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Dark Horse Candidate For Each VHL Trophy


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The glory and satisfaction of winning an award is something that strikes the core to all, even the ones who value team success to individual success.


It's that time of the season with the theme week taking storm in the VHL, and with this season's theme regarding the VHL Awards it's fun to see the entire league making media spots or graphics regarding each award and their thoughts on who will eventually win or deserves to win each award.


However, I thought what would be good is to go through the list of awards and at this point of the season chose a dark horse candidate who I personally believe could be argued to win based on where we are in the season or to overall be considered for some of the awards that will be presented at the end of the season.


With that being said, here is the list of some of the most coveted awards in all of the VHL and my idea of someone who might not make it, but does pique my interest and could eventually be among the shortlist.


Scotty Campbell Trophy (Most Valuable VHL Player)
Current Favourite: Gunnar Odinsson ( @BOOM)
Darkhorse Candidate: Red Lite ( @Tate)
I think all eyes are on the outstanding season Odinsson's having this season, already hitting 110 points and 50 goals with still just under a quarter of the season left to go, he could be having one of the best offensive performances in the last few seasons. Now while I would easily say he's the winner to be for the next trophy (the Slobodzian for most Outstanding), I would really take into consideration the "Most Valuable" wording of the Scotty Campbell, and that's why I'd easily say Red Lite should be considered for it.
While Odinsson is having a season to remember, it's good to take into consideration some of the other performances on the team like Brandon Telker having 105 points already as well, or Muffbeav and Jakob Sosa being in the 70's for point totals. But if you take into account that Red Lite is currently leading his team with 96 points and his next closest teammate is at 63 points, and the next after that is at 48 points? I'd say that New York would be in a very scary spot without Red Lite leading the way miles ahead of any of his other teammates AND being in the top 5 in points in the league.
If Odinsson really pulls away from everyone and has one of the best seasons in recent history, I think Odinsson should be the clear winner for most trophies he'd be eligible for and deservedly so, however if Red Lite even closes the gap by a little bit I'd think that he should be highly considered.

