was implemented more regularly throughout the season as his two-way play continued to steadily improve. Butcher ended the season with 39 assists and 44 points, which led all rookie defenseman in 2017-2018. Butcher has become a bright spot for this organization moving forward, and is already considered a core piece of the Devils defense. He became the first defenseman since Colin White to make the NHL All-Rookie Team, and set a franchise record for assists and points as a rookie defenseman for New Jersey. It’s safe to say Butcher certainly setthe bar early on in his NHL debut, when he tallied three assists against the Colorado Avalanche, and never looked back.
Hall For Hart Comes True
The big prize last night for league MVP went to New Jersey’s leading scorer, Taylor Hall, making him the first Devil that ever won the highly coveted Hart Trophy. Hall set new career-highs in goals, assists, points, and indisputably carried New Jersey to the playoffs. Without him, the Devils don’t come close to making the playoffs in what would have easily been another discouraging and forgettable season. In addition to a Ted Lindsay Award nomination, Hall also made the NHL First All-Star Team. He was truly special to watch this year, especially during his 26-game point streak where he tallied 18 goals and 38 points. The Devils have a lot to be optimistic about moving forward, and are further along in the rebuild (at this point) than anyone anticipated. The “Hall for Hart” campaign was ultimately a success, and it’s great that the voters recognized how much Hall’s season with New Jersey fit the “most valuable player to his team” description that determines who gets the award.
In addition to the honors bestowed onto Boyle, Hall, and Butcher, Coach Hynes finished sixth in voting for the Jack Adams Award, while Nico Hishicer finished fifth for the Calder Trophy. Here is the full list of awards and winners from last night…
CHEL 19 Cover Player : PK Subban, NSP
Ted Lindsay Award : Connor McDavid, EDM
Norris Trophy : Victor Hedman, TBL
King Clancy Trophy : Daniel and Henrik Sedin, VAC
Calder Trophy : Mathew Barzal, NYI
Lady Byng Trophy : William Karlsson, VGK
Masterton Trophy : Brian Boyle, NJD
Selke Trophy : Anze Kopitar, LAK
Jack Adams : Gerard Gallant, VGK
Messier Leadership Award : Deryk Engelland, VGK
Vezina Trophy : Pekka Rinne, NSP
GM of The Year : George McPhee, VGK
Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award : Darcy Haugun, Humboldt Broncos Coach
Hart Trophy : Taylor Hall, NJD