• Brandon Caputo

2021 NHL Individual Award Predictions

Updated: Jan 18

Co-written by Brandon Caputo & Tyler Jones

@Caputz13 & @TylerJones_22

Photo Credit: nhl.com


*In today's article we will only be discussing notable individual awards that are (for the most part) determined from the Regular Season, as we will save the Team Awards for a future article once the Playoffs role around.



Hart Memorial Trophy

2019-2020 Leon Draisaitl (EDM) - Most Valuable Player


Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Locher

Brandon's 2021 Projected Winner:

Connor McDavid (EDM) 64GP 34G 63A 97P in 19-20

Seeing his teammate win the award last season must have been bitter,sweet. Seeing as Drasaitl played 7 more games & still produced despite Connor's absence meant that Leon still deserved the award last season.

Connor is out to prove that he can win this award once again, which he has not won since 2017 to many people's surprise given his all-world talent. Edmonton plays in the All-Canadian division this year,

which is sure to be highflying & high scoring. Connor gets the teammate bragging rights over Leon this season.


Brandon's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Nathan MacKinnon (COL) 69GP 35G 58A 93P in 19-20

Not much to say about Nathan Mac other than he has continued to elevate himself into one of the top players & faces of the NHL, as he leads this young & ultra talented Avalanche team to one of the powerhouse teams to be fearful of. If Connor McDavid were not playing a full season, I would give the nod to MacKinnon for this award, but unfortunately for him I don't think that will happen this season.

He will win this award at some point in his career, as he seems to be a finalist for it every season. The future is bright for MacKinnon & the Avs who have higher aspirations than just getting him a Hart Trophy for his Trophy Case, which MacKinnon will probably be the one to tell you that first.



Tyler's 2021 Projected Winner:

Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

69GP 35G 58A 93P in 19-20

MacKinnon is without a doubt a top 3 player in the NHL and came close to winning this award a couple times already, and this will be his year. Mac has had 93, 99, and 97 points in the last three years. I see him hitting a little less than that this year with teams only playing 56 games.


Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


Tyler's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Connor McDavid (EDM) 64GP 34G 63A 97P in 19-20

Connor won this award in 2017, and has basically been in contention ever since entering the league. His teammate Leon Draisaitl won last season, and to me, seems odd that 2 guys on the same team can be finalists for an award where the definition is “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.” It will end up being a close race, but Connor Mac will come up short.

Art Ross Trophy

2019-2020 Winner: Leon Draisaitl - Most Points Accumulated (110)


Brandon's 2021 Projected Winner:

Connor McDavid (EDM) 64GP 34G 63A 97P in 19-20

As I went with Connor to win the Hart trophy, I think he sweeps both awards this season. 97 points in 64 games is incredible, but I actually expect him to hit around that same point total in the shortened 58 game season.

Looking to win this award for the 3rd time, as he went back-to-back in

2016-17 & 2017-18; he has all the tools, teammates, & defensively weak divisional opponents to get back to this distinction again in 2021.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Brandon's 2021 Projected

Runner-Up:

Artemi Panarin (NYR) 69GP 32G 63A 95P in 19-20

The superstar winger more than reached expectations in his first season as a Ranger after signing his massive 7-year 85 million dollar free agent contract last offseason. Playing alongside Mika Zibanejad as his elite centreman & the possibility of 1st overall pick Alexis Lafreniere joining them on that line, this could be a top line in the NHL if it clicks. 95 points in 69 games last season, I expect him to get somewhere close to 90 points in the 58 game shortened season and be the runner-up to McDavid for this award, as Panarin is playing in a much more all-around competitive & defensively sound East Division this season.



Tyler's 2021 Projected Winner:

Connor McDavid (EDM) 64GP 34G 63A 97P in 19-20

Even though I picked Mackinnon to win the Hart, I think Connor Mac ends up with the most points once again. He has Draisaitl to play with, who is coming off winning this award, and I think that gives him the edge. McDavid has won this award twice in the last 4 seasons and I see him winning many, many more.