Brett Slobodzian Trophy (Most Outstanding VHL Player)
Current Favourite: Gunnar Odinsson ( @BOOM)
Darkhorse Candidate: Red Lite ( @Tate)
Yet again, it really is Gunnar Odinsson's trophy to lose at his point in the season being so far ahead of the pack in so many aspects. Being top of the most points in the league, most goals in the league, top 5 in most assists in the league, it's quite hard to argue that Odinsson is not deserving of this award over any other player. However, I would say the next best person for the award would lean towards Red Lite yet again.
One thing I did not touch on in the previous award is something that Red Lite does a lot better than Odinsson. And that's the 200 ft game, as being reliable and dynamic in both ends is something that really exemplifies being outstanding that goes beyond just point totals. While while 7 goals ahead and 14 points ahead compared to Red Lite, Gunnar Odinsson only has 55 hits and 21 shot blocks compared to Red Lite's 215 hits and 25 shot blocks. This would mean that Red Lite hits roughly 4 more times than Odinsson per game, and while that might not mean it results in much all the time, it does show the willingness to be physical overall which can result in offensive chances as well as defensiveness overall. And if you keep in mind as well that a lot of Gunnar Odinsson's points are coming from power-play time on a more stacked team, I think it could be argued that if the roles were reversed Red Lite could be having even more of a great season than he is already if he had better teammates around him like Odinsson.
The goal and point total gaps would really needed to be closer to have Red Lite considered for Most Outstanding, but if it comes down to very low single digits for either, I think Red Lite's two-way game pushes him towards the more outstanding between the two.
Aidan Shaw Trophy (Best VHL Goaltender)
Current Favourite: Artem Tretiak ( @Molholt) or Zamboni Driver ( @Tape-to-Tape)
Darkhorse Candidate: Kevin Malone ( @WentzKneeFan036)
This one I think is an all out race to the finish between Artem Tretiak and Zamboni Driver for who will win the best VHL goaltender award, as they are both having phenomenal seasons in their own right. Tretiak is currently in the running to get the trophy if you value having more wins and more shutouts than the other, or Zamboni would be in the running to win if you value having a better goals against average, definitely seeing how both have the same save percentage at this point in the season.
But one other starting goaltender in the league is having a great season, and that is DC Dragons goaltender Kevin Malone. It's quite easy to say that DC might not near be where they are without him, as you can easily see that DC's roster compared to Riga's and Malmo's is quite noticeable, with the two latter teams having a lot more top end talent and depth for their forward and defender cores. Yet with that being said, Malone is still in the top 10 for both wins and save percentage, and currently ahead of both in regards to that save percentage statistic. This all while also being at a lower TPE, by over 200 compared to both of them.
While it could be a long-shot, I think if Malone stacks more wins and keeps the similar save percentage all while leading DC to be in the top of the North American Conference, we could see quite the unexpected winner of the best VHL goaltender.
Sterling Labatte Trophy (Best Overall VHL Defenceman)
Current Favourite: Alex Letang ( @Spartan)
Darkhorse Candidate: Victor Grachev ( @KaleebtheMighty)
This is another situation where the best defenceman is quite hard to argue this year, with Alex Letang fully pulling away and already hitting the 100 point milestone in the season with still a good bunch of games left to be played, and that barrier being only cracked a handful of times by defencemen in the past 5 seasons, however there's one defenceman that has risen out of nowhere on the defenceman leaderboards and should get a shot for the award if the gap gets closed more and more.
Victor Grachev I don't believe was in the top 10 for points for defenceman in the league the last time I checked a few sims ago, and now all of a sudden Grachev has cracked the top 3 that was seemingly held by Alex Letang, Kristof Welch, and Robin Galante Nilsson for quite some time this season. And not only did Grachev crack it, but he's done it while being one of the best two-way defencemen in the entire VHL. While Letang might have the point totals, Grachev is making up for by having 26 goals compared to Letang's 18 goals all while having similar hits and shot-blocking totals as Letang. If Grachev continues this remarkable pace of gaining points while still being a beast in his own end, and if he somehow catches up to Letang's point totals we could see a lot more of an argument on who is the top defenceman overall in the league.
I'm quite unsure on where Grachev was on the leaderboards for defencemen at the mid-way point of the season, as maybe I just missed him on the list or if he had a stunning past week of simming, but I was beyond shocked to see him pop up in the top 3 and not being just a run of the mill offensive defenceman. Either way, I think if Grachev is within 5 points of Letang while having the lead on goals (definitely if he cracks the 30 goal mark), I think we could see a shocker at the award ceremony.
Dustin Funk Trophy (Most Improved Player)
Current Favourite: Gunnar Odinsson ( @BOOM)
Darkhorse Candidate: Pistil Stamen ( @DMaximus)
Now this one is a tough one, as I think it's a very, very slim chance that anyone other than Gunnar is going to be winning the most improved player seeing as he's having one of the best seasons in quite awhile overall in the VHL, but I think some recognization should be given more to Pistil Stamen as he's having quite the similar situation as Odinsson.
