San Jose Sharks Awards 2015 – Part One


Brent Burns became only the sixth San Jose Sharks player to win an individual NHL award when he was deservedly recognized with the NHL Foundation Award. The NHL Foundation Award is awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) player “who applies the core values of (ice) hockey—commitment, perseverance and teamwork—to enrich the lives of people in his community.” Burns was the right person to win this nomination for all the work he has done over the past several years with numerous organizations and charities.

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There are only a handful of cases when a Sharks player has won any sort of individual NHL hardware: Burns won the NHL Foundation Award this year,

Jonathan Cheechoo

won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2006, that same year

Joe Thornton

got his hands on both the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy,

Evgeni Nabokov

was recognized as the best rookie for the 2000–01 season when he received the Calder Memorial Trophy, and the first ever individual accolade in Sharks history went to

Tony Granato

in 1997 when he won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Apart from Burns, no other Sharks player or staff member was a finalist for any individual awards for the 2014-15 season.

What if the San Jose Sharks had their own set of awards? How would they be called? Who would the winners be for the 2015 San Jose Sharks Awards?

In the order of real awards presentation, today we present the first six San Jose Sharks Awards for 2015.

Patrick Marleau Trophy (NHL Counterpart – Ted Lindsay Award)

Mar 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) warms up before playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

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The Patrick Marleau Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding Sharks player. Thornton once finished second for the Ted Lindsay Award (back when it was called Lester B. Pearson Award in 2006), but he did not win it. Instead, Thornton won the Hart Memorial Trophy, but it is more appropriate to use Thornton for another award.

Here, I am going with the Sharks icon. A player that I hope will never leave the organization, and will end up winning the Stanley Cup. Marleau may never win the Ted Lindsay Award, and he may never even be a nominee, but Marleau deserves to have an award that recognizes an outstanding player named after him. Over 1,300 games and nearly 1,000 points with a couple more seasons left in the tank, all with the Sharks.

The 2015 winner is Joe Pavelski

This has truly been a season where Pavelski has cemented himself as the centrepiece of the organization. He led the Sharks in ways that can be tangibly tracked (goals, points, plus/minus, blocked shots among forwards), and with things that cannot be empirically tracked (his work ethic, tenacity, and leadership).

Mike Ricci Trophy (NHL Counterpart – Frank J. Selke Trophy)

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    The Mike Ricci Trophy is an annual award given to the Sharks forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. Ricci was the only finalist for this award from the Sharks. He finished third in voting in 2000. Hardnosed centerman was almost synonymous with words ‘grit’, ‘work ethics’, and ‘defensive forward’.

    The 2015 winner is Joe Pavelski

    The Big Pavelski was not only the scoring machine, but an integral part of the overall defensive efforts in the team. Never shy to play a complete 200-foot game, Pavelski is a staple on the penalty killing unit. He has further improved his positioning, and was fifth among all forwards in the NHL in shots blocked (86).

    Marc-Edouard Vlasic Trophy (NHL Counterpart – James Norris Memorial Trophy)

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    The Marc-Edouard Vlasic Trophy is an annual award given to the Sharks defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. With 670 regular season games, Vlasic has played one less than Mike Rathje the current leader in games played for the Sharks amongst defensemen. However, if you add in all the playoff appearances – no d-man has skated in more games for the Sharks than Vlasic. This Olympic gold medal winner is consistently one of the most underrated defensemen in the league.

    The 2015 winner is Brent Burns

    This selection was a tough one. Burns is an unconventional player, and he adjusted really well after switching back to a more defensive position this season. His 60 points are nothing to sniff at, and he has had a great season for the Sharks. However, it is hard not to at least doubt the selection when you look at the consistent body of work Vlasic puts in every night, and also when you consider his +12 plus/minus rating was tied for first on the team.

    Jonathan Cheechoo Trophy (NHL Counterpart – Maurice Richard Trophy)

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    The Jonathan Cheechoo Trophy is an annual award given to the Sharks top goal scorer. As the only winner of its NHL counterpart, it was a no brainer to name it after Cheechoo.

    The 2015 winner is Joe Pavelski

    Pavelski scored 37 goals during the regular season. He scored 10 more goals than second-place Logan Couture with his 27 goals, and has clearly emerged as the primary scoring option for Team Teal.

    Jeff Odgers Trophy (NHL Counterpart – King Clancy Trophy)

    Feb 5, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) skates with the puck against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at Rogers Arena. The San Jose Sharks won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

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    The Jeff Odgers Trophy is an annual award given “to the Sharks player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

    Odgers was a menace, an enforcer, and a natural leader. He played the 22nd most games in franchise history, but is ranked first in penalty minutes. Odgers played in the inaugural season for the Sharks, was team captain for the 1995-96 season, and was nominated for the King Clancy Trophy twice.

    The 2015 winner is Brent Burns

    As the Sharks nominee for the real King Clancy Trophy, the choice here was easy. Burns was the lone Sharks representative at the 2015 All-Star Game in Columbus, led by example scoring 60 points as a defenseman, has made tremendous contributions in his community, and was an important piece of the core group of leaders for the Sharks.

    Owen Nolan Trophy (NHL Counterpart – Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award)

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    The Owen Nolan Trophy is awarded “to the Sharks player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.” Nolan was one of the fan favorites during his tenure with the Sharks. He was also one of the guys who opponents did not want to mess with – he could punish with a timely goal, or a nasty hit.

    He was leading with his voice and his actions, on and off the ice. Nolan is one of my favorite Sharks captains of all time.

    The 2015 winner is Joe Pavelski

    This is another trophy Pavelski fully deserves. Pavelski was the leader in terms of scoring, forwards’ defensive effort, tenacity, and his role definitely grew in the dressing room. Formally wearing an ‘A’ on his sweater during the past season, Pavelski has been tapped by the fans as the next team captain for his outstanding season both on and off the ice.

    Join us next time, when we unveil the second half of the 2015 San Jose Awards!

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