Predicting the 2022 NHL Awards Winners

Toronto Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews, predicted to win Hart Trophy at the NHL Awards
Photo Credit: Azadeh Kashani

The 2022 National Hockey League season has been one to remember. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, these players got to play the sport they love and made money while doing so.

Everybody who plays has the same ultimate goal; they want to win the Stanley Cup. However, only one team gets to walk away the ultimate winner. But that doesn’t mean that they have to walk away from the year with nothing in hand. No. They have the ability to walk away with a trophy representing all they accomplished from the season.

Between the Vezina, Norris, Hart, Conn Smythe, and more, there are a ton of awards out there to represent the NHL season they had. At this point in time, it’s too early to know who will walk away winners of each trophy. Or is it?

It’s always fun to have bold predictions at the end of the season and see how they play out at the end of the season, but for now — let’s talk about the middle of the season and who I feel will win these NHL awards at the end of the season.

2021 St Louis Blues MVP: Fan Edition

Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The St. Louis Blues are on their way to Minnesota for their winter classic game this Saturday. However, it’s time to cherish the ups and downs of 2021 before getting into that game because we are still in 2021 and take a look at the front-runners for team MVP.

The St. Louis Blues have been at the mercy of injuries and COVID-19 protocols all season. It’s been quite ridiculous actually just how little this team has played together. Rather it’s Brayden Schenn, Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, this team has yet to play as a whole.

Now, I know you may be thinking that isn’t true because they played together the first game of the season. If you think back to that game against the Avalanche, that isn’t actually true. The St. Louis Blues were without forward, Oskar Sundqvist that game. Even now, they are without James Neal, Robert Bortuzzo, and Brayden Schenn. Anyways, it’s time to look at the positive.

First, you could say the highlight of this season so far has been the fact that in spite of dealing with everything they have, they are finding ways to win. For example, taking down the Edmonton Oilers this past Wednesday. Most Importantly, I think it has to do with the depth.

2021 St Louis Blues MVP

A couple days ago I went to take a poll and I asked them the question;

“Who do you guys think is the 2021 St Louis Blues MVP?”

The amount of responses has been overwhelming. I felt like I should base this off the public opinion and that’s exactly what I plan to do! So in the following I will include quotes and reasoning behind each player.

Twitter Poll

A couple days ago I took to twitter and asked them who they thought the 2021 MVP was. The options I posted were:

  • Vladimir Tarasenko
  • Jordan Kyrou
  • Robert Thomas
  • Other

Vladimir Tarasenko received seven votes, Jordan Kyrou received one.

As you can tell by the number of votes, that twitter poll wasn’t very active, but good thing Facebook was.

Vladimir Tarasenko

Vladimir Tarasenko. Honestly, there is not enough good things to be said about him. After dealing with injuries, and then this crazy off-season, he’s found a way to get his career back on track.

Tarasenko has always been a Blues favorite, but this season is special. What he’s been able to do for this team in terms of his production- showing up and giving it his all, it’s fun to watch.

Right now he is a point per game player. That’s what makes him so special. He had 25 mentions in the 2021 MVP conversation. Here’s what some people said about him.

” Craziest thing to me is Chuckies numbers, even while the rest of the team was slim. But, for MVP as a whole, I think I have to go with 91. There’s been a lt that has impressed me so far with the team as a whole, but regardless of all the trade talk and whatnot, Vladi has really come through big. Looks like he is finally having fun again.” -Justin McClintok

“Tank Would be my pick as of this point in the season. If Kyrou would’ve stayed healthy and played well in the game he missed, I’d say it be a lot harder to pick.” -Tim Kontuk

“Vladi. Look how many line mates he’s had this year and he’s still a point per game guy. He’s proving all the Vladi haters wrong. Yes, he may be playing to get traded but, he’s playing awesome. He’s backchecking more than ever and his shoulder is looking great(Knock on wood). He has consistently been in the lineup even with all the covid situations and injury situations.” -Paul Graham

Pavel Buchnevich

Vladimir Tarasenko won the 2021 St. Louis Blues MVP with 25 votes. Pavel Buchnevich came in a close second with 24 votes- Deservingly so.

Pavel Buchnevich who had quite the off-season from being traded from the New York Rangers to the St. Louis Blues and then getting a long-term extension. It’s crazy .

