Here’s how I voted on the Kings’ end-of-season awards:
Team MVP: Dustin Brown. I thought he elevated his play tremendously this season. The coaches challenged him to be a 30-goal scorer, and that’s exactly what he became. He’s not the most dynamic player, but he has come a LONG way from when he was the 18-year-old kid who just skated around and hit people. Anze Kopitar and Alexander Frolov are strong runners-up.
Outstanding defenseman: Jack Johnson. In my mind, it was 51-49 in favor of Johnson over Rob Blake. I don’t know what else to say. With all respect to the talents of these NHL players, I wouldn’t say any of them were “outstanding” this season.
Top defensive player: Patrick O’Sullivan. He completely reinvented himself this season and started the season as an energy-line player and a penalty-killer. Who knew he could do it? After he thrived there, he played himself into a top-six role and he now has a minus-7 rating.
Top newcomer: Jack Johnson. Again, this isn’t because he was particularly brilliant, although it’s wise to remember that he’s only 20 years old and this was his first season playing anything other than college hockey. Brad Stuart probably would have received my vote here had he not been traded.
I know there’s a lot of differing opinion on these categories, so feel free to rip my picks!