Cutest Couple: Slapfight! Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly
The term may have run its course, but let's hope the pairing hasn't. Matt Duchene had 33 of his 44 even strength points with O'Reilly; for Radar it was 27 of his 38, but he also got some After Duchenekneeinjury (A.D.) games that Matt didn't. In total, Duchene notched a point in 37 of O'Reilly's 61 points. O'Reilly was in on 38 of Duchene's 70.
Duchene doesn't have a long enough career to really show this effect yet, but there's some out there (you can count me as an optimist here) that believe he can set up his linemates for scoring chances at an elevated rate. That shows up in an on-ice shooting percentage above normal sustained over a few years. That had better turn out, because it's the impending O'Reilly deal's best chance to be an accurate value as far as I'm concerned.
Well and plus I mean they do things like this so for heaven's sake keep em together.
(numbers from hockey-reference.com's scoring logs and stats.hockeyanalysis.com's WOWY pages)
Best Outsider: Nick Holden
Originally this was going to be Best Newcomer, but there's just no argument that MacKinnon is the best Newcomer and he already got his award, don't be fuckin greedy. So we're giving this one to Nick Holden.
"It's a Lake Erie signing," we said. "It's a depth signing," we said. "The D will continue to be terrible but at least they've shored up the farm club some," we said. And the year began and Roy chose Guenin over Holden, the former earning a headscratchingly early contract extension, and the latter eating nachos until he got his chance.
How many times did you see this play: Colorado have the puck, the unit has actually set up for once, they start moving the puck around but not seemingly dangerously, but then in creeping on the far side comes a defenseman, the puck slips to him through the slot and PEW PEW PEW PEW! or maybe the goalie makes the save but a forward crashing for the rebound is ready and THEN PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW!
Because that's Nick Holden's bread and butter. He only scored twice on the power play, but he shot over 15%. (Yes that's stupidly high but it's also over 66 shots so not exactly precise either.) Defensemen don't do that from the point. They do it with a pinch.
He is not the fastest skater, he is going to take obnoxious penalties as a result. But he is a very intelligent hockey player. He knows when to pinch, and he can make good from the door step. That's an element the defense was missing last season. It's an offensive pop that is different from Tyson Barrie's. He's not going to kill you with howitzers or Bobby Orr his way through the neutral zone, but once possession is actually established, he has a knack for knowing where to be, and when, and when not, to get his team a goal. He did it 10 times. Here's to more next year.
Apologies to Alex Tanguay, who would have won this one semi-ironically had he not had an unfortunate flare-up of his bonitis.
Honorable mention: c6hor8's recaps were my favorite addition to MHH this year.
Best Dressed: Patrick Bordeleau
Boy did he wear this GIF well. Confused Roy is a really close second for a GIF of the Year award but there's just no way you aren't looking at your winner right here, from the Avs' brunch/fashion show/whatever:
Thanks to MHH regular Patattack for bringing down the house with this one. It was a hell of a season. Thank Sakic we were able to post this in celebration more often than not.