A look into Ryan Pike’s PHWA awards ballot

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The 2021-22 season was my fourth as a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and the first time I was selected as a voter in the annual awards. (Spoiler: I was equal parts excited and terrified at the proposition.) In the interest of transparency, our organization posts breakdowns of everybody’s votes for each award on the PHWA website, but I thought I would take the opportunity to walk everybody through my thought processes for each award.
Grab your beverage of choice and let’s dive in!

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Presented annually “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
1. Josh Morrissey [Winnipeg]
2. Jack Eichel [Vegas]
3. Justin Danforth [Columbus]
Winner: Carey Price [Montreal]
Unlike the remainder of the awards, which only about half of the PHWA votes on, all members can vote on the Masterton. Each of the NHL’s 32 chapters nominate a player, and then the total membership votes.
The Masterton is always a tough vote, because every nominated player has a compelling story. For me, Morrissey’s strong season (on and off the ice) in the wake of his father’s death resonated with me. As did Eichel’s battle for medical autonomy – in the context of the NHLPA’s ongoing advocacy for player’s rights, Eichel winning out and getting the procedure he preferred is absolutely massive. And I’ve always had a soft spot for players that scrapped their way into the NHL, and Danforth, who made his NHL debut at 28 years and 245 days old, really hit with me.
There are no “bad” Masterton nominees, and Price was a deserving winner, but I think everybody who was nominated deserves some love. (31 of the 32 nominated players received votes.)

Frank J. Selke Trophy

Presented annually “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”
1. Patrice Bergeron [Boston]
2. Anthony Cirelli [Tampa Bay]
3. Elias Lindholm [Calgary]
4. Aleksander Barkov [Florida]
5. Ryan O’Reilly [St. Louis]
Winner: Patrice Bergeron
For me, the Selke isn’t just a forward’s even strength defensive impacts, but it’s the sum total of a bunch of things. It’s about tough assignments, killing penalties, suppressing chances at even strength and moving the puck up the ice. Essentially, a Selke Trophy contender needs to be able to be buried a bit and still have the ability to be a strong performer.
I looked at things like Dobber’s player usage charts (derived from Rob Vollman’s formula), Evolving Hockey’s goals above replacement metrics, and Natural Stat Trick’s shots for and against per 60 rate metrics. (Player usage charts were really helpful for understanding the context of how players are used relative to the rest of their team.)
When I dug through everything, Bergeron was the runaway top choice. But Cirelli was sneakily close to Bergeron, and I don’t think he gets the credit he should for how effective Tampa Bay is because of his contributions. Lindholm, who I’ve seen a lot of over the past few seasons, he drops in at third, which felt right.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Presented annually “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
1. Jaccob Slavin [Carolina]
2. Kyle Connor [Winnipeg]
3. Mitch Marner [Toronto]
4. Jared Spurgeon [Minnesota]
5. Mika Zibanejad [NY Rangers]
Winner: Kyle Connor
The Lady Byng, for me, is the award that goes to a player that played a lot, played against strong opponents, and didn’t take a lot of penalties. I’m a big proponent of defencemen getting attention here, because playing defence against NHL forwards who are fast and strong and skilled leads to a lot of penalties. (I was big on the “Vote Chris Tanev” bandwagon last year.)
After looking at ice time, penalties per minute, and factoring in opposition a bit, I landed on my voting order. Yes, there are two defenders on this list.

Calder Memorial Trophy

Presented annually “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition.”
1. Moritz Seider [Detroit]
2. Michael Bunting [Toronto]
3. Trevor Zegras [Anaheim]
4. Lucas Raymond [Detroit]
5. Anton Lundell [Florida]
Winner: Moritz Seider
My attention was mostly put towards the scoring race, but I factored in the different roles and situations players were used in. Considering how bad Detroit was overall, I was really impressed with Seider whenever I saw him this season.
Lundell beat out Carolina’s Seth Jarvis and Boston’s Jeremy Swayman for my fifth-place spot.