“Buchevich is the first to come to mind. He’s carried this team through so many line changes and has proved himself adaptable to all situations. I’d be hard pressed to find anyone on our team making as much consistent contributions – assists/goals/big energy when we’re lacking. He’s our secret weapon.” -Kelly Jurotich

“Buchnevich hands down. Saad was a tier 2 that is playing like a tier 1. Army has that magic just like when we grabbed David Perron. Vladi earns an honorable mention as does Faulk for being a rock back there. All this despite my favorite is the most versatile #49.” -James Kenneth

“Buchnevich. He’s been a game changer. If it was pure excitement…then it’s Kyrou.” -Jason Lankford

Other Players

After Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich, it’s was quite the drop off for votes. I’m assuming it would’ve been closer had there not been as many injuries as there were, but nonetheless, let’s take a look at the honorable mentions.

Jordan Kyrou: seven votes

Ivan Barbashev: three votes

Justin Faulk: Three votes

Robert Thomas: two votes

Brandon Saad: two votes

Craig Berube: two votes

Charlie Lindgren: one vote

Doug Armstrong: One vote

My Vote for St Louis Blues MVP

The St. Louis Blues are in a great spot after the first half of the season. Somehow, despite the number of injuries they have faced, they’ve continued finding ways to win. Right now, they are in first in the central division. Ahead of Minnesota, Colorado, Nashville, Blackhawks, well everyone in the central.

Why is that? We’ll it’s easy to say that it should be the coach for being able to make things happen. Could be Doug Armstrong because he assembled a terrific team. However, my pick is Vladimir Tarasenko.

Going into the season, it was hard to see a good outcome to this season wit Tarasenko on the roster. That sentence is not to be taken as I didn’t want him here, because I did. I wanted him here. However, he didn’t want to be here. That is what scared me.

Looking at what’s happening now, I don’t think anyone can tell me that if Tarasenko was gone, that we’d be doing as well as we are. I just don’t think that’s realistic. He’s averaging a point per game and has been a great leader.

I’ve been to multiple games this season and I pointed it out to my friend that- every single time the Blues are about to take the ice, there is always one player standing there first. Getting his teammates shin pad taps, chest bumps, and helping his teammates get ready to play. Any guess who it is? that’s right! Vladi.

In my opinion, he’s been the Blues MVP this season for sure. Once a Blue always a Blue, always a Blue.

St. Louis Blues: Injury Updates That You Need to Know About

The St. Louis Blues are back and practicing. After getting a chance to take a break and recover, there is a lot of new updates.

The St. Louis Blues are officially getting back to work after having an extended period of time off. After the National Hockey League was forced to postpone games, it was only a matter of time before they delayed all. Which, quite frankly, benefited the Blues big time.

With Christmas break only a couple days away, the NHL and NHLPA made an agreement to give the players some extra time off. With teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Carolina Hurricanes having to get games constantly postponed, it was hard to see the end of the road. They decided it was time to let everything rest and give the players some time off.

Now, everything is starting back up and teams are starting to get back to work. Including, but not limited to, your St. Louis Blues.

The St. Louis Blues are back tomorrow against the Edmonton Oilers and there is some great news to go along with hockey being back.

The Bad News

The St. Louis Blues, before getting a break, were playing without: James Neal, Klim Kostin, David Perron, Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, Oskar Sundquvist, Brayden Schenn, Jake Walman, and Ville Husso. As you can probably infer, the Blues needed some time to rest, badly. When you are without that many key players, it’s hard to go out there and compete game in-game out. But they did.

Unfourtantley, there is more bad news to talk about before getting too much further into the article. It was reported by the St. Louis Blues that they had added James Neal, Dakota Joshua, Robert Bortuzzo, and Ivan Barbashev, to COVID protocol.

Ivan Barbashev was having one of his best seasons with Russian line-mates Pavel Buchenvich and Vladimir Tarasenko. Now he’s out for the next couple games along with three other Blues.

Furthermore, it was reported by Craig Berube today that center, Brayden Schenn is not quite ready to return. He did reiterate himself to say that he is progressing and could be back soon.

Additionally, he later went on to talk about goalie, Ville Husso. He told reported after the practice today that Husso is not ready to return either and Charlie Lindgren will serve as the backup goalie against the Oilers.

