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NHL Award Predictions: It’s smart to choose Crosby to win Hart

Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby

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Updated: November 2, 2013 6:17AM

1. Hart Trophy (MVP) — Sidney Crosby, Penguins

If last season showed anything, it’s that Jonathan Toews might never win a Hart Trophy. He was the best player on a historically great team and is the total package — offense, defense, special teams, intangibles — yet he finished fourth behind Alex Ovechkin, Crosby and John Tavares. As good as he is, Toews might never produce the kind of video-game stats to sway voters. And this season will be no different. Crosby showed last season that he’s still a singular offensive talent when he’s healthy. If he plays anything close to a full season, he’ll run away with the Hart.

2. Norris Trophy (top defenseman) — Duncan Keith, Hawks

Keith was the best player on the ice during most of the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, dominating and dictating play like he did when he won the Norris in 2010. If he plays like that all season — and coach Joel Quenneville thinks he has come into camp with a clear purpose — he’ll be right in the mix again. His toughest competition will come from Ryan Suter, who, like Keith, is an indefatigable minutes-eater with a playmaking touch.

3. Vezina Trophy (top goalie) — Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers

It’s a contract year for Lundqvist, who single-handedly has made the offensively inept Rangers a perennial chic pick to make a championship run. And that will make the best goalie in the world that much better. The usual suspects — Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne, for example — will be in the mix, too. Don’t sleep on a resurgent Roberto Luongo, either. Corey Crawford has the ability to put up some eye-popping numbers, especially with the best defensive corps in the league in front of him. And his Olympic aspirations might motivate him even more in the first half.

Mark Lazerus

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