James Norris Memorial Trophy

Presented annually “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
1. Roman Josi [Nashville]
2. Cale Makar [Colorado]
3. Victor Hedman [Tampa Bay]
4. Adam Fox [NY Rangers]
5. Charlie McAvoy [Boston]
Winner: Cale Makar
For the Norris I looked at scoring impacts, but also players who played a lot, played a lot in different situations, and played well in the situations where they were used. I’m a big Josi fan this season – see below – and so he was easily my top pick for this award.

Hart Memorial Trophy

Presented annually “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”
1. Auston Matthews [Toronto]
2. Johnny Gaudreau [Calgary]
3. Connor McDavid [Edmonton]
4. Igor Shesterkin [NY Rangers]
5. Roman Josi [Nashville]
Winner: Auston Matthews
I made a distinction here based upon the wording of the award: “most valuable” does not mean “best.” In terms of valuable, I looked at which players were the best at particular things and ran with them in that order based on which things were most crucial to their team’s success. Matthews excelled at the toughest thing to do, goal-scoring (both overall and at five-on-five). Gaudreau led the league at five-on-five points. McDavid led the league at overall points. Shesterkin was the top goaltender. Josi was the top blueliner.

NHL All-Rookie Team

My All-Rookie choices mirrored my Calder votes, with the addition of Swayman in net.
1. Michael Bunting [Toronto]
2. Trevor Zegras [Anaheim]
3. Lucas Raymond [Detroit]
Winners: Trevor Zegras, Michael Bunting & Lucas Raymond
1. Moritz Seider [Detroit]
2. Jamie Drysdale [Anaheim]
Winners: Moritz Seider & Alexandre Carrier
1. Jeremy Swayman [Boston]
Winner: Jeremy Swayman

NHL All-Star Team

Reminder: the Hart Trophy is for “most valuable.” The All-Star votes are for “best” at each position. Because of this distinction, I moved some of my votes around a bit, but for the most part the awards mirror my preferences for the Hart and Norris trophies.
I didn’t have Jacob Markstrom on my goaltender ballot, simply because I thought Sorokin and Andersen were a little bit better. But it was essentially Shesterkin as #1 and Sorokin/Andersen/Markstrom as 2A/2B/2C for me.
1. Connor McDavid [Edmonton]
2. Auston Matthews [Toronto]
3. Leon Draisaitl [Edmonton]
First-Team Winner: Auston Matthews
Second-Team Winner: Connor McDavid
Right Wing
1. Matthew Tkachuk [Calgary]
2. Mitch Marner [Toronto]
3. Mikko Rantanen [Colorado]
First-Team Winner: Mitch Marner
Second-Team Winner: Matthew Tkachuk
Left Wing
1. Johnny Gaudreau [Calgary]
2. Jonathan Huberdeau [Florida]
3. Kirill Kaprizov [Minnesota]
First-Team Winner: Johnny Gaudreau
Second-Team Winner: Jonathan Huberdeau
1. Roman Josi [Nashville]
2. Cale Makar [Colorado]
3. Victor Hedman [Tampa Bay]
4. Adam Fox [NY Rangers]
5. Charlie McAvoy [Boston]
6. Aaron Ekblad [Florida]
First-Team Winners: Cale Makar & Roman Josi
Second-Team Winners: Victor Hedman & Charlie McAvoy
1. Igor Shesterkin [NY Rangers]
2. Ilya Sorokin [NY Islanders]
3. Frederik Andersen [Carolina]
First-Team Winner: Igor Shesterkin
Second-Team Winner: Jacob Markstrom
It was quite a humbling and nerve-wracking experience being part of the voting process, but it was also really fun going back and diving into all the great performances league-wide over the past season.
Where did you agree with Ryan’s votes? Where do you think Ryan was completely off his rocker? Let us know in the comments!


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