There’s some good news for hockey lovers – the NHL has announced and put together the upcoming schedule, as well as the accompanying exhibition games.   The news shouldn’t have surprised many – the league has been able to stay fairly consistent with its progress.  However, in these turbulent, roller coaster times, each day can see changes in what will happen. On a lighter note, the nominees for NHL rookie and coach of the year awards are out, and the choices are solid.

NHL Countdown Now At Less Than Two Weeks

The Exhibition games will run from July 28 to July 30.  There will be three games the first day, six the second day and then three on the last day.  To get things going, hockey fans will be able to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Philly Flyers, followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadiens and then cap the night off with a game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames.

Calder Memorial Awards Nominees Are Running Hot

The 2019-20 Calder Memorial Trophy awards the player who has shown the best NHL performance and scores in his first year of competition.  There are three finalists for this award this year, all of whom look very promising.  Defenseman Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks, left wing Dominik Kubalik of the Dominik Kubalik and defenseman Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche made it to the final round.

Most likely, this is going to be a hard-fought contest.  Each player is good enough for the award and each of them has big chances of winning.

There is a noticeable rivalry between Hughes and Makar for the Calder Trophy nomination.  Each player has specific metrics and scores that put them as possible winners. Hughes reached 53 points in 68 matches and became the third defenseman since 1967 to lead all rookies in scoring.  Then, he joined the Hall of Famers.

Regarding Makar’s contributions, he is responsible for leading all rookies with 0.88 points per match, having an average of 50 points in 57 games.  He is just behind Hughes in terms of assists (38), power-play assists (15) and power-play points (19). This means that Makar is also a quite prominent player, and he has high chances of winning the competition.

Kubalik is one of the three participants who has been voted as a finalist by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.  He was chosen ahead of other players due to his outstanding performance; the vote was based on real scores and not on presumptions.  Kubalik is noted for scoring 30 goals in 68 hockey matches for the Blackhawks to lead all rookies.

The winner of this award will be made public during the conference finals. Hughes feels proud to be chosen as one of the finalists. Hughes made an important remark about this, “It means a lot. I think it’s a great honor, especially this year because there’s a lot of guys who could’ve been in the top three or so.”

Jack Adams Award For NHL Coaches Up For Grabs, As Well

There are three NHL coaches up for the 2019-2020 Jack Adams award.  The contenders are Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins, John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Alain Vigneault of the Flyers.  These three guys are head coaches for their respective teams, and this award will honor the best contribution to the team’s success.

The coaches chosen this time had previous nominations like, for instance, Cassidy, who was a finalist in 2018, and led the Bruins to the Presidents’ Trophy as the best team in the league.  Then, NHL coach Tortorella won the Jack Adams Award in 2004 when he was in charge of the Tampa Bay Lightning and in 2012 with the New York Rangers, and he has been a finalist five times already.  When it comes to Vigneault, he has had a remarkable career as a coach and is a five-time finalist as well.  Vigneault won the award back in 2007 when he was the coach of the Vancouver Canucks.  He has also achieved some other good results with the Flyers.

The NHL 2020 awards event will be an exciting moment for many, as well as mark the start of the remainder of the season.  The awards event was expected to be held on July 18 in Las Vegas, but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled on March 25.