NHL MVP – Connor McDavid
He’s the best player on the planet right now. At the All-Star Break, McDavid is on pace for over 150 points and leads the NHL in goals with 41 in 50 games. Even though his success hasn’t always translated into team success for the Oilers, Connor is still the league’s most valuable player to his team. Without their captain, Edmonton would almost certainly be in a considerably worse position than they are right now.
Best Goalie – Linus Ullmark
Ullmark is having a career year for the best team in the league and leads the NHL in GAA and SVP by considerable margins. Although some may argue that his numbers wouldn’t be nearly this good on another team, the stats don’t lie. Ullmark has been dominant in the net for the Bruins and deserves to be the Vezina frontrunner. If he were to finish the season with his current save percentage of .937, he would tie Dominik Hasek and Cory Schnieder for the fifth-highest SVP of all time in a season with more than 25 games played. He’s also winning games at a historic rate:
Best Rookie – Matty Beniers
With 36 points in 47 games and an invitation to the NHL All-Star Game, Seattle’s first-ever draft pick is turning into a star for the Kraken. His speed and skill have made him one of Seattle’s best players this year, and if he stays healthy, the chances of him ending this season with a Calder Trophy are very good. Most sportsbooks currently have him at around –200 to win the award.
Breakout Player – Tage Thompson
He was good last year, but Tage Thompson has found another gear this season. The Buffalo forward has been in the top 5 of NHL scoring for most of the year and is currently fifth with 68 points in 49 games. Last year, he finished the season with 68 points. Being as big and skilled as he is, Tage’s dominance does not feel like a flash in the pan. Instead, the Sabres look like they might finally be a relevant NHL team again soon, and Thompson is one of the biggest reasons.
Most Improved – Josh Morrissey
Heading into this year, Josh Morrissey’s career high in points was 37 in 79 games. This season, the Jets’ defenceman has already surpassed that number by a large margin and sits at 53 points going into his first All-Star game. The Jets are enjoying a great bounce-back season, and the play of Morrissey is one of the biggest reasons why. Although he may not get the recognition in the Norris conversation, Morrissey’s improvement this year has been awesome for Winnipeg.
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