LeafsNation 2013 Year End Awards winners

Midway through the MMVA’s last night, the humble editors of The Leafs Nation dot com took to the stage to present the winners of the Leafs Nation dot com’s first annual awards ceremony. You’ll recall at the conclusion of the regular season, we put together a list of nominees and people voted.

Now that the NHL has released its vote winners, TLN has its champions. Shocker: Phil Kessel and James Reimer were both rewarded by the voters for their play all season.

Drumroll, please…

Unsung Hero

Awarded to the Toronto Maple Leaf who is deemed to be the least sung

Nominees: Mark Fraser, Carl Gunnarsson, Nik Kulemin, Jay McClement, Ben Scrivens

Aaaand the winner is…

Jay McClement!

McClement spent more time killing penalties than any skater in the entire National Hockey League. That includes defencemen—McClement had 15 more minutes of PK time than Jeff Petry, number two in the league.

But here’s the thing about McClement: not only did he kill penalties, but while the Leafs’ problems controlling shots at even strength was well-documented all season, the improvement by the team in the PK was not just a random patch of luck. The Leafs allowed 51.1 shots per 60 minutes in 5-on-4 situations in 2012, which was 19th in the league. With McClement signed up to be the Leafs’ specialist, they dropped to 41.9.

There were lots of Leafs storylines this season, and areas that weren’t actually improved that looked a little better thanks to the randomness of a 48-game season, but the PK was legitimately better. McClement took 65% of the vote, with Kulemin in second with 17%.

Rookie of the Year

Awarded to the most proficient Maple Leaf in his first year of NHL competition

Nominees: Joe Colborne, Korbinian Holzer, Leo Komarov

Aaaand the winner is…

Leo Komarov!

Butttt…. he probably isn’t coming back. Alllsooo this wasn’t a particularly good field of Leafs rookies this season. Komarov destroyed the voting, garnering 96% of the vote (Korbinian Holzer had four total votes) as a versatile bottom six, penalty-killing winger.

Goat of the Year

Awarded to the Toronto Maple Leaf we could blame for all our problems

Nominees: Tyler Bozak, Randy Carlyle, Korbinian Holzer, Colton Orr

Aaaand the winner is…

Korbinian Holzer!

This was a close vote. Korbinian Holzer won 41% of the vote, edging out the coach that played him on the first pairing for 12 games, who only got 37%. Pugilist Colton Orr had 15% while possession sinkhole Tyler Bozak got 7%.

Ultimately there were a lot of good arguments for any one player or coach, but Holzer’s Corsi rate this season was 39.9%. Him and Dion were the worst possession pairing for the Leafs this season, and the screenshot above shows it all. That was maybe the second worst play by Holzer against the Hurricanes, though.

Best Defenceman

Awarded to the Toronto Maple Leaf who is the most named Dion Phaneuf

Nominees: Cody Franson, Carl Gunnarsson, Dion Phaneuf

Aaaand the winner is…

Dion Phaneuf!

Not a surprise. Dion played the toughest minutes in the NHL with scattered partners. He started the year with Mike Kostka and then got to play with Korbinian Holzer. It wasn’t until March that he finally got placed alongside a hurting Carl Gunnarsson, and closed out the rest of the year playing well on the team’s top pairing.

Phaneuf also had a bit of an offensive resurgence, scoring nine goals and 28 points in 48 games, his best rates in each category since he became a Leaf. Phaneuf took 71% of the votes, while Cody Franson wound up with 25%.

Best Forward

Awarded to the Toronto Maple Leaf who is deemed to be the most proficient

Nominees: Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk

Aaaand the winner is…

Phil Kessel!

Not a surprise. Kessel, who led the Leafs down the stretch and into the playoffs, did not sway any Hart Trophy voters, but did convince 76% of Leafs Nation dot com readers that he was more proficient than Kadri or van Riemsdyk. Nazem Kadri who had a breakout offensive year and was compared to Doug Gilmour roughly 6,000 times, earned just 20% of the vote. This could have been closer had Kadri not fallen off towards the end of the season.

Leafs Team MVP

Awarded to the Toronto Maple Leaf deemed to be most valuable to his team

Nominees: Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel, Jay McClement, Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer

Aaaand the winner is…

James Reimer!

Morweena, Manitoba’s most famous certainly got his fair share of recognition among the voters. The Leafs goaltender picked up 78% of the vote in a decisive sweep. Phil Kessel was in second place with just 8% of the vote.

Reimer held the Leafs together all the way up until there were 82 seconds to go in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins. After coming off a season marred by injury, Reimer posted a career-best .924 save percentage, established himself as the starter on a team goalie-less since the mid-aughts, and erased any possibility of the Maple Leafs overpaying for Roberto Luongo from Vancouver.

Numbers taken from Hockey Reference and Hockey Analysis

  • MaxPower417

    After reading the selections by my fellow readers here all I can say is…

    Three cheers for sanity! I was expecting at least one crazy choice, like Kadri edging out Kessel.