Hart, Vezina, Norris, Calder and more
We’ve reached the midseason point of the 2022-23 NHL season, which inevitably demands reflection on the campaign thus far. It’s time to hand out some awards and superlatives, as we now enter the second half of the year.
There’s a few categories we’ve invented, too: hockey is supposed to be fun, so we’re going to celebrate the best of what the season has offered thus far.
Stats from Natural Stat Trick, Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and NHL.com
This was the easiest award to select which is a testament to Connor McDavid’s outright dominance. McDavid leads the NHL with 37 goals and 83 points, playing at a 151-point pace extrapolated over 82 games. He’s far and away the best player in the NHL and though we don’t want to put any ceilings on the 25-year-old, it’s quite possible we’re witnessing his career apex.
The only thing that could potentially hold back McDavid’s MVP candidacy is that the Oilers are still fighting for a playoff spot, sitting in the No. 8 seed in the West. McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are carrying the Oilers single-handedly and Edmonton’s captain is putting on a tour-de-force performance, while the vast majority of his teammates are failing to make meaningful contributions.
Assuming McDavid doesn’t run away with the vote, Nikita Kucherov has been the anchor of a Lightning team that has almost certainly cemented its playoff position in the vaunted Atlantic. David Pastrnak is the best player on a Bruins team that sits atop the league with a stellar 33-5-4 record. Jack Hughes has been on fire all season for a Devils team that plays with electrifying pace. Tage Thompson and Jason Robertson have asserted themselves among the NHL’s elite players. But this is all academic: McDavid is so far ahead of the pack at an individual level that he should be the unanimous MVP.