Tyler's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Nathan MacKinnon (COL) 69GP 35G 58A 93P in 19-20

I just swapped the Hart trophy standing here and put Nate 2nd in points this upcoming season. Mackinnon is so dynamic and, much like Connor, I see being a finalist for this award for a very long time.

James Norris Memorial Trophy

2019-2020 Winner: Roman Josi (NSH) Best Defenseman


Photo Credit: Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Brandon's 2021 Projected Winner:

Morgan Rielly (TOR) 47GP 3G 24A 27P in 19-20

As hard as this is to say as a "Toronto Maple Leafs Hater" what Morgan Rielly brings to that defensive core is maybe more valuable than any defenseman is to any team in the league. Without Rielly, I don't think the Leafs would be nearly as successful as they are with their offensive game being at the forefront to their success. Along with goaltender Freddie Anderssen, I believe that Rielly saves this team from disastrous breakdowns & defensive lapses more times than not.

Although the Leafs score a lot of goals, they are equally vulnerable to giving up a lot because of that offensive fast style that allows for odd-man rushes for the opposing team. Because Rielly is so valuable to keeping this

d-core together, I feel he might be as valuable as ever to the Leafs this season in a high-flying North Division.


Brandon's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Roman Josi (NSH) 69GP 16G 49A 65P in 19-20

Will be hard to knock last year's winner off his pedestal, but I still think Josi will have an incredible season for the Predators as he leads them into another hopeful playoff run. Playing in a weaker re-aligned Central Division this season, I believe his point totals will rise because of that & expect him to be around the 50-55 point range in a 58 game shortened season.

Unfortunately, this award has seemed to become a points based award in recent memory, but Josi's top-end defensive game makes him worthy of this award & a finalist every season for his all-around play as a

Top Defenseman in this league.


Photo Credit: Tom Reed

Tyler's 2021 Projected Winner:

Seth Jones (CBJ) 56GP 6G 24A 30P in 19-20

Seth has been one of my personal favorite players since my Predators drafted him. I thought it was a mistake at the time to trade him, and he has made me look good for that thought ever since. This upcoming season, he will get what he deserves and that’s the Norris.


Tyler's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Cale Makar (COL) 57GP 12G 38A 50P in 19-20

Makar blasted on the scene with 50 points in his rookie year. Cale has been called one of the best defenseman to ever come out of the draft, and you could certainly see that last season. With another year under his belt and a high scoring team, look for him to put up big numbers.

Maurice Richard Trophy

2019-2020 Winners: Alex Ovechkin (WAS) & David Pastrnak (BOS)

Most Goals Scored (48)


Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Brandon's 2021 Projected Winner:

Steven Stamkos (TB) 57GP 29G 37A 66P in 19-20

With the unfortunate season-ending injury to teammate Nikita Kucherov before the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning have had to switch around their forward group to compensate for that loss this season.

This is where Steven Stamkos comes in to play. He will be playing on the Wing this season rather than his usual Centre, which he has played most of his career. He will be playing alongside top playmaking Centre Brayden Point on the top line & will be the trigger man on the Lightning's Top PP unit.

He won this award back in 2011-12 scoring 60 goals as a Centre and playing on the Wing this year could allow him to get back to those type of numbers given the opportunity he has in front of him by taking over for Kucherov as the main shooter on the roster. In a shortened 58 game season, I can see Stammer getting to 45-50 goals in what I consider to be the weakest of the 4 re-aligned divisions this season, along with Tampa still being the powerhouse team in the nhl as the defending Stanley Cup Champions. We may be turning back the clocks to "Stammer Time" once again for the 2021 season.


Brandon's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Mikko Rantanen (COL) 42GP 19G 22A 41P in 19-20

If any of you readers know a lot about me, you'll know that Mikko Rantanen is my favourite player in the league and I will go out of my way to watch the Big Moose play, if my BUF Sabres or SJ Sharks are not playing.

