The NHL Awards will be handed out at a ceremony in Las Vegas tonight and the only Montreal Canadiens up for an award is their general manager Marc Bergevin who is up for GM of the year. Though Bergevin is the lone Canadien up for an award, a case could be made for a pair of others, and I will make that case right now.
P.K. Subban once again carried the Canadiens attack from the blue line, scoring ten goals and 53 points this season. His 53 points ranked 5th among all defenders and 30 of those points came at even strength, which was 8th most among defenders this season.
It is not all about offense though, and Subban does not get near the recognition he deserves for the work he does in his own end. Subban’s defensive game has improved each year and it has reached the point where he can play against every team’s best players.
The only thing holding Subban back is that his coach elects to rest him when the team is shorthanded. It is not that Subban can’t be trusted when down a man, but the team has many other options who can handle the penalty kill minutes, but are nowhere nearly as effective as Subban at even strength and especially on the power play.
Subban is one of the best offensive defensemen in the entire league, and is no stranger to throwing a huge hit or blocking a shot or holding some of the game’s elite players off the scoresheet. Though Shea Weber and Duncan Keith are worthy nominees of the Norris Trophy, and one of them should win it, I would also have Subban ranked in the top three and I bet when the voting is revealed, the Habs top defender won’t be far down the list.
Though I would have had Subban in my top three voting for the Norris Trophy, I wouldn’t exactly say he was snubbed. Carey Price however, was most definitely one of the top three goaltenders in the NHL this season and should be recognized as such.
Price was the backbone of the Habs team that would have missed the postseason altogether without him, but finished the regular season with 100 points thanks to his incredible performance.
Price had a record of 34-20-5 in his 59 starts, which placed him sixth in the league in victories. His goals against average of 2.32 was seventh among starting goaltenders in the league, but his .927 save percentage was the second best among NHL netminders. This means if you took a shot at any goaltender in the world over the last season, Price was the second most likely person to stop it.
What makes Price’s save percentage more spectacular is that he was one of the busiest goaltenders in the league last season. Price faced 1828 shots last season which was the fifth most of all goaltenders. This was almost 200 more shots than Tuukka Rask faced, who was the only starter with a better save percentage than Price’s .927. Price also had the second most shutouts last season with six.
The Bruins Rask and Sergei Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche are worthy nominees for the Vezina Trophy, but it is a shame that Carey Price was not awarded for his tremendous efforts this season. I would have voted Varlamov as the winner, but Price would have had my vote as the runner up.
So best of luck to Bergevin who has a chance to take some hardware home to Montreal tonight, but there is no denying he is not the only Montreal Canadien who deserves recognition for a fine season. They may not be honoured tonight, but the Habs are very lucky to have one of the best defenseman and goaltenders in the entire world.