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Islanders at NHL Awards: How close were some to major awards?

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 16: NHL trophies including the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy (front) are displayed at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in advance of the 2019 NHL Awards on June 16, 2019 in Las Vegas. Nevada. The 2019 NHL Awards will be held on June 19 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 16: NHL trophies including the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy (front) are displayed at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in advance of the 2019 NHL Awards on June 16, 2019 in Las Vegas. Nevada. The 2019 NHL Awards will be held on June 19 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Last night the NHL awarded the remainder of its trophies. None of the New York Islanders won one of these awards, but a few received votes. So today, let’s catch up on how they did. How close were they? Or how far off were they?

The awards handed down yesterday were some of the more prestigious awards. The Hart, Ted Lindsay, Vezina, Norris, and Calder.

New York Islanders and major NHL awards in 2021

Of the five awards handed out last night, four New York Islanders players received some votes in three, the Vezina, the Calder, and the Norris.

Vezina Trophy (Top Goalie)

Semyon Varlamov: 5th 10 points 

I went off about this last night when the vote was published. It’s insane to me that a goalie can finish the season in the top four in all of the major goaltending stats but doesn’t finish in the top four in the final vote. Becuase GM’s value wins, for no particular reason at all.

Varlamov finished behind worthy winner Marc-Andre Fleury, Andrei Vasilveskiy, Philipp Grubauer, and Connor Hellebuyck. Insane.

Calder Trophy (Top Rookie)

Ilya Sorokin: 15th 4 points

Kirill Kaprizov easily (and rightfully) won this award. But it was going to be interesting to see where two Islanders rookies fell in the vote.

Oliver Wahlstrom finished ninth for goals and 13th for points amongst all rookies. He did that while averaging 12:23 of ice time. Only Owen Tippett and Nico Sturm had less ice time in the top 20 rookie scorers.

Ilya Sorokin finished the year second in SV% (0.918)  and GAA (2.17) for rookie goalies (who at least played 20 games). He was also tied for first in shutouts with three.

Wahlstrom didn’t end up with a single vote. Which seems tough but the rookie field this year was excellent. If Wahlstrom had played the full 56 games, he might have ended up with a vote or two.

Sorokin picked up a fourth and fifth-place vote. Which ranked him alongside fellow rookie goalie Kaapo Kahkonen who has three more wins, the worst save percentage, and second-worst GAA for goalies who played 20 games or more. Which is wild.

Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman)

Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech: 17th 1 point

No one expected Pulock and Pelech to factor in this award. Because neither put up enough points really. The two combined for 31 points on the year. Winner Adam Fox had 47. Although Fox rarely played against the opposition’s top players. He finished sixth on the Rangers blueline for 5on5 TOI QoC% with 28.6%. Pelech and Pulock logged a respective 29.38% and 29.32%, the highest for the Isles and 14th and 21st in the NHL.

But, the fact that Pulcok and Pelech each picked up a point is something. Even if it means nothing at all. At least their performance as two of the best shutdown D’s in the league was recognized.

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