ATA now presents you with the 2018 NHL Awards.
Award for the Worst General Manager, and the nominees are:
Chuck Fletcher of the Minnesota Wild was the general manager since 2009 and was able to keep his job after trading Norris trophy winning Brent Burns to the San Jose Sharks in 2011. The Wild received Charlie Coyle along with Devin Setoguchi in the deal, but the Sharks clearly won considering what Burns has been able to do in San Jose.
Then he was able to keep his job after signing both defenseman Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to extremely lucrative deals and signed both to a long-ass term. Despite having made the playoffs the last six of seven years, the team has not been able to make it past the first in their last three.
Peter Chiarelli of the Edmonton Oilers would not stop making headlines his first few years in Canada. He and his team were fortunate enough to draft arguably the best player in the world in Connor McDavid, but Chiarelli has done everything he can to spoil the fruits of luck he had struck with the exception of having Leon Draisaitl.
Throughout his time there, Chiarelli traded last year’s MVP Taylor Hall for defenseman Adam Larsson, traded Jordan Eberle to the Isle for Ryan Strome in order to move cap space and sign defenseman Kris Russell. Big contracts to some big busts and bad moves slowed Edmonton down even though they had made it to the second round before losing to the Ducks the year before.
Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens continues to make head-scratching trades this summer by moving forward Alex Galchenyuk to the Arizona Coyotes for forward Max Domi. Yeah, Domi throws a mean uppercut but does not have the point production Galchenyuk has been able to have in Montreal.
Hopes were high in Montreal this year as goalie Carey Price looked healthy enough to carry the holes the team has had at center and defense the whole time Bergevin has been in charge. Montreal has missed the playoffs two of the last three years and was bounced in the first round the last time they had made it.
Winner: Fletcher only because the other two still have jobs heading into the 2018-2019 season.
Award for the Worst 2017-2018 NHL Regular Season, the nominees are:
In 2016-17, the Edmonton Oilers, led by McDavid’s Hart Trophy-worthy campaign were able to make it back into the playoffs and do some damage before succumbing to the Anaheim Ducks. McDavid put up 100 points that season, Draisaitl put up 77 points, and goalie Cam Talbot played like a number one goalie.
This year, McDavid eclipsed 100 points again and could have been in the running again had it not been for the disastrous year the team had. Plagued by players not living up to their potentials like Milan Lucic and Talbot in addition to there being no center capable to provide the offensive support McDavid needs, the Oilers failed to make the playoffs and wasted another incredible year by their captain.
The Ottawa Senators had a roller coaster of a season both on and off the ice. On the ice, the team had stumbled to find their footing even after trading for forwarding Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche and finishing the regular season with just 67 points.
On top of their poor performance, rumors around the captain and elite defenseman Erik Karlsson have all but kept swirling and continue to do so. Karlsson is in the last year of his contract and considering no negotiations have led to a signing, the future of Karlsson in Ottawa remains unclear.
The Chicago Blackhawks had a tumultuous year having missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Captain Jonathan Toews had his lowest point total since 2012-2013, has not played a full 82-game season since 2008-2009 and is signed for another 2022-2023 at an AAV of $10.5 million.
The loss of winger Artemi Panarin combined with the inflated contracts of players like Brent Seabrook and the uncertain health concerns surrounding goalie Corey Crawford could be a window into the future of what Chicago’s future could look like.
Winner: Ottawa Senators.
The Award for the Worst 2017-2018 Playoffs and the nominees are:
The Los Angeles Kings made the playoffs with the help of bounce-back seasons from captain Anze Kopitar and former captain Dustin Brown. Goalie Jonathan Quick won the Jennings Trophy and all-star defenseman Drew Doughty had a Norris trophy-worthy season before losing it to Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman in Las Vegas in June.
However, all the luck (and scoring) dried up when the Kings faced the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Yes, the Golden Knights were collectively faster than the Kings and Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played well enough to carry them to the Cup Final, but scoring three goals in four games is not going to win any series regardless if they have Quick in net.
The Nashville Predators came into the 2017-2018 season as favorites to win the Stanley Cup given their run the year before and proved to be favorites during the regular season by winning the Presidents’ Trophy for best regular season record.
The team seemed to have a difficult time handling the less experienced Colorado Avalanche but was able to pull through in order to face the Winnipeg Jets. The Predators and Jets played a seven-game series and in game seven, Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Pekka Rinne was pulled just as were the Stanley Cup hopes in Smashville.
