The Dan Snyder Memorial Award is given to the Winnipeg Jet that:
Best embodies perseverance, dedication and hard work without reward or recognition, so that his team and teammates might succeed.
What does this award even mean? Perhaps a glance at previous winners will give us an idea:
Certainly a mixed bag of skill. Zach Redmond certainly was dedicated to recovering from his massive injury. Bryan Little certainly does not get much reward or recognition even to this day, perhaps the Jets' first line center should win it again? Mark Stuart fits the hard work mold. Are rookies even allowed to win this thing?
A poll of Arctic Ice Hockey contributors netted some interesting results:
Bryan Little plays his ass off and rarely gets mentioned by the media. He is probably the 7th or 8th most talked about player despite being perhaps the Jets best forward.
If not him, Toby Enstrom.
Toby Enstrom. The Winnipeg Jets team defense took a big step forward this season and despite getting very little credit for his efforts, Toby was at the heart if it.
Enstrom led the team in average ice time this year (and last) and consistently took on the toughest available matchups despite a rotating cast of characters on the right side.
Enstrom remains a top pairing D man on this team - arguably their #1 D man the, but gets a fraction accolades that are usually associated with such a role.
Give it to freaking Grant Clitsome. The guy is trying to come back from his second absolutely devastating back injury in 2 years. He is a solid, underrated defenseman that makes the Jets a better team, and pretty clearly won't give up despite his injury woes. I mentioned on the Podcast that I thought Clitsome should have been nominated for the Masterton. This would be a nice make up for it.
Based on this criteria, I'd say Jim Slater. The key point there is "without reward or recognition" - as many Jets - Andrew Ladd, Little, Blake Wheeler most of all - work very hard, and are mentally/emotionally invested in the team's success. Slater has raised his level of play this year, especially of late - from a fringe NHL'er, back to a worthy 4C - and presumably worked extremely hard in the off-season after having sports hernia surgery part-way through the 2013-2014 season. He does the little things well - face-offs, pk, shot blocks, etc - but lacks the skill level which garners big accolades.
Nowhere in the criteria does it say you have to be effective at what you do?
I'd say Grant Clitsome or Chris Thorburn. Clitsome for battling through injuries, and Thorburn because he embodies perseverance, dedication and hard work more than most, and does it without reward or recognition (partially because he's not very effective).
I'll second Chris Thorburn, my old arch-nemesis. Yes, he's a train wreck on skates but I can't deny that he works hard and is dedicated to his team. His pretty goal in the Blues game was a complete surprise and he's had a few moments like that this season that actually helped out his teammates.
Now, I'm done with Thorburn compliments. Let's never speak of this again.
I think Lowry should be seriously considered here. The kid is absolutely fearless and will take any role. I cannot remember of a single selfish play all year. He is more than willing to take on a defensive role at the expense of offense, which is rare in a kid his age. He is the Jets best defensive forward, has the best Corsi against per 60 at evens on the team. He is also top 15 in the league. Has anyone even noticed how much he is out there late in games? Or how much he has played with Jay Harrison and Adam Pardy in the last few games? There's a reason they haven't looked like a trainwreck, and that reason is Adam Lowry.
Who do you think should win the award and why?