First Quarter Season Review

By Greg Komarnicky
In Headlines
Nov 23rd, 2016
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Hard to believe that one quarter of the season is already gone. As most teams have now hit or surpassed the 20 game threshold it is time to take a look back at how players and teams have done for the start of the season.

Big Events

Oct 12th – Austin Matthews Debut

Oct 19th – Patrik Laine Hattrick

Oct 20th – Carey Price returns from injury

Oct 25th – Sidney Crosby returns from injury

Oct 27th – Hampus Lindholm signs extension with Ducks

Nov 4th – Habs finally lose in regulation, 10-0 against BlueJackets

Nov 7th – Jacob Trouba signs extension with Jets

Nov 8th – Laine scores his 2nd hattrick

Nov 15th – Steven Stamkos goes down with injury

 

First Quarter Awards and Future Look

 

President’s Cup

This 1st quarter has seen plenty of ups and downs as the start of the season usually, does. We have watched the Habs start unstoppable and the flip into a team that can be stopped…..6 out of 20 times. They finish the 1st quarter at the top. However the Rangers and Blackhawks are biting at their heels, and the current Cup reigning Penguins are looking for an opening for a pass.

Quarter Winner: Montreal Canadiens

Runners Up: New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins

End of Season Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins

Hard not to have the current reigning champs of the Stanley Cup as the winners of the President’s Cup. So long as they are among the top 5 they are the safest pick to win the President’s Cup.

 

Hart Trophy

When all the predictions of McDavid winning the Hart came out during pre-season, I was scoffing thinking that people need to give the kid a break. Turns out McDavid needs to give the NHL a break. 25 points puts him as the points leader at the end of quarter 1 beating out Scheifele by a narrow margin. The efforts of McDavid and a great start to the season by Talbot has the Oilers more playoff hopeful than ever.

Quarter Winner: Connor McDavid

Runners Up: Mark Scheifele, Sidney Crosby, Carey Price

End of Season Prediction: Sidney Crosby

Hard not to say Crosby. Sid the Kid is at is again with a stellar season. For a moment sticking on pace to beat records, now on pace to have one of his best seasons yet. A consistent man in a non-consistent era, Crosby is a safe pick for any award a forward can win.

 

Art Ross Trophy

As mentioned, McDavid is the points leader, but by a very small margin. Mark Scheifele is holding the 2nd spot by a single point and has been red hot. But Nikita Kucherov is tied with Scheifele as well. expect this race to change leaders about 6 or 7 times before we hit this Saturday with how tight this race is for Art Ross right now.

Quarter Winner: Connor McDavid

Runners Up: Mark Scheifele, Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Seguin

End of Season Prediction: Sidney Crosby

Well, if I have Crosby having one of his best seasons of his career, then there is no question he wins the Art Ross. Crosby’s weaker season is most player’s dreams. Crosby will be fun to watch this year as always.

 

Rocket Richard Trophy

 

Quarter Winner: Sidney Crosby

It is amazing what Crosby can do in so little time. Though tied with Grabner and Laine for goals, Crosby has played in only 13 games compared to Laine’s 21 and Grabner’s 20. Crosby continues to surprise us and prove why he is the best in the world.

Runners Up: Michael Grabner, Patrik Laine, Marian Hossa, Mark Scheifele

End of Season Prediction: Sidney Crosby

Hard not to argue with the pace he is at right now. he is nearly a goal per game so far. You can never count out Ovechkin tho, and Laine AKA Ovechkin 2.0 is not far off himself.

 

Norris Trophy

I’ll be one of the 1st to say that Shea Weber is proving me wrong so far. He is looking very good with Montreal so far. However, it is the mixture of both offense and defense that has Burns above him. Both being neck to neck for points it is Burns working above and beyond that gives him the extra step. No surprise to see Karlsson among the names here, but Werenski is. The rookie has turned heads to start his career.

Quarter Winner: Brett Burns

Runners Up: Shea Weber, Erik Karlsson, Zach Werenski

End of Season Prediction: Brett Burns

Wouldn’t it be nice to see Burns win a Norris trophy. A name that was fresh to the ballot box last year. Burns has continued his impressive play this year. Hard to imagine that he can’t keep it up.

