Do you remember picking up your yearbook from high school and flipping through to find that you had earned the highest chance of succeeding? Yeah, me neither. However, I remember flipping through the pages to check if I had won any of the less desirable superlative prizes.
Each year, the Vancouver Canucks award team awards in various categories. From the Walter “Babe” Pratt Award for Top Defenseman to the Fred J. Hume Award for Canucks Unsung Hero, team-specific prizes allow players who don’t earn league-wide gear to get some recognition.
Although the Canucks’ awards do a solid job of achieving that goal, it’s still the same names that dominate the trophy. There’s not much room for someone like Canucks legend Linden Vey to land an award.
So I decided to change that.
Much like how your high school introduced a “most likely to return as an employee” so everyone could win a prize, here are some Canucks prizes they should add to make sure everyone everyone feels included.
Darcy Rota Award: Brad Hunt
Awarded to the Canucks’ top BC-born player
This one was a battle that went down the wire between Brad Hunt and Kyle Burroughs. Both are useful depth defenders who grew up in the Lower Mainland and are now living the dream of playing for their hometown team.
Hunt narrowly edges out Burroughs in a nail-biter thanks to a few extra points (17-5) and a few extra games played (50-42). Although he lost that coveted award, Burroughs still had a strong season and showed he wasn’t afraid to land the body on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury down the stretch and it was Hunt who had some good performances, including a game-clinching goal against the New York Islanders on March 3.
“I never dreamed of playing for my hometown team, scoring a goal and getting a huge win when we needed it most,” the Maple Ridge native said after the game. .
The Jannik Hansen Prize: Alex Chiasson
Awarded to the most exciting defender of the last six forwards or last pairing
Although Chiasson doesn’t have the speed that Hansen used to on so many breakaways, he’s been the most exciting forward in the back six to watch for much of the season. He even showed good chemistry with Elias Pettersson when the two were able to play together towards the end of the season.
Welcome to the Elias Pettersson and Alex Chiasson show. 🧪 pic.twitter.com/1yW3wyt5G3
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 8, 2022
Chiasson is a skilled player who far exceeded expectations after arriving at training camp on a trial offer. He finished eighth in the team with 13 goals, not bad for a player who had to fight just to secure a spot on the roster.
Mason Raymond Prize: Nils Höglander
Awarded to the Canucks’ biggest tease
There have been countless times this season when Nils Höglander has deke smoothly, slipping defenders into the slot for a great scoring opportunity. Or maybe he was using his head to find a weak spot in the defense, sneaking past everyone for a one-shot chance. The crowd ooo and aah as Höglander fired a shot from one of those best scoring chances, only for the goalkeeper to deflect it.
Off the Canucks with over 100 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, Höglander finished second on the team in expected individual goals per 60 minutes. The numbers show he constantly found himself in a goalscoring position, he really struggled to finish those chances. From his rookie season to his second season, his 5-on-5 shooting percentage went from 11.21% to 8.11%
It’s not supposed to be a Höglander roast. He’s a young player with a ton of potential and everyone can see how great he can be. He just hasn’t gotten the rebounds this season and that makes him the unfortunate recipient of the first-ever Mason Raymond Award. Hopefully he returns to more games like the one below next season.
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) January 31, 2021
The Kevin Bieksa Award: Luke Schenn
Awarded to the most physically efficient defender
The Canucks have lacked an element of toughness to their roster in recent years. In fact, it’s something Jim Rutherford recently identified as a team need this offseason.
“We don’t have enough sandpaper,” Rutherford said. “It’s a different game out west. We have to find some guys – not a lot of guys – but some guys who are a bit heavier, to play with sandpaper.
Luke Schenn returned to the Canucks this season for his second stint with the team and brought that physical presence. He finished fourth in the league in hits despite only playing 66 games, recording 273 during that span. Schenn has also shown that he is not afraid to fight when the situation calls for it, regularly stepping in for his teammates.
What superlative award for the Canucks 2021-22 season would you hand out? Leave your idea in the comments below.
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