Putting that aside, playing alongside an all-world Centre in Nathan MacKinnon & a stacked Colorado team that looks to be one of the NHL powerhouses this season, Mikko will have all of the opportunity in the world to get himself into contention for the Rocket this season.

Top Line RW & Top Line PP time as the triggerman will allow for the Moose to get Loose if he can stay healthy, which has been the only concern for him during his young career. Being of hughe stature for a guy who skates as well as Mikko does, unfortunately gets him into situations where "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" which leads to the injuries that he has sustained.

31 goals in 74 games & 19 goals in 42 games the last 2 regular seasons(.43 goals per game), in which he has missed time; I don't think it is out of the realm of possibility for Mikko to reach 40-45 goals in 50-58 games in this shortened season with all of the elite talent feeding him the puck. At 24 years old, he has a bright future as one of the most feared scorers in the game & has only continued that trajectory every season, I think Mikko gets himself in contention for the award this season & wins it in the next 2-3 years.



Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler's 2021 Projected Winner:

Auston Matthews (TOR) 70GP 47G 33A 80P in 19-20

Until Covid hit, Matthews was on pace for a 55 goal season, and he will be putting up numbers like that regularly. Since he was drafted he has been one of the league’s best 5v5 scorers. Auston has great playmakers around him in Toronto really helps him get the puck to the back of the net.


Tyler's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Alex Ovechkin (WAS) 68GP 48G 19A 67P in 19-20

Ovie has dominated the Rocket since joining the NHL, winning this award 9 times. He was a co-winner last season with Pastrnak, who if he was playing all season would be a finalist at a minimum, with 48 goals. Ovie is getting older, but the driver to break Gretzky’s record will drive him to continue to score at a ridiculous rate for at least a few more seasons.

Calder Memorial Trophy

2019-2020 Winner: Cale Makar - Best Rookie


Photo Credit: New York Rangers @NYRangers

Brandon's 2021 Projected Winner:

Alexis Lafreniere (NYR) 52GP 35G 77A 112P for QMJHL

Rimouski Oceanic in 19-20

Not much to say about this kid other than the New York Rangers definitely hit the jackpot by winning the Draft Lottery this season. The most highly touted QMJHL prospect since Nathan MacKinnon & fellow Rimouski Oceanic alumni Sidney Crosby, Lafreniere will have an immediate impact & opportunity to shine on a loaded Rangers skilled group of forwards. With the potential of playing alongside guys like Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, & Kappo Kakko to name a few; you will be hard pressed to find a player with more upside as a rookie this season.

As the #1 Overall Pick, he will want to prove his worth & the hype that has been associated with him during his junior hockey career. Playing at legendary MSG will be no easy task, but with no fans allowed in the building this year it may take some of that pressure off of him, allowing him to get acclimated to the NHL game sooner rather than later.


Brandon's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Igor Shesterkin (NYR) 10-2-0 with a .932 save percentage in 12 NHL games

Another blue-chip prospect on this New York Rangers team, it's incredible to think what this franchise will be in the future. Igor impressed everyone last year with his limited action with Georgiev & King Henrik to share the net with. King Henrik not being resigned as the face of the New York Rangers crease for almost 2 decades is a lot of pressure for a young goaltender to fill, but I believe that Shesterkin is up to the task as a special goalie talent.

As a 25 year old rookie, this is about the time where goaltenders shine & elevate themselves to elite status in the NHL, and Igor should be no different. The Ranger teammates finish 1-2 for this award this season, but I have Lafreniere getting the upper hand & bragging rights for Rookie of the Year.



Tyler's 2021 Projected Winner:

Alexis Lafreniere (NYR) 52GP 35G 77A 112P for

QMJHL Rimouski Oceanic in 19-20

Lafreniere was the 1st overall pick in the 2020 draft by the Rangers, and for good reason. He is a dynamic playmaker who has dominated everything he has ever played in. Many liken him to Sidney Crosby, and I can see why. Him playing with so much young, skilled talent in New York is going to be fun to watch for many years.


