Arctic Ice Hockey's 2011-12 Mid-Season NHL Awards

LAS VEGAS - JUNE 23: Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks poses for a portrait with the Hart Memorial Trophy during the 2010 NHL Awards at the Palms Casino Resort on June 23, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Hey all! Last week, the NHL officially reached the half-way point of its 2011-12 season. To celebrate, five Arctic Ice Hockey writers have collaborated to bring our faithful readers our picks for the NHL's mid-season Awards.

Please use the comments section to agree/disagree and offer your picks who should be crowned as the leagues most valuable players.

Without further adieu, here are Arctic Ice Hockey's 2011-12 Mid-Season Awards:

Benjamin Wendorf (Bettman’s Nightmare)

HART TROPHY (most valuable player): Jonathan ToewsChicago Blackhawks

When voting for the Hart Trophy, I think of the player who contributes the most and hurts his team the least. Toews can display a little bit of everything, but one aspect that really distinguishes him is that he's done it all without taking a large number of penalties (12 PIM on the year - 26 less than Henrik Sedin!). That’s a player who maximizes his contributions.

NORRIS TROPHY (best all-around defeneman): Zdeno CharaBoston Bruins

A constant in one of the more remarkable team defences in NHL history, Chara takes the big minutes in all situations, hits and blocks shots.

VEZINA TROPHY (best goaltender): Henrik LundqvistNew York Rangers

The Rangers would be nowhere near their current standing without Lundqvist's extraordinary (or, for him, nearly ordinary) first half.

CALDER TROPHY (rookie of the year): Adam HenriqueNew Jersey Devils

Marc-Andre Gragnani and Carl Hagelin are hot on his heels, but he's played at a high level for more games and contributed a great amount offensively for a team that can no longer lean on its goaltending.

SELKE TROPHY (best defensive forward): Joe PavelskiSan Jose Sharks

It came down to Pavelski and David Backes, and Pavelski holds the edge for a few reasons. One, he handles the most short-handed minutes among Sharks forwards, whereas Backes comes in 5th. Two, penalty minutes can and should be considered when examining a defensive forward's effectiveness. Backes has improved in this area over the years, but is nowhere near Pavelski's 10 PIM. Three, Backes is not a particularly good faceoff taker, which has always been one of Pavelski’s strengths.

LADY BYNG TROHPY (most gentlemanly player): Loui ErikssonDallas Stars

A guy who plays a two-way game, penalty kills, and only gets 4 PIM? That'd be downright Datsyukian – if only Pavel didn't have 6 more minutes than Eriksson.

JACK ADAMS AWARD (coach of the year): Dan Bylsma – Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pens have hiccupped as of late, but give the man credit for keeping his team playing top-flight hockey despite injuries to one of the best overall players in the world, one of the best offensive defencemen in the world, and one of the best defensive forwards in the world.

BEST GENERAL MANAGER: Ken Holland – Detroit Red Wings

With some of the best two-way players in the league locked up for long-term, fairly team-friendly deals (and still playing great hockey), cheap-yet-adequate goaltending, close to $6 million in cap space, and a solid crop of prospects waiting in the wings, Holland has done about as well as any GM in the NHL.

WiINNIPEG JETS MVP: Kyle Wellwood

He’s done a little bit of everything, and has played great possession hockey throughout. Unlike the rest of the team, he does not take penalties either. Did I mention he only sets the team back $700K? In my mind, Wellwood’s acquisition has been Cheveldayoff’s greatest move.

Ryan Blight (arby_18)

HART TROPHY: Claude GirouxPhiladelphia Flyers

I picked Giroux because I believe that he’s the main reason why the Flyers have remained competitive in the East without Chris Pronger or a #1 goalie (sorry Ilya). Despite the concussion he suffered, Giroux remains near the top of the scoring race and has 11 points more then the nearest guy on his team. He also kills penalties which is the clincher.

NORRIS TROPHY: Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara is the best defender on the best team in the league. His offensive stats may not jump off the page, but if there is one defender that I’d want out on the ice to defend a lead late in the game its "Big Z". His +28 rating is second in the league, and he plays nearly 25 minutes per game including major time on the PP and the PK.

VEZINA TROPHY: Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers

When I look at the Rangers and their line-up, I cannot fathom how they lead the Eastern Conference with their defensive corps minus Marc Staal. Then I remember that ‘King Henrik’ tends the net in the Big Apple and it makes a little more sense. His stats are unreal, but it seems to me that he has more to do with the Rangers lofty spot in the standings than anyone else.

CALDER TROPHY: Adam Henrique – New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils weren’t expected to do much this season, but Adam Henrique stepped into their top-6 and has turned the Devils into a surprising contender. While "The Nuge" has been equally impressive, I think the fact that the Devils have a chance to overachieve puts Henrique up top.

