NHL Major Award leaders at quarter mark: Rangers, Capitals, and Oilers dominate early on

The NHL has hit the quarter mark of the season and several players have emerged as clear leaders for some heavy hardware.

While it is extremely early, there’s a handful of players that have elevated their play for consideration of the league’s most prestigious awards. Let’s take a look at quarter mark finalists and try to project the winners.

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NHL Awards: Jack Adams Trophy

Finalists: Sheldon Keefe (TML), Gerard Gallant (NYR), Darryl Sutter (CGY)

This is always a hard one, and usually reserved for coaches in their first year with a team. Gerard Gallant is leading the Rangers to a great start, but I believe another veteran coach in his second season with a team takes it. Sutter has done an amazing job with the Flames.

Eventual Winner: Darryl Sutter

NHL Awards: Calder Memorial Trophy

Finalists: Lucas Raymond (DET), Trevor Zegras (ANA), Dawson Mercer (NJD)

This is an easy one for me and likely everyone else. Lucas Raymond, who was the 4th overall selection in the 2020 Draft is lighting it up for the Detroit Red Wings. The 19 year-old seems to be steamrolling to Rookie-of-the-Year honors. In 24 games, Raymond has 22 points which is 5 points better than Zegras.

Eventual Winner: Lucas Raymond

NHL Awards: Vezina Trophy

Finalists: Igor Shesterkin (NYR), Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL), Jack Campbell (TML)

“He’s an absolute hovercraft on the ice,” Vancouver Canucks goalie coach Ian Clark said of the 25 year-old Russian. This season, Shesterkin has propelled the Rangers to one of the top teams in the NHL and stole games early on as the team adjusted to a new system. His numbers are up there with several goalies, but it’s his number of high danger saves that gets him the early nod.

Eventual Winner: Igor Shesterkin

NHL award predictions
Dec 1, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards: James Norris Memorial Trophy

Finalists: Adam Fox (NYR), Roman Josi (NSH), John Carlson (WSH)

Adam Fox is making a strong bid to become the first NHL defenseman to win back-back-Norris Trophies since Nicklas Lidstrom won three consecutive years for the Red Wings (2001-2003). Fox is currently tied for most points among defensemen with John Carlson (22 pts).

Eventual Winner: Adam Fox

NHL Awards: Ted Lindsay Award

Finalists: Leon Draisaitl (EDM), Connor McDavid (EDM), Alex Ovechkin (WSH)

I mean all three of them could win this award. Alex Ovechkin gets the nod in my book because he’s performing at a high level as he chases Wayne Gretzky’s All-Time Goals mark. He’s also not a spring chicken at the age of 36 and his peers will honor him for this effort.

Eventual Winner: Alex Ovechkin

alex ovechkin
Nov 26, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) reacts after scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers during the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards: Hart Memorial Trophy

Finalists: Leon Draisaitl (EDM), Connor McDavid (EDM), Alex Ovechkin (WSH)

Leon Draisaitl leads the NHL in scoring with 41 points, but we already have an award for that known as the Art Ross Trophy. There is no doubt that the guy that stirs the drink of the entire league is Connor McDavid, who already has two goal-of-the-year candidates up for consideration. By the way, he has 40 points and is likely to take home another scoring title.

Eventual Winner: Connor McDavid