I know that seeing that many names out is discouraging for tomorrow, but I promise there is good news. So without further a due, let’s talk good news:

The Good News

The St. Louis Blues had their first practice earlier this morning and there were a lot of good reports. Lou Korac, who covers the St. Louis Blues for NHL.com, reported that Jordan Kyrou, David Perron, Klim Kostin, and Robert Thomas should be back for the game tomorrow against the Oilers.

Having those four Blues back gives them the depth and choices that they were once lacking. Not to mention as far as good news goes, Oskar Sundquvist could be back tomorrow against the Oilers as well. He cleared COVID protocol today and was confirmed as a possibility tomorrow night.

Head coach, Craig Breube stated that Sunny could play, but they said that they wanted to see how tomorrow’s morning skate goes.

In conclusion, the St. Louis Blues have things looking up for them. If everything goes as planned, and if nothing too unexpected happens, the Blues could be in for a great game tomorrow.

Vladimir Tarasenko Update

The Vladimir Tarasenko trade talks have simmered down recently, but that doesn’t mean that something won’t happen. The former star and the Blues have unfortunately made their relationship un-mendable leaving Tarasenko, and the Blues organization, in a less that ideal spot. It started with the shoulder injuries that he previously sustained however, it ended when the organization wanted a list of teams he’d be willing to go to. There is a lot of points that I didn’t touch up on, if you want to read about the other points I missed, you can go read the article link I’ll paste at the bottom of this article but for now I just want to talk about the options still available to the Blues.

Vladimir Tarsenko’s injury history has scared many teams away however, knowing the potential he has to become that player he used to be has kept teams interested. From multiple articles and research done, it appears the main candidates are the Islanders, and the Devils.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils have been making a big stride this off-season with the signing of Dougie Hamilton, Tomas Tatar, but still could use more offense. Right now they have a solid top six defense, but their offensive lines are fairly weak. Adding a player with the talent of Tarasenko could be vital given their current situation.

Looking at what Tarasenko would offer them is going to be the best argument a person could make, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. To anyone who follows the NHL, they know that Tarasenko isn’t the same star he was, that is clear however, there is more to it than that. The big reasoning behind Taraenko’s decline as a player is due to the injuries he’s sustained in the past couple seasons, and the fact he hasn’t had time to fully heal. Should he heal and be 100%, he could come back and be a top player in the NHL in no time.

The Devils as I stated above have a good situation on the defense, but are looking to obtain some stars on their offensive lines. Tarasenko, when healthy, could easily become their best player and be a player that can help them win. The depth on their offensive lines needs to be considered as well, but being able to gather a player like Tarasenko gives you another option while the players in the AHL develop for another year or two.

Not saying that Tarasenko makes them a competitor this year, but with his help, they could try making a run sooner rather than later.

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are close to getting to the Stanley Cup but need another addition to their offense. With that said, there are a few names that should be considered, but the cheapest and the best available at this point is, Vladimir Tarasenko.

The Islanders are obviously so close to making it to the Stanley Cup after losing game seven to the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0. Being as close as they are, they need to find a way to add another superstar that can help put the puck in the goal for them. Prior to the off-season, I considered them a contender for both Sam Rhinehart and Jack Eichel, but after Rhinehart was traded, and not much on the Eichel front, Tarasenko is the best available option. Being able to tag Barzal and Tarasenko on a line together could be incredibly dangerous looking forward.

The Islanders have been partially linked to Tarasenko for most of the off-season, and given the lack of cap space for the Blues, they have to get rid of his contract. Islanders who seem almost excited to get Tarasenko seem like the best opportunity for the Blues. The amount they’d get in return isn’t going to be much, but would help the Blues clear some cap space in order to not keep them as tight financially as they currently are.

Another Year to Re-define Seahawks Football

The Seattle Seahawks have had a rough couple years trying to re-define their old stereotypes and be the team they can be. After losing to the Patriots on what could be, The worst play call of all-time, the Seahawks have yet to fully bounce back. Going on almost six years since that point in time, and nothing has changed since that point. Russell Wilson being the quarterback of the Seahawks seems to be the only thing that is working right, but it has yet to be enough. With some help over the course of free agency, trades, and the draft, they are looking to bring a title back to Seattle in what could be, the most difficult year of Russel’s career.

The Seattle Seahawks have their guy, but his time in the league is closing down each year they wait to truly make a push. With recent developments on the offensive side of the ball, and the defensive side of the ball, they are going to make the push for the Super Bowl yet again. The Seahawks had multiple seasons in the NFC east that was incredibly easy, this year won’t be anywhere close to that. After the off-season that the Rams had, the potential bounce-back of the 49ers, and the Cardinals, the Seahawks are going to have quite the road ahead of them. However, where do expectation lie within the Seahawks organization and fan-base will be something to consider as well.