SELKE TROPHY: Jonathon Toews – Chicago Blackhawks

Without studying up on defensive zone starts and the like, I’m going with my gut here and giving it to Captain Serious. His faceoff percentage is over 60% and he plays hard at both ends of the rink. He’s due.

LADY BYNG TROPHY: Anze KopitarLos Angeles Kings

I don’t have a good feeling on this one, so I’m going to go with Kopitar here. He averages over 22 minutes a game, plays PP and PK time, yet has only taken 3 minor penalties. All while averaging nearly a point per game.

JACK ADAMS AWARD: Dan Bylsma – Pittsburgh Penguins

No Crosby , no Letang, and stretches of no Malkin, no Staal and no Neal. Yet somehow through it all the Penguins have remained competitive despite their recent struggles. Bylsma has done an incredible job to have the Pens tread water and for that he gets my vote.

BEST GENERAL MANAGER: Mike Gillis – Vancouver Canucks

Not resigning Christian Ehrhoff currently looks like a stroke of genius and I really believe that the addition of David Booth will be a major addition in the second half. However, his best moves are the ones he hasn’t made, as Cody Hodgson and Cory Schnieder have both been great.

WINNIPEG JETS MVP: Ondrej Pavelec

Hands down. His numbers may not be stellar, but I have watched him single-handedly keep the Jets in games or keep games from ending as massacres. Game in, game out, he has been our best Jet.

Derek Gagnon (canadian texan)

HART TROPHY: Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers

How best to solve a question with so many answers? Go with your gut and put out the first name to pop into your head. My answer: Giroux. Sure the Sedin’s are good, but there are two of them. Sure Kessel is good, but he finally has a line to play on. Malkin was the only other name that garnered thought, but I just don’t know if he brings everything to the table every night.

NORRIS TROPHY: Shea WeberNashville Predators

In terms of a fierce dependable defenseman, I feel Weber is the best in the league. He’s a beast in his own end, and dangerous offensively and is a big part of Nashville’s success.

VEZINA TROPHY: Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers

If you want to look for a reason why the Rangers are dominant, look no further than King Henrik. He has been nothing but awesome since coming into the league and is putting up big numbers in categories other than the win column to support that claim. He will improve his record of 6 consecutive seasons of 30 wins to start a career.

CALDER TROPHY: Adam Henrique – New Jersey Devils

The Jet killer has seemingly come out of nowhere, and with Nugent-Hopkins on the shelf he can look to solidify himself as the front-runner in the next while. At 21 you would hope that he’d be further along than RNH, but Henrique was not exactly lighting it up in the OHL and was only drafted 82nd overall in 2008.

SELKE TROPHY: Scott HartnellPhiladelphia Flyers

I don’t look at all those Fenwick and Corsi stats, so my take on this category might not satisfy all. Welcome to the world of blogs. But Hartnell is such an unheralded beast I had to search for a way to reward him. He’s fully capable of scoring and being an offensive weapon, but the guy knows his way around his own end too.

LADY BYNG TROPHY: Teemu SelanneAnaheim Ducks

I don’t need to defend this pick.

JACK ADAMS AWARD: Claude Noel – Winnipeg Jets

Again this pick is if the Jets make the playoffs, because this man has done a lot with the pieces he has. Dustin Byfuglien looks reliable, the youngsters are blossoming and a team that wasn’t supposed to score a whole hell of a lot of goals is actually doing better than expected in that category.

BEST GENERAL MANAGER: Dale Tallon – Florida

This pick is made half to piss off Gabe and half because I am all but certain that if the Panthers win the Southeast, the award is his.

WINNIPEG JETS MVP: Ondrej Pavelec

He has been the difference between winning and losing; defeat and embarrassment time and time again this season. The stats aren’t sexy but he has the ability to make the timely saves when he’s needed. The effort is there night after night and there’s a reason why he’s logged so many minutes in net.

Shane Chernoff (schernoff)

HART TROPHY: Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers

After Chris Pronger went down with an injury, Philadelphia ’s increased reliance on scoring has been boosted by the play of Giroux, who is third in the NHL in points behind Henrik Sedin and Phil Kessel. Giroux’s play the past couple of seasons has been solid but this year he is flourished and has been stellar the entire season to this point.

NORRIS TROPHY: Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins

The tall, intimidating Slovakian leads all players in plus-minus with a 27, and has been the anchor of the stout Boston defense ever since he signed there after the 2005-06 season. With 12 power play points already this season, he’s a big reason for Boston being second in the conference as they continue to show no signs of a Stanley Cup hangover. Chara also has 70 hits to this point this season, and is still regarded as one of the most intimidating players in the league at 34 years old. He can do it all.