Photo Credit: The Canadian Press

Tyler's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Tim Stuetzle (OTT) 41GP 7G 27A 34P for Adler Mannheim in 19-20

Another top playmaker in the 2020 draft, Stuetzle was selected 3rd by the Ottawa Senators. He was coming off an injury when he started in the World Juniors and put up 10 points in 5 games. With Ottawa not having the greatest team, look for Stuetzle and Tkachuk to lead the team in every scoring category.

Frank J. Selke Trophy

2019-2020 Winner: (PHI) Sean Couturier - Best Defensive Forward


Photo Credit: NHL / Press Release

Brandon's 2021 Projected Winner:

Ryan O'Reilly (STL)

71GP 12G 49A 61P +11 +/- in 19-20

The 2018-19 winner of this award, I believe that Ryan O'Reilly is primed to take back this award after last year's absence from it. Being the new captain & face of the St. Louis Blues franchise with Vladimir Tarasenko projected to miss most of this season, I believe that playing in a weak Pacific division (outside of Colorado & Vegas) will allow O'Reilly to showcase why he is valued as one of the best all-around forwards in the gsame, especially on the defensive side of it.

Always on the ice for key faceoffs for Powerplay, Penalty Kill, late game leads, & late game deficits; there is no reason to think that Ryan will not be asked to play all of those situations once again as the new captain of this team. Leading the NHL last season with an incredible 880 Faceoff wins, in a shortened season I still project him to get around 600-700 in 58 games, while racking up around 45-50 points in the 58 game shortened season playing alongside a loaded Blues forward group, who are primed to make another Stanley Cup playoff run in 2021.


Brandon's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Patrice Bergeron (BOS) 61GP 31G 25A 56P +23 +/- in 19-20

Just like my projected winner Ryan O'Reilly, Bergeron is also the new captain of his Boston Bruins squad, taking over for longtime captain Zdeno Chara who was not resigned & moved on to play for the Washington Capitals.

Patrice has been a staple for this Bruins franchise for 15+ years and has always been touted as the next captain once Chara was done in Boston; this time is now.

He is already tied with Bob Gainey for the most Selke Awards(4) and is always one of the finalists for this award as a special 2-way player & one of the hardest players to play against in the league with his defensively sound play. i expect no different this season & would not be shocked if Patrice were to take the award this season in a loaded East division, where his defensive game will have to be as elevated as ever if the Bruins want to compete for a playoff spot & Stanley Cup run again this season. Regardless, you'd be hard pressed to find a better bet or lock as a finalist for the Selke Trophy, year in & year out.



Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tyler's 2021 Projected Winner:

Patrice Bergeron (BOS) 61GP 31G 25A 56P +23 +/- in 19-20

Bergeron has won this award 4 times in the last 10 seasons, which is tied with Bob Gainey for 1st all-time. This year he will be tied no more and will be the undisputed #1 Selke winner. Not since Pavel Datsyuk have we seen such a dynamic defensive player who can still put up points.


Tyler's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Sean Couturier (PHI)

69GP 22G 37A 59P +21 +/- in 19-20

The man who is taking the torch from Bergeron in this award and Patrice hasn’t even left yet is Sean Couturier. The 8th overall selection in 2011 has really come in to his own the last couple seasons and has turned into a top center in the league. Sean won this award last season and see him winning many more, but Bergeron just edges him out this upcoming year.

Vezina Trophy

2019-2020 Winner: Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) Best Goaltender


Photo Credit: slegglumber.ca

Brandon's 2021 Projected Winner:

Jordan Binnington (STL) 30-13-7 Record 2.56 GAA .912SV% in 19-20

The 2019 Stanley Cup winning goaltender has another great opportunity with a loaded Blues team that is primed for another great season in this re-aligned Pacific Division. 3rd in the NHL in wins for goaltenders last season, I believe that at 27 years old Binnington is primed & ready to elevate himself to Vezina status this season as an already accomplished young goaltender.

