Monday, April 29, 2013

Minnesota Wild 2013 Regular Season Awards

Since the playoffs begin tomorrow, I decided we would pay our respects to the 2013 regular season, by handing out some hardware. It seems early to be doing this, but I'm going to go ahead and do this anyway.

Team MVP: Ryan Suter-Zach Parise and Matt Cullen were in the running as well for this award, but in the end, Suter was the clear choice for this award. Suter lead the NHL in average time on ice per game with 27:16 of ice time. He eclipsed 30+ minutes of TOI 10 times this year, including three out of the final four games of the season. Suter ranked second among NHL defenseman with 28 assists (Kris Letang had 33), while scoring four goals. Suter's poise in any situation was a great addition to the Wild roster this year and bolstered a blue line that is rather bothersome, after the top d-pairing. As we saw in the St. Louis game on April 11th, Suter missed the last half of the game, the defense looked awful and suffered horribly without him. He returned the next game and helped the team win a big matchup against Columbus (A 3-2 shootout win, which looks pretty good right now). Plain and simple: Ryan Suter is the Wild MVP of the season. There is no argument there.

Benoit Pouliot Award (Rookie of the Year): Jonas Brodin-Since Brodin will finish in the top three of the Calder Award (NHL ROY) voting, this award was not a close decision (with all respect to Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker). Brodin, 19, showed poise of a 29 year old, while being an anchor on the top d-pairing with Ryan Suter. Brodin showed tremendous defensive skills, putting on a clinic to some of the best forwards in the league, while adding 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) on the season. He will be a staple on the Wild blue line for many seasons to come, and at the age of 19, still has his best years ahead of him.

Keith Carney Award (+/- leader): Matt Cullen (+9)-A finalist for Team MVP award, Cullen was a tremendous asset for the Wild this year as their second line center. He posted a 7-20-27 line on the year, in 42 games played. We saw in those games he missed, the team was just lost and confused without him. To win the +/- award, Cullen only finished the game with a minus just seven times out of those 42. He also never finished a game with a -3 or worse this year. Considering some of the games the Wild has played this year, that is no easy feat.

Performance of the Year: Josh Harding vs Dallas-There was a lot of coverage about Harding this offseason, once he was diagnosed with MS. He continued on with his hockey career, and in his first game this season, he notched a 24 save shutout against Dallas. Harding missed a good chunk of time later on in the year, but has returned to the Wild lineup in time for the playoffs. He is the Wild's nominee for the Masterton Trophy, and after reading the other 29 canidates, he should be a lock to win that award.

Hit of the Year: Charlie Coyle-13 seconds into the April 13th game against Columbus, Charlie Coyle delivered a controversial, but legal, hit to Columbus F Artem Anisimov. Four seconds later, Coyle was locked in a fight with Brandon Dubinsky, then was given a match penalty following the conclusion of the fight. The match penalty was rescinded the next day, confirming the legality of the hit. Coyle has been a force on the top line this year, bring a bit of physicality that his line mates Koivu and Parise, do not.

Goal of the Year: Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter-Another award handed out with very little contest. This goal was a thing of beauty to see, and continues to get better over time. Please watch the goal and admire how awesome it is.

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