VEZINA TROPHY: Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers

Lundqvist has the uncanny ability to make the players in front of him seem better because of his goaltending ability. This year, everything seems to be going right for the Rangers, who now have the best record in the NHL. A huge reason this is so is because of the play of Lundqvist, whose GAA for the season is an astonishing 1.85. You’d be hard pressed to make a case for a goalie other than King Henrik to win the Vezina.

CALDER TROPHY: Ryan Nugent-HopkinsEdmonton Oilers

RNH has taken the NHL by storm in his rookie season, scoring 35 points before suffering a shoulder injury a little more than a week ago. Here’s hoping RNH bounces back and delivers some more impressive moments after returning from his shoulder injury.

SELKE TROPHY: Tyler SeguinBoston Bruins

The Bruins win games because of their grit and the willingness of their forwards to play defense. Seguin wins this award because of the defensive prowess he has displayed in only in his second year in the league. I look forward to seeing what this young man can do in the second half of the season.

LADY BYNG TROPHY: Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings

My original pick was Jordan Eberle, he of the 38 points and under 10 penalty minutes. But then Nicholas Cotsonika won me over with his Yahoo! Sports Award Selections.

JACK ADAMS AWARD: Kevin Dineen – Florida Panthers

Kevin Dineen deserves credit for getting all Florida’s free agents to gel and succeed. For a team with as many unfamiliar faces as the Panthers, it takes a special kind of coach to get everyone on the same page in such a short time-frame. Keep in mind that this is Dineen’s first year as an NHL coach.

BEST GENEREL MANAGER: Dale Tallon/Mike SantosFlorida Panthers

Tallon, with the help of assistant GM Mike Santos has created the blueprint to rid the Panthers of the stench of losing and bring them back to prominence. Almost every bad contract of the Jacques Martin and Randy Sexton eras were wiped from the books. This offseason, the Panthers opened their cheque books and completely made over their roster. The difference is night and day.

WINNIPEG JETS MVP: Evander Kane

Kane’s team-leading 18 goals and likable personality have won him much popularity in Winnipeg . His +8 is also a testament to his ability to play both ways. His gritty nature is shown through 17 blocked shots and 97 hits to this point this season; his development as a player and a leader has earned him my vote for Jets MVP.

Trevor Maughan (tjcaps)

HART TROPHY: Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers

Giroux’s play has energized an aging Jaromir Jagr and has Scott Hartnell on pace for the greatest offensive season of his career. Despite missing several games with a concussion, Giroux is still amongst the NHL scoring leaders and has been a cog for the Flyers success.

NORRIS TROPHY: Shea Weber – Nashville Predators

After last year’s snub, Weber has come back as good as ever for the Predators. A blend of rugged defense and a rocket of a shot, Weber’s 31 points and +12 rating indicate that he will not be overlooked this year.

VEZINA TROPHY: Jonathan QuickLos Angeles Kings

Quick leads the NHL in shutouts (6) and with a .932 SV%, figures into the NHL’s top five in this stat. He has also made nearly 100 more saves than Henrik Lundqvist. Without Quick’s efforts, Los Angeles would be in dire straights in an intimidating Western Conference.

CALDER TROPHY: Adam Henrique – New Jersey Devils

While Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been important for the rebuilding process in Edmonton, Adam Henrique is making contributions to a team that will still be playing in April. He is currently fourth on the Devils in points (34) and his +8 rating is much gaudier than RNH’s +/- 0.

SELKE TROPHY: David Backes – St. Louis Blues

Robert Cleave sold me on this pick for so many reasons, outlined in his article.

LADY BYNG TROPHY: Loui Eriksson – Dallas Stars

Loui Eriksson probably should have won this award last year and with 40 points and only 4 PIM this year, he’s my lock for the award.

JACK ADAMS AWARD: Ken Hitchcock – St. Louis Blues

Pre-Hitchcock, the Blues record was 6-7-0. The only roster move the Blues have made since firing Payne is trading Nikita Nikitin for Kris Russell. Under the direction of Hitchcock, the Blues are 19-6-6 and only three points out of first in the West (with two games in hand).

BEST GENERAL MANAGER: Peter ChiarelliBoston Bruins

Chiarelli has assembled a Stanley Cup winning team whose core is locked up through the 2013-14 season. For a team that boasts some of the best talent in the league (goal differential of +71), the Bruins still possess $5.37MM in salary cap, which doesn’t even rank them in the top ten of highest paid teams.

WINNIPEG JETS MVP: Ondrej Pavelec

Pavelec is routinely called upon to keep his team in games and is one of only four goaltenders whose had to make +1000 saves this year. Without Pavelec’s contributions, Winnipeg would be much closer to the Islanders in the standings than the Penguins and Capitals.

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