If you look at the history of both Gunnar Odinsson and Pistil Stamen, you'll see quite the similarities. For Odinsson, his previous season had him at 21 goals and 22 assists in 70 games and the season before that 34 goals and 36 assists in 72 games. And for Pistil Stamen, his previous season had him at 20 goals and 18 assists in 72 games and the season before that 37 goals and 39 assists in 72 games. Very eerily similar situations where the players have had a down year gap between their last almost point-per-game season, and now having a stellar season overall. However, I would take note that Pistil Stamen is currently stuck as the 2C on his team while Gunnar Odinsson is the bonafide top line winger on his team.
While I think it'll be quite the longshot for anyone else besides Gunnar Odinsson to win the Most Improved, I think the next closest in line to be considered would be Pistil knowing the similar situations of their previous seasons to Odinsson all while being on the second line on their team compared to the first line. The point gap would have to be tightened a lot more for Pistil to get the chance, but never say never.
Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy (Top VHL Rookie)
Current Favourite: Jerome Reinhart ( @MexicanCow123) or Tyler Reinhart ( @Zetterberg)
Darkhorse Candidate: Papa Emeritus ( @Beketov)
I think everyone knows that this season's rookie race is between the two dynamic Reinhart brothers, and who will pull forward in the race with the season nearing it's end and the point totals only being off by a tad and one good sim for either one of them could be the difference maker and award winning decisive decision.
However, I'd like to take note of one other under the radar player that I think deserves a mention, and although this would be quite the darkhorse candidate, it wouldn't be right if I didn't mention it. I believe Papa Emeritus, who has been under 400 TPE up until recently, has been playing very well in Moscow this season. Despite not being the starting goaltender, Papa Emeritus has suited up for 21 games, and has a record of 4-6-4. Now you might be thinking, "Well, that's not a good look for a goaltender, let alone a backup. Why would the ghoul master himself be near considered for Top Rookie?" Well that my friend is due to the advanced stats. Papa has currently a .929 Save Percentage as well as 3 Goals Against Average. And if you take this into account against the rest of the league, that puts Papa in the top 3 for Save Percentage and top 10 for Goals Against Average. And even when you factor in other similar players who are backing up, Papa has exceedingly more Time on Ice compared to them which is the thing that piques my interest the most.
Although it'd be a hell of a longshot (Sorry Bek) to win the trophy, I think that Papa is an amazing young player that Moscow is going to being using as a starter as soon as next season and will be reaping the rewards of having him on the team without a doubt.
David Knight Trophy (Top VHL General Manager)
Current Favourite: Bana @Banackock or Chris "The Inactive" Hylands @hylands
Darkhorse Candidate: Gustav @GustavMattias
At this point in the season, it really can be a toss up between many teams on completely re-tooling their teams to make them into top contenders in the entire league. For example, if you look at Seattle's acquisitions in the off-season, they brought in several over point-per-game players in Andrew Su and Valtteri Vaakanainen or if you look to EU Conference and see that Malmo is currently on top of the entire conference and the entire league in standings lead by charge by their main new player Gunnar Odinsson or new star defenceman Scotty Kaberle. These teams have completely built up their team without having to sacrifice too much value, and in return they are now some of the scariest teams in the league.
With that being said, I think one team that some people had their eye on at the start of the season and may have been a bit below expectations but still on pace for being exceedingly better than last season and finally having a good core to build around, and that team is Davos. Finally being able to see a playoff berth on the horizon if they stay on this course, Davos might be able to see the post-season for the first time in over 5 seasons. And this is due to General Manager Gustav making some key trades before the season started, bringing in players like Patrik Laine and Marshall James Frostbeard to round out their core on both ends of the ice, and also acquiring Addison McLaren during the infamous Toronto Fire Sale. While these moves might not have been as rewarding as the ones mentioned above with Seattle and Malmo, I still think Gustav should get some recognition for making Davos into a playoff team despite their window being quite small with the core regressing already.
If Davos keeps up this pace and eventually does make the playoffs and isn't just a first round exit, I would think Gustav has a relatively good chance of being in the top running for the award.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on some long-shot players/people for some of the awards at the end of the season, and my apologies if I passed up on you for a specific award I touched on. There are more players/people that I think are deserving of each of the awards above, but I wanted to narrow it down to one specific one.
Cheers and best wishes for everyone for the rest of the season and for the upcoming award show!
(2514 words, claiming for weeks ending in 8/22, 8/29, 9/5, and 9/12)
Edited by Juice
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2 minutes ago, Juice said:

lthough it'd be a hell of a longshot (Sorry Bek

No need to apologize, it's definitely not happening. I'm keeping my eyes on next season for a potential Stolzy. Still probably unlikely but if I start 10 games or less this season I'm still eligible.

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