The San Jose Sharks have a reputation of choking in the playoffs and did so again this year by failing to advance past the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the playoffs. Again, Knights’ goalie Fleury played extremely well, however, the Sharks have yet to find that groove that took Stella to the finals two years prior.
Their core is aging, their window is closing, and even though they have not won a Stanley Cup, their playoff beards keep getting longer and longer.
Winner: Nashville Predators.
The Award for the Worst 2017-2018 Offseason, and the nominees are:
The New York Islanders watched their franchise player leave for another more popular franchise. That’s like me making out with this hot chick at a party, leaving to grab the two of us a beer before heading back up to a room only to come back to her macking on some other dude who is way better looking and way richer than me.
Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello sailed across the ports of Maine and the furthest tips of the East Coast only to see Tavares flying past him in a sports boat whilst throwing empty champagne bottles out the side heading the other way. Ol’ Louie, Leo Komarov, Matt Martin, and Barry Trotz
The Vancouver Canucks had two bright spots during their 2017-2018 regular season. One was watching Calder trophy finalist Brock Boeser have a fantastic year before succumbing to injury late in the season and the other was being able to watch Daniel and Henrik Sedin play for the last time.
The Sedin twins, drafted number two and three overall in the 1999 NHL draft, have combined to play in over 1,600 regular season games solely with the Canucks franchise and recorded over 1,000 points each. It was a pleasure watching those two play together and it is a significant blow to the Canucks moving forward.
It was a tough time to be an Ottawa Senators fan during the regular season and the offseason has brought no clarity to the current state of the franchise. Former winger Mike Hoffman’s girlfriend had an order of protection filed against her by Erik Karlsson’s wife that led to Hoffman being traded to San Jose and then traded again to Florida. And San Jose seemed to have received the better return.
Ottawa Senator’s owner Eugene Melnyk threatened to move the franchise because of poor attendance, general manager Pierre Dorion has been anything but candid in his statements addressing the future of Karlsson, and former assistant general manager Randy Lee resigned after being arrested for harassing a 19-year-old shuttle driver.
On top of all of that, the team was only able to secure forward Mark Stone and defenseman Cody Ceci to one-year contracts leaving Stone eligible for unrestricted free agency next year and Ceci as an RFA heading into 2018-2019.
Winner: Ottawa Senators.
Award for the Worst Free-Agent Signing, and the nominees are:
Vancouver Canucks signing Antoine Roussel to a four-year/$12 million deal. Roussel scored 17 points last season.
Pittsburgh Penguins signed defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year/$16.25 deal. Johnson is a career minus-109 and has never scored more than ten goals in a season.
The St. Louis Blues brought back and signed David Perron to a four-year/$16 million deal. Perron was able to score 66-points last season with the Vegas Golden Knights, but was limited to 70 games and has a history of concussions.
Winner: Vancouver Canucks and Antoine Roussel.
The Award for the Worst 2017-2018 Trade, and the nominees are:
Vegas Golden Knights traded a 2018 first round pick, a 2019 second round pick and a 2021 third round pick to the Detroit Red Wings for Tomáš Tatar on February 26, 2018; three significant pieces for an expansion team regardless of their first-year success.
After being traded to the Golden Knights, Tatar had four goals and six points in 20 games, was a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs and still needs to find a way to insert himself permanently on the Vegas roster come the start of the 2018-2019 season.
The Boston Bruins traded a 2018 first round pick, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, defenseman Ryan Lindgren and a 2019 seventh-round pick to the New York Rangers for Rick Nash.
Nash was playing on the last year of his last contract with the Rangers when coming into Boston, but only managed to score six points in 11 regular season games with the Bruins and five points in 12 playoff games.
The three-way trade between the Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators, and the Colorado Avalanche proved to be damaging for the Ottawa Senators. Not only was the regular season a bust for Ottawa for the aforementioned reasons, but they traded a ton to get Duchene including their first-round draft pick in 2019 as they elected to hold on to their pick this year.
Even though Duchene put up 23 goals and 49 points in 68 games for the Senators, the facts that Colorado still made it to the playoffs and Kyle Turris (whom Nashville received in the trade) only scored eight fewer points than Duchene.
Winner: The Vegas Golden Knights.
Thank you for joining us here at ATA and congratulations to all of our winners. We’ll see you next year.