After getting into the playoff’s last season, and Russell having a great season, it’s clear that they are still in win now mode. With that being said, they will be looking to take on some of the toughest teams in the NFC this year that will lead to a lot of gruesome battle’s ahead. There is a chance that with that being in perspective that the Seahawks may not even make the playoff’s this year. In a win now situation, the Seahawks are not lacking offensive weapons with Chris Carson, D.K. Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett, they have one of the best offenses in football. So what could potentially hold them back? The answer is actually extremely simple, their defense.

The Seahawks office has tried to do a lot of different things to help keep teams off the score-board, but when you draft as poorly as they do, they need to do a lot more than just that. Looking at some of the players they have drafted over the past couple seasons: Jordyn Brooks in the first round, Deejay Dallas, Freddie Swain, L.J. Collier, Cody Barton, and a lot more. Now some of the names mentioned weren’t necessarily ‘bad picks’ but the value of the picks makes the picks bad. When looking to become a true contender, it starts with developing players through the draft process, not just through trades and free agency. That idea and concept has seemed to be lost on them, and it needs to be corrected.

Looking at what the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals have done throughout the course of the last couple seasons, the Seahawks team doesn’t even hold a candle to them. With a head coach that has been holding them back for years, there has yet to be any growth within their team. As a defensive minded head coach, you would expect a good defense… that’s not the case. The Seahawks have had a rough go lately, but that doesn’t come as a surprise when your team selects L.J. Collier and Jordyn Brooks with their first round picks. Making selections like the two I just mentioned is going to be a big problem going forward. You need to have players on your defense who are leaders, but who can also perform, and unfortunately they don’t. So what can they do to change that?

Well at this point in time, there isn’t much they can do, but this off-season is a different story. Looking at their previous draft selections and the development of their draft picks, it’s not unlikely there could be a coaching change. There is only one thing that seems to be a problem each and every year since 2015, Pete Carroll. For those Seahawks fans who follow football, think back to the situation with Earl Thomas. Even while being a beloved fan of the Seahawks, he ended up wanting out due to the coaching and how the team was ran. It’s easy to say that he was just being a baby, but if that was the case, why haven’t they made a run for the Super Bowl since 2015? If they want to win again, they need to let Carrol go.

Alongside letting Carrol go, they should also look to bring in help on the positions of need. With money tied up into only a couple players, they should still be looking to bring in talent to help Wagner, Adams, and Wilson. Wilson has to be prepared to run for hundreds of yards each and every game due to horrendous offensive-line play. How can a quarterback make smart choices with the ball when he has be running outside the pocket for just about every play? The answer is he can’t. When teams started blitzing, like the Cardinals, you could see the decline from that point on. The Seahawks should be taking a note or two from the Chiefs off-season this past year.

The Chiefs had Mahomes run 500 yards in the Super Bowl due to offensive-line play, so what did they do? They signed offensive-linemen to help protect their quarterback. Russell Wilson can be considered by most a top five quarterback in the NFL despite always having to run for his life. If the Seahawks front office was able to take into consideration what it would mean to the organization if they could protect Wilson, they’d be so much better off. That start to any good organization is to make sure you build a team around your quarterback to: Keep him happy, and make sure he can be the best player he can be. There are a lot of problems within the organization, but the fact that they have not gone out to get him some protection shows how little they care about him.

Next, if you go back to the beginning of the off-season you can probably recall about Russ and the organization being in disputes about his role. As the leader, and heart and soul of the team, he felt as though he should be consulted and have an opinion in decisions. With that being said, normally I’d say that isn’t his role on the team but after years of playing with the organization, he felt disrespected. Which can you blame him? His job as the quarterback is to be the leader, but how can you win with a team who doesn’t help you out? It’s the same thing Rodgers had going on this off-season as well. As the quarterback, you should have a say in who you are going to have on your team and players you think would be a fit in the organization.

There are a lot of things that will result in the outcome of the Seahawks this season, but with the roster they have right now, they are going to be in for a tough season. It’ll take a lot of great situational coaching and great play calling, but it is obtainable. Russell is a great leader, and having him under center puts the Seahawks in a great position.