 

Vezina Trophy

I know what you are thinking. What is Dubnyk doing winning the Vezina if Price is a Hart nominee and he is not? Well, that’s just how good these goalies has been this 1st quarter. Dubnyk, Price and Rask are almost interchangeable for who has had the best start. With Rask putting up numbers never seen in the past few decades for the Bruins, Price being typical Price and Dubnyk flashing leather like he did his 1st year with the Wild. If these 3 can keep it up, then it will be hard to know which will win the Vezina.

Quarter Winner: Devan Dubnyk

Runners Up: Carey Price, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne

End of Season Prediction: Carey Price

As I said, at this rate all 3 are interchangeable, but the safest choice is as always Price. The only one of the 3 to win the Hart let alone the Vezina.

 

Lady Byng Trophy

Lady Byng may be the 2nd hardest of the trophies to work with with a quarter of the season. So many players with so few penalty minutes. However, there are those who has stuck out so far. Toffoli is the big one. Zero penalty minutes while still collecting 13 points in 20 games is an impressive feat.

Quarter Winner: Tyler Toffoli

Runners Up: Nathan Mackinnon, Austin Matthews, Aleksander Barkov

End of Season Prediction: Aleksander Barkov

Well, Barkov being among the group last year for Lady Byng finalist makes it no surprise to see him here. Zero penalty minutes in 20 games so far this season. Look for him to keep that up.

 

Frank J. Selke Trophy

And now the hardest trophy to work with in just one quarter of the season. With this, you can only work with what you got. Right now it is Backes. Since joining the Bruins he has had to work so many different roles, replacing Bergeron to start, then moving between 2 lines. But the one thing he has had consistently this season is defense. For that reason, he is my choice.

Quarter Winner: David Backes

Runners Up: Alex Galchenyuk, Tyler Toffoli, Ryan Kesler

End of Season Prediction: David Backes

Being the hardest trophy to predict, the best thing to do is work with what you got. Backes is the quarterly winner, might as well say he can keep that up and win it all.

 

Jack Adams Trophy

Where did the Rangers come from? A team that struggled at times last year, came in with people not predicting them in the top group this season, and now this? A Grabner who is scoring non-stop, a lights out rookie D, Wingers who are consistently putting up points. Vigneault has turned this team into a winning team this 1st quarter.

Quarter Winner: Alain Vigneault

Runners Up: Todd McLellan, Mike Babcock, John Hynes

End of Season Prediction: Alain Vigneault

And who says it cannot continue? The Rangers are now looking like a team that is 4 lines deep and is continuing to shine. If their rookies can keep it up, then the Rangers will be very scary this year.

 

Bill Masterson Trophy

How can he not be the winner? With all that is going on behind the scenes for him, the world can expect nothing from Craig Anderson. Despite that, the man returns to help his team and in what was one of the most emotional moments in hockey, becomes the golden boy for a night and records a remarkable shutout. To see him do this for his team in a devastating moment for him is surreal. There is no other person even close to deserving in my eyes.

Quarter Winner: Craig Anderson

Runners Up: Devon Setoguchi, Mike Condon, Jaromir Jagr

End of Season Prediction: Craig Anderson

If someone comes in with a bigger story than Anderson this year, then that would not be a good thing because that person would have to overcome something bigger and Anderson’s obstacle is big enough. Anderson wins the Masterson hands down.

 

Calder Trophy

You can’t argue this decision. Any rookie tied for the most goals in the league through 20 games…more than Ovechkin will be in Calder talks. Top for points for rookies, and scoring, Laine is an easy choice for the current winner of the Calder trophy.

Quarter Winner: Patrik Laine

Runners Up: William Nylander, Zach Werenski, Mitchell Marner

End of Season Prediction: Patrik Laine

This may very well be one of, if not the greatest rookie class we have seen. So predicting a winner is tough. Laine is proving all doubters wrong so far and has set the highest bar any rookie can set by challenging Selanne’s goals by a rookie record earlier this year. If he can keep up this scoring, and continue to prove all doubters wrong, that may not seem so impossible anymore.

