Training camp is beginning this week, and there are a lot of questions surrounding the Islanders and their recent flurry of transactions. Will Brock Nelson prove to be a gamble after signing that three-year deal? Will newly-acquired Steve Bernier make the team? How will all of these five guys we got from Toronto fare in training camp?
But training camp season is also the time of year when hockey experts make predictions about the upcoming season. I am not really an expert, but today I put together my predictions on which Islanders players will win the NHL Awards if the only candidates were Islanders players.
Hart Memorial Trophy: John Tavares
Without a doubt, he is the most important player to the team. As I predicted earlier, he will score 90 points. Take J.T. off this team and they do not make the playoffs.
Runner-Ups: Johnny Boychuk, Kyle Okposo
Art Ross Trophy: John Tavares
90 points will be more than enough to win this award among Islanders players. However, Kyle Okposo has a history of putting up near point-per-game numbers and could be a threat if healthy.
Runner-Ups: Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome
Vezina Trophy: Jaro Halak
Obviously Halak will play the majority of games if he stays healthy. Acquiring backup Thomas Greiss gives them the extra insurance if he goes down. Having Kevin Poulin and Christopher Gibson in the minors also helps.
Runner-Ups: Thomas Greiss, Kevin Poulin
Norris Trophy: Johnny Boychuk
Boychuk proved he could lead a defence last season, and will be given more responsibility this season.
Runner-Ups: Nick Leddy, Travis Harmonic
Calder Trophy: Ryan Pulock
Pulock has the best opportunity to make the team out of camp out of all the Islanders’ prospects because there is a spot on defence that could be taken. He will need to beat out Brian Strait and Scott Mayfield, among others for it.
Runner-Ups: Michael Dal Colle, Scott Mayfield
Frank Selke Trophy: Steve Bernier
Bernier will probably be the best penalty killer on the team this year, which is not saying much. The Islanders have struggled a man down in the past couple seasons, and need a defensive forward to step up.
Runner-Ups: Frans Nielsen, Cal Clutterbuck
Toughness Award: Matt Martin
I obviously made this award up, but it is important to have intimidating players on a team to be successful. Martin is a hitting machine, so he wins.
Runner-Ups: Cal Clutterbuck, Travis Harmonic