The NHL Awards will take place on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, and several Chicago Blackhawks players have a good chance of walking away with some prestigious hardware at the event.
The big award of the night is the Hart Trophy, given to the league’s Most Valuable Player. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, who set career highs with 46 goals and 60 assists in the 2015-16 season, is considered to be the favorite to win the award.
He’s going up against a couple of players with excellent resumes, however. Sidney Crosby, captain of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, will be looking to win the award for the third time in his career. He scored 36 goals and dished out 49 assists in 80 games for the Penguins this season.
Dallas Stars standout Jamie Benn will also be in the mix, with 41 goals and 48 assists for the high-powered Stars’ offense.
If Kane can beat those two players, he will become the first Blackhawks skater to win the Hart Trophy in nearly 50 years, with Stan Mikita holding that distinction after hoisting the trophy following the 1967-68 season.
Kane will also be looking to become the first Blackhawk to win the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the Most Outstanding Player in the league according to voters from the NHL Player’s Association. Benn is also nominated for the award, as is Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.
The Blackhawks will also be up for the first award of the evening, as Artemi Panarin is considered a favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie. Panarin scored 30 goals and dished out 47 assists in his first season in North American hockey as he combined with Kane to form arguably the best offensive duo in the entire NHL.
Panarin has some stiff competition for the award, as standout Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid are also nominees. McDavid had the third-best points-per-game rate in the NHL despite missing nearly half the season with injury, and Gostisbehere put up offensive numbers on the blue line that only Ottawa Senators stalwart Erik Karlsson was able to exceed.
If Panarin ends up winning the award, he will become the first Blackhawks player since Kane to capture the distinction.
The festivities will get underway at 6 p.m., and the awards show will air on NBCSN.