 

Current Standings and Predictions

 

Current Standings

Eastern Conference

  1. Montreal Canadiens – 20gp – 14-4-2 – 30pts
  2. New York Rangers – 20gp – 14-5-1 – 29pts
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins – 19gp – 11-5-3 – 25pts
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning – 20gp – 12-7-1 – 25pts
  5. Washington Capitals – 18gp – 11-5-2 – 24pts
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets – 17gp – 10-4-3 – 23pts
  7. Ottawa Senators – 19gp – 11-7-1 – 23pts
  8. Boston Bruins – 19gp – 11-8-0 – 22pts
  9. New Jersey Devils – 18gp – 9-6-3 – 21pts
  10. Florida Panthers – 20gp – 10-9-1 – 21pts
  11. Philadelphia Flyers – 20gp – 9-8-3 – 21pts
  12. Carolina Hurricanes – 18gp – 8-6-4 – 20pts
  13. Toronto Maple Leafs – 19gp – 8-8-3 – 19pts
  14. Buffalo Sabres – 19gp – 8-10-1 – 17pts
  15. Detroit Red Wings – 19gp – 8-10-1 – 17pts
  16. New York Islanders – 18gp – 6-8-4 – 16pts

Western Conference

  1. Chicago Blackhawks – 20gp – 13-5-2 – 28pts
  2. St. Louis Blues – 20gp – 11-6-3 – 25pts
  3. Edmonton Oilers – 20gp – 11-8-1 – 23pts
  4. Anaheim Ducks – 20gp – 9-7-4 – 22pts
  5. San Jose Sharks – 19gp – 10-8-1 – 21pts
  6. Los Angeles Kings – 20gp – 10-9-1 – 21pts
  7. Dallas Stars – 20gp – 8-7-5 – 21pts
  8. Minnesota Wild – 18gp – 9-7-2 – 20pts
  9. Winnipeg Jets – 21gp – 9-10-2 – 20pts
  10. Nashville Predators – 18gp – 8-7-3 – 19pts
  11. Colorado Avalanche – 18gp – 9-9-0 – 18pts
  12. Calgary Flames – 21gp – 8-12-1 – 17pts
  13. Vancouver Canucks – 19gp – 7-10-2 – 16pts
  14. Arizona Coyotes – 17gp – 6-9-2 – 14pts

 

We have definitely seen some teams shock the league so far. No one expected the dominance of the Canadiens, or the offensive juggernaut that is the Columbus Blue Jackets. Edmonton Oilers looks to finally be the real deal. However we sure have thought that before. It is still very early, and teams will most definitely rise or fall. So I decided to predict what the standings may look like at the end of the season based off what we have seen so far.

 

Eastern Conference

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. New York Rangers
  3. Washington Capitals
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning
  5. Florida Panthers
  6. Montreal Canadiens
  7.  Columbus Blue Jackets
  8. Boston Bruins
  9. Detroit Red Wings
  10. Philadelphia Flyers
  11. Ottawa Senators
  12. New Jersey Devils
  13. Carolina Hurricanes
  14. Toronto Maple Leafs
  15. Buffalo Sabres
  16. New York Islanders

Western Conference

  1. Chicago Blackhawks
  2. St. Louis Blues
  3. Edmonton Oilers
  4. Nashville Predators
  5. San Jose Sharks
  6. Anaheim Ducks
  7. Winnipeg Jets
  8. Minnesota Wild
  9. Los Angeles Kings
  10. Dallas Stars
  11. Colorado Avalanche
  12. Calgary Flames
  13. Vancouver Canucks
  14. Arizona Coyotes

The biggest risers are the Predators. Subban is finally starting to click with his new team, throw in their great top 4 D, a hot Rinne and Preds will be solid. Some scoring addition would be nice for them, however. The Canadiens are bound to fall as Price can’t be this good for this long. That being said, I have been saying that for the past 8 games and they are still holding strong. The return of Trouba for the Jets should help them jump up so long as the rookies and young guns can continue to impress. The loss of Stamkos and Hall with injuries should see Tampa and the Devils fall a few slots down the standings. Hard to have the Wings out of the playoffs, so a 9th place finish is safe for now.

Greg Komarnicky (216 Posts)

Founder and President of League It To Us. Contact me either through twitter @LITUGregK or email gregk@leagueittous.com for hockey questions, site questions, business questions or anything else that may be on your mind.


About "" Has 216 Posts

Founder and President of League It To Us. Contact me either through twitter @LITUGregK or email gregk@leagueittous.com for hockey questions, site questions, business questions or anything else that may be on your mind.

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