STRONGSVILLE, Ohio– The best part of every offseason is the awards. Every year the NHL rolls out the red carpet and gets all their stars in the building for one night. The fun of awards shouldn't be limited to just the NHL, so here now are the NHL awards handed out to ASU players.
The Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team.
Hart Trophy winner: Liam Norris
Norris has been the best player on this team and makes everyone on the ice with him better. In past years, Norris played with Kale Dolinski, boosting Dolinski's numbers and staying out of the spotlight himself. He burst out this season, leading the team in points (50) and assists (36) while also netting 14 goals, including a hat trick Feb. 7 against Colorado.
Norris has somewhat slid under the radar the last few years because of players like Colin Hekle and Kale Dolinski. His production hasn't changed, but he became the go-to guy this year and whenever the team needed a big goal, it was Norris who would either pot it, or set someone up who would.
Honorable mentions: Eric Rivard, Sean Murphy
The James Norris Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.
Norris Trophy winner: Drew Newmeyer
Nobody is better in the defensive zone than Newmeyer. The epitome of defensive defenseman, the Sun Devils were never very fearful if he was the last one back on an odd-man rush. Last season he and Brett Blomgren formed ASU's best pairing and this year again he's on the top two alongside Connor Schmidt.
He wasn't known for his scoring as a freshman, but as a sophomore he ramped up his offensive game with three goals and 20 assists, raising his point total by seven in six fewer games. His shot may not be as vicious as fellow blue liners Schmidt or Ed McGovern, but Newmeyer's 23 points led all ASU defensemen. He moved the puck from the line as well as anyone on the power play and was ASU's best defenseman on the penalty kill.
Honorable mentions: Connor Schmidt, Gianni Mangone
The Calder Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition.
Calder Trophy winner: Gianni Mangone
Quick disclaimer: Even though Ryan Belonger, Connor Schmidt and David Norris are in their first year with the team, they are all former NCAA Division I players. For this award, I chose only players in their first year of college hockey.
Among players stepping onto campus for the first time, Mangone transitioned his skills the best. He missed the end of the first half with a leg injury but still managed to come in third in points by a defenseman with 16, behind only Newmeyer and Schmidt and one ahead of fellow rookie Ed McGovern.
Plus he has the best nickname in the league: #GianniHockey.
Honorable mentions: Ed McGovern, Connor Mailey
The Frank J. Selke Trophy is an annual award given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
Selke Trophy winner: Ryan Belonger
Belonger started the season out on the wing, but transitioned to center about halfway through the season. The move was to allow his defense to shine through and the plan worked to perfection. He is lined up with Sean Murphy and Patrick Yudez at the national tournament, which allows Murphy to focus on what he does best: scoring.
Not to say Belonger was not an offensive threat. In 30 games he hashed out a 16-16-32 line and was selected to the Team USA World University Games team. Two-way centermen are what Stanley Cup teams are built around. The last two Stanley Cup Finals featured a player who won the Selke (Jonathan Toews in 2013) or finished second (Anze Kopitar last year).
Honorable mentions: Michael Cummings, Liam Norris