Writer’s Note: These awards are the opinions of seven of our writers and admins here at DAB.
We are well into the first round of the NHL playoffs, but once again it began without any Devils hockey. Between the Devils last game and now, it has given the writers and staff at Devils Army Blog enough time to reflect on a disappointing season. Below are a list of team awards and the individuals who we respectively think brandished that specific endowment.
Best Acquisition…Taylor Hall (6)
The Devils had a decent amount of turnover from last season and a bunch of new faces such as Taylor Hall, Ben Lovejoy, and P.A. Parenteau among others. Our first award to kick off the 2017 DAB awards was an easy one to assign. As the leading point-getter in his inaugural season with the Devils (20G, 33A), Taylor Hall blew away the competition as our staff, in a 6-0 vote.
Worst Acquisition…Ben Lovejoy (3)
Lovejoy was a huge disappointment. Despite appearing in all 82 games, people were constantly upset with his negligent plays that would often result in turnovers, goals, or penalties. Lovejoy also was one of the worst defensemen in terms of Relative Corsi (shots generated when on ice compared to off). The reason given from those who selected Lovejoy cited that since Prout (small-sample size) and Quincey (minimum contract) were minor risks.
Runner-ups: Dalton Pout (2), Kyle Quincey (1)
Break0ut Player…Miles Wood (4)
Every year we always seem to see an individual emerge of nowhere and exceed expectations. Last year Kyle Palmieri took fans by storm while Lee Stempniak (later traded to the Bruins), also exceeded expectations. For the staff, this award came down to Miles Wood, John Moore, and Pavel Zacha. Wood quickly became a fan favorite and a special, raw young talent (8G, 9A). The figuring behind going with Miles Wood was how he came into the season with no expectations and still performed on a more than acceptably level for a rookie.
Runner-up: John Moore (2)
Best Offensive Forward….Kyle Palmieri (3)
When you think of offense generated by the Devils, the names that instantly may shoot to your brain are forwards such as Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, and Adam Henrique. Ultimately, the Best Offensive Forward award was given to Kyle Palmieri, who tied with Taylor Hall for the team lead in points (53). Palmieri created offense in many situations as he generated the second-most shorthanded points, led the team in goals (26), and power-play points (19).
Runner-ups: Taylor Hall (2), Adam Henrique (1)
Best Defensive Forward….Travis Zajac (4)
In our staff’s version of the Selke Trophy, we narrowed it down to a few candidates. Two obviously come to mind- Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique. Both played valuable minutes on the penalty kill and each would be on the ice in crunch-time situations at the end of the game. Ultimately, the award went to Zajac as year in and out, it always seems like the Devils could count on Travis to be that shut-down defensive center.
Runner-up: Beau Bennett (2)
Best Defenseman….Damon Severson (4)
When examining the Devils defense core, it became apparent who the winner should be. That is why Damon Severson came away with the Best Defenseman award. The other possible options were Andy Greene who had a relatively disappointing year in terms of his normal production, and John Moore who was electric on the offensive end but too much of a liability in defensive situations. Severson ranked first among the Devils defense in points and many Corsi-related statistics.
Runner-up: John Moore (2)
Rookie of the Year….Pavel Zacha (6)
A lot of rookies were in and out of the Devils lineup this year. Not many played a sufficient amount of time to truly get a read on what they can bring in the upcoming seasons. The rookies that we as a staff decided for our version of the “Calder Trophy”, were forwards Pavel Zacha, Miles Wood, and defenseman Steven Santini. Each played valuable minutes and made significant contributions this year. Due to his valuable minutes (especially on the power play), we are awarding Pavel Zacha the Rookie of the Year award in a 6-0 vote.
Fan Favorite….Taylor Hall (3) and Fan Hated….Jon Merrill (3)
Our next award is two-parts as this was actually selected by you, our readers. For this award, the staff at DAB examined our social media and picked who our follower’s seemed to favor and dislik the most. Three names mentioned in a positive manner the most were Taylor Hall, John Moore, and Miles Wood. Overwhelmingly, the Fan Favorite wound up being first year Devil Taylor Hall. On the other end of the spectrum, the three names that kept coming up in a negative manner where Jon Merrill, Ben Lovejoy and Cory Schneider. To the surprise to many of us here it seemed as if the most complained about player was defenseman Jon Merrill, hence prompting our decision to go with him.
Runner-ups: Kyle Palmieri (2) Miles Wood (1) and Ben Lovejoy (2), Cory Schneider (1)
2016-2017 Team MVP….Taylor Hall (5)
What usually is a tight contested race in most settings was completely different for us this time around. With a 5-1 vote, we awarded left wing Taylor Hall our 2016-2017 Team MVP award. This simply came down to the fact that Hall was at times, the only Devil that could get anything going in any aspects of the game. Whether it be Taylor being tied for the lead in points (53), his jaw-dropping ability to pass the puck, or even his sneaky ability to get back on defense made him the perfect choice for MVP.
Runner-up: Kyle Palmieri (1)