The Colorado Avalanche stole the show once again, for one final time in the 2013-2014 season. This time, the Avs were represented at the NHL Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada. A few months ago, when the Avalanche had four members announced as finalists for the awards, I projected out the likelihood that they would win their respective awards. You can read that article here.
PATRICK ROY: JACK ADAMS AWARD WINNER
What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Patrick Roy had just been announced as the head coach vice president of hockey operations for the Colorado Avalanche, who were coming off a 29th place finish the year before, bad enough to earn them the first overall pick in the upcoming draft.
From the get-go, Roy said that the Avalanche were going to take the NHL by storm this season – and boy was he right.
Roy not only became the Jack Adams award winner, given to the NHL’s best coach every season, but he did so in a landslide victory. Roy took home 65 of the 95 first place votes for the award, and finished with 399 points in the voting. To put that in context, Mike Babcock, the Detroit Red Wings coach, finished second in the voting with 163 points.
Roy earned this honor for so many reasons, and he has become known around the league for some of his not-so-textbook antics during games. Over the course of the season, he only really let his temper get the best of him once, and that was opening night against the Anaheim Ducks when he nearly pushed the partition between the benches down on Bruce Boudreau, the Ducks’ coach.
What Roy has come to be known for around the league now is a coach who is willing to take uncharacteristic risks. Roy influenced many different coaches, especially in the playoffs, by showing his willingness to pull his goaltender very early compared to other teams. Roy, at times, would pull his goaltender with 6 minutes or so remaining in the 3rd period, just trying to get his team back into the games.
NATHAN MACKINNON: CALDER TROPHY WINNER
This was probably the most obvious award winner of the night going in. MacKinnon did indeed win this trophy in a landslide as well, taking 130 of the possible 137 first place votes for the award, finishing with 1,347 points, while second place Ondrej Palat earned only 791 points, including only 5 first place votes. MacKinnon became the youngest player to ever win the Calder trophy.
MacKinnon was key to the Colorado Avalanche making the turn around that they did. It sounds ridiculous to make out an 18-year-old to be the best player on a team’s roster, but Nathan MacKinnon has that special something that made him the guy to watch at almost all Avalanche games this season.
Every time he was near the puck, or on the ice for that matter, there was instantly a buzz that filled the Pepsi Center, one that I have not felt since watching the likes of Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg tie up their laces.
MacKinnon led all rookies this season in several categories, including points (63), assists (39), power-play goals (8), game-winning goals (5) and shots (241). MacKinnon also tied for first place in goals with 24. Outside of these phenomenal stats, MacKinnon also broke a record set by Wayne Gretzky this season: the longest single-season point streak by a player age 18 or younger (12 games).
RYAN O’REILLY: LADY BYNG TROPHY WINNER
One of the most polarizing players in the NHL right now, Ryan O’Reilly just added a new wrinkle to contract negotiations with the Colorado Avalanche this summer. O’Reilly was crowned the winner of the Lady Byng trophy, given to the player who is considered to be most sportsmanlike while also playing at a high level.
O’Reilly, like MacKinnon and Roy did with their awards, ran away from the competition, taking 110 of the 137 first place votes, which gave him 1,181 points, whereas 2nd place finisher, Martin St. Louis, finished with only 4 first place votes and 358 points.
O’Reilly led the Avalanche with 28 goals, including 9 on the power-play and 6 game-winners. He also led the NHL in takeaways for the 2nd time in 3 seasons. Most importantly, O’Reilly was only called for a single minor penalty this season, one which can be seen below:
With this award now in his control, O’Reilly will be able to demand a solid salary from anyone who may wish to sign him this offseason. Now, he is a restricted free agent, giving the Avalanche the opportunity to match any offer sheet that he signs, but he should be able to command top-dollar money on this contract.
SEMYON VARLAMOV: VEZINA TROPHY RUNNER-UP
Varlamov stood on his head in the net for the Colorado Avalanche this season, but he came up just a little short of claiming the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s best goaltender every season.
Tuukka Rask from the Boston Bruins took home the award with 16 first-place votes and 103 points overall, while Varlamov finished with 9 first-place votes and 90 points overall.
Even though he was unable to take home this award, Varlamov’s night was not over. He also came in 4th place in the Hart Trophy voting, the award given to the MVP of the league every season. Varlamov took home one first-place vote, and had 256 total points. The only other goalie in the top 10 in voting for this award was Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who finished with 52 points.