The Blues under Head Coach Craig Berube are always defensively sound & make sure that their goaltender is put in a good position for success. Losing captain Alex Pietrangelo on the backend might hurt, but signing prized defenseman Torey Krug will help alleviate a bit of that hole in which Petro left behind. I have all of the confidence that Binnington will at the very least be a finalist for the Vezina award this season as the leagues best goaltender.


Brandon's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB) 35-14-3 Record 2.56 GAA .917SV% in 19-20

In a very weak re-aligned Central Division this season, I believe that Vasilevskiy will be tough to beat out or this award as the 2018-19 winner & defending Stanley Cup winning goaltender. This Tampa Bay Lightning team is primed to make another Stanley Cup run to defend their championship & although they are missing star winger Nikita Kucherov, Vasilevskiy should lead the NHL in wins, as well as be near the top once again in GAA & S%.



Photo Credit: Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Tyler's 2021 Projected Winner:

Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB) 35-14-3 Record 2.56 GAA .917SV% in 19-20

With the new division alignments, I especially see Andrei taking the Vezina home for the 2nd time in 3 seasons. I don’t see the teams he will be playing putting many goals past him.



Tyler's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

Carter Hart (PHI) 24-13-3 Record 2.42 GAA .914 SV% in 19-20

Hart is going to win this award multiple times, and this season will be a close one. Unfortunately for Carter, Vasilevsky just has a much easier path to the award this season. If Hart was to win, he would become the youngest goaltender to do so since Bobrovsky in 2013 (24 years old).

Jack Adams Trophy

2019-2020 Winner: Bruce Cassidy (BOS) - Coach of The Year


Photo Credit: Colorado Avalanche @Avalanche/ColoradoAvalanche.com

Brandon's 2021 Projected Winner:

Jared Bednar (COL)

42-20-8 record in 19-20

As I have given praise to this Colorado team throughout this article, the trajectory of this team has continued to rise year-after-year & that can be accredited to the stability of Head Coach Jared Bednar. The Calder Cup winning Coach for the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL in 2016 has done nothing but impress in his 4 seasons behind the bench for the Avalanche.

As one of the powerhouses in the NHL this season, it will be hard to find a better favourite for this award going into the 2021 season, with all of the expectations & aspirations that colorado has this season.

Bednar is also my choice to be elevated to Jack Adams status & to be recognized as not only one of the best rising coaches in the NHL, but the Coach of the Year.


Brandon's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

John Tortorella (CBJ) 33-22-15 record in 19-20

As an underdog team 2 seasons in a row going into the playoffs, the Columbus Blue Jackets under John Tortorella's guidance have done an incrddible job of kocking off 2 powerhouse offensive teams in the

Tampa Bay Lightning & Toronto Maple Leafs respectively. They are one of the toughest teams to play against in the league under Tort's system & are one of (if not the most) defensivly sound teams in the NHL. Not always the pretiest & most exciting team to watch, but they know how to get it done without having a stacked elite forward group. Built from the net out & to their all-world defensive group, I think Tort's and the Blue Jackets are primed for another Playoff appearance in a weak Central Division on paper this season. As an already 2-time winner of the Jack Adams trophy, I think Torts will once again be a finalist & in contention to win his 3rd in the 2021 season.



Tyler's 2021 Projected Winner:

Jared Bednar (COL) 42-20-8 record in 19-20

Along with Joe Sakic leading the way as the GM, Jared Bednar has helped turn Colorado into a powerhouse team. They were 3rd in the NHL overall with one of the youngest average age teams. With them only getting better with more experience, look for Bednar to guide this team to many Cup Finals.


Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tyler's 2021 Projected Runner-Up:

David Quinn (NYR)

37-25-8 record in 19-20

Quinn will be working with so many young players that if he can get them to the 2nd round it will be a heck of a season. The Rangers will be more in contention in the future, but Quinn has work ahead of him this year. With this award usually going to guys who work more with less, I see David being in 2nd behind Bednar even though the Avs have a better team right now.

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