June 21 — NHL Awards Night & the 2022 Memorial Cup

Yesterday’s NHL Score

Last Night’s News 📰

MEMORIAL CUP UNDERWAY: For the first time since 2019, the Memorial Cup is back underway. Hosts and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJHL) third-best team during the regular season, Saint John Sea Dogs, got the tournament started with a 5-3 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). 

COMING TO AMERICA: Following eight seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Andrei Kuzmenko will sign with the Vancouver Canucks to come over and play next season. The 26-year-old free agent finished second in the KHL in points last season with 53.

A TRIUMPHANT RETURN:  Kraft Heinz Canada, in partnership with the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association, will host two NHL preseason games between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. The games will be held on October 6, 2022, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and on October 8, 2022, in New Brunswick.

AWARDING EXCELLENCE: USA Hockey National Team Development Program defenseman Lane Hutson received the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, the NHL announced yesterday. Hutson also earned top defenseman honors at the 2022 IIHF World U18 Championship earlier this year and is the 25th-ranked North American skater in the upcoming NHL Draft.

BOLTING BACK: Tampa Bay generated four fewer shots in just the first period of Game 3 than in Game 2, as the Lightning struck back for a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Eight players finished the night with two points (five Bolts, three Avs), and Corey Perry became the first NHL player to score a goal with four separate teams in the Cup Final.

Trivia Tuesday

How Well Do You Know Andrei Vasilevskiy?

  1. Vasilevsky helped Russia to a fourth-place finish at the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championship at what age?
    • 14
    • 15
    • 16
    • 17

  2. What year did Vasilevskiy win the Vezina Trophy?
    • 2021
    • 2020
    • 2019
    • 2018

  3. Vasilevsky has recorded the most shutouts against which team during the regular season?
    • Florida Panthers
    • Boston Bruins
    • Nashville Predators
    • Dallas Stars

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

The Memorial Cup is Here!

For the first time since 2019, the Memorial Cup is underway! COVID has kept the four-team tournament to decide the best team in Canadian junior hockey on the sidelines, but now it’s back. And things are about to get interesting. We’ve already seen the host Saint John Sea Dogs open the tournament by winning a 5-3 thriller over the Hamilton Bulldogs and the bizarre introduction of a new points system hours before that first game.

The heart of the tournament is, of course, the clubs involved. Lucky for fans, this year’s crop makes the three-year wait worth it.

The Memorial Cup (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

Saint John Sea Dogs

The Memorial Cup host gets an automatic spot, which can sometimes make for an easy out for better teams. But the Sea Dogs saw an exceptional regular season end in disappointment in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs. Their unexpected ouster prompted them to fire head coach Gordie Dwyer and replace him with Gardiner MacDougall, who made his debut with Saint John with last night’s win.

Edmonton Oil Kings

Basically, the star-heavy Oil Kings are to the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) what the Michigan Wolverines were this past season to the NCAA, although they’re surely hoping for a different result. Edmonton’s talent is the envy of junior hockey, as they boast four NHL first-round picks who represented Canada at the World Juniors. Kaiden Guhle, Jake Neighbours, Dylan Guenther, and Sebastian Cossa led Edmonton to 50 regular-season wins and a WHL title. Is the Mem Cup next?

Shawinigan Cataractes

One of the best stories in junior hockey, the Cataractes are fresh off their first QMJHL title in franchise history. But for as unprecedented as the destination was, the journey was equally remarkable. Shawinigan clinched the President Cup with a Game 5 overtime winner by Pierrick Dube, the team’s league-record seventh OT win of the postseason. Shawin-derella, anyone?

Hamilton Bulldogs

Logan Morrison followed up a 100-point regular season with OHL playoff MVP honors, and Nathan Staios (son of Bulldogs president Steve Staios) was arguably the league’s best blueliner. But can we talk about Mason McTavish for a second? Over the last 12 months, McTavish was selected third overall in the NHL Entry Draft, debuted with the Anaheim Ducks, played in the AHL and OHL, and represented Canada at the World Juniors and Beijing Olympics.

2022 NHL Awards Primer

The 2022 NHL Awards take place tonight at Armature Works in Tampa, with the show airing at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and Sportsnet. Actor Kenan Thompson, who hosted the last live version of the event in 2019, returns as the master of ceremonies and includes several presenters who inspired or overcame adversity in the hockey world this past year.

Five awards will be up for grabs during the show: The Hart Trophy, the Vezina Trophy, the Norris Trophy, the Calder Trophy, and the Ted Lindsay Award. Here is a look at the finalists for each and how they fared this season.

Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player)

This year’s finalists for NHL MVP are Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin. While the 26-year-old Shesterkin will likely take home hardware tonight following a season in which he led the NHL in goals-against average (GAA) and save percentage (SV%), it probably won’t be this award.

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 25-year-old McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy for the second straight season as the league’s top point-scorer, finishing with 123 (44 goals, 79 assists). And if postseason stats went into consideration, Shesterkin and McDavid, who helped lead their teams to the conference finals, might have better odds. However, the favorite is the 24-year-old Matthews, who became the first American-born player—and the first player since 2011-12—to score 60 goals in a season.

Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender)

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

This trophy seems to be the most clear-cut of the awards handed out tonight. Only one goalie is an MVP candidate, so he will likely take home the Vezina. While the 32-year-old Jacob Markstrom had a career year for the impressive Calgary Flames, leading the NHL in shutouts with nine, and 27-year-old Nashville Predators netminder Juuse Saros was extremely impressive in his first season as the primary starter, neither can compete with Shesterkin‘s 2.07 GAA and .935 SV%.

Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year)

The three final contenders for the honor of the NHL’s top rookie during the 2021-22 season are Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting, Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras, and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider. At 26 years old, Bunting is by far the elder of the bunch but led all rookies in points (63) and finished second in both goals (23) and assists (40).

Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Zegras, only 21 years old, dazzled with highlight-reel plays on his way to a 61-point season (23 goals, 38 assists), while the 21-year-old Seider is the favorite to win the award. Seider finished fourth among all rookies in points (50) and first in assists (43) while playing a more demanding position on a weaker team.

Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman)

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The fight for the Norris Trophy is down to two men, Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche. With no disrespect to Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, both playmakers put up historically good scoring seasons. Makar’s 86 points (14 goals, 41 assists) would have been the most by a defenseman in almost 30 years if not for the 32-year-old Josi, who finished with 96 points (23 goals, 73 assists). Josi will probably win this award, but the 23-year-old Makar would prefer to win another trophy this year anyway.

Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player, Voted on by NHLPA)

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

In what might be the prize most up for grabs tonight, three players could all make the case to be the most outstanding player as voted on by the NHL Players’ Association. Those three are the top defenseman (Josi), the top point-scorer (McDavid), and the top goal-scorer (Matthews). It will come down to who their peers feel deserves to be recognized the most as the league’s best player.  

Trivia Answers

  1. 15 Years Old
  2. 2019
  3. Dallas Stars

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Stanley Cup Final Schedule

* If Necessary