• Drew Weber

TTG Presents Hockey's End of the Decade Awards



The 2010s will end at midnight tonight, so we at Teal Tinted Glasses thought it would be nice to give out some awards to the best (and worst) players, staff members, and moments of the decade. I'm joined by my fellow panelists Ian Reid (@IanBlogsHockey) and Hockey Jerk (@hockey_jerk) for this special article.

PLAYER OF THE DECADE


Drew: Alexander Ovechkin

Ovechkin may not have the points-per-game totals that players like Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane have, but he is unquestionably the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. He’s tallied 412 goals over the last ten seasons—80 more than the next closest person—and won the Rocket Richard trophy six times in that same span. And to add one more cherry on top of this: If you adjusted for era, Ovechkin has already scored more goals (792) than Wayne Gretzky (758) in 377 fewer games (per Andrew Berkshire).

Worst Player of the Decade: Nail Yakupov

Ian: Sidney Crosby

I really struggled with this one, Patrick Kane was an absolute force for the Blackhawks leading to three Stanley Cup victories, and he lead the league with 754 points this decade. But, Crosby got the edge for me for a couple of reasons. First, the points-per-game ratio is off the chart. Crosby has 727 points despite playing only 589 games—that’s 108 fewer games than the leading Kane and 137 fewer than third place Ovechkin. While Kane may have one more cup over the last decade, I’m also going to give Crosby the edge for his back-to-back Conn Smythe trophies. You don’t have to like him, but the numbers do not lie. 

Worst Player of the Decade: Nail Yakupov

Jerk: Sidney Crosby

This one was tough at first but ended up being a slam dunk. It was a debate between him, Ovechkin, and Kane. But, Crosby has scored a ridiculous amount of points in not a whole lot of games compared to the people around him. Not only that, but he’s continued to play at a high level despite suffering a concussion in two consecutive games back in 2011 and having a revolving door of linemates over the last ten years. Oh yeah, and in this decade he’s got two Stanley Cups, two Olympic Gold Medals, a World Cup Championship, a World Hockey Championship, two Conn Smythes, a Hart Trophy, an Art Ross Trophy, a Richard Trophy, two Ted Linday Awards, a Mark Messier award, All Star and World Cup MVP, and seven times was either a first or second team all star.

Worst Player of the Decade: Nail Yakupov


GOALTENDER OF THE DECADE:


Drew: Tuukka Rask

I went back and forth between Rask and Henrik Lundqvist but ultimately took consistency over peaks and small valleys. Among goaltenders with over 200 starts this decade, Rask ranks second in save percentage and goals against average (both behind Ben Bishop) while posting a .920 SV% or better in four of his five playoff runs. The 2014 Vezina Trophy winner was also the only top-tier goaltender to have a positive goals saved above average stat in each season, which uses shot quality metrics to determine how many goals they stopped or let in compared to a league-average netminder.

Worst Goaltender of the Decade: Cam Ward

Ian: Pekka Rinne

Picking a goaltender of the decade is incredibly difficult. You have goaltenders who have won multiple cups but completely fell off a cliff by the end of the decade because of injury and team quality. For me, I decided to look for consistency, and that lead me to Pekka Rinne. Sure, he has not backstopped the Predators to a Stanley Cup victory, but maintaining a .919 save percentage over a decade is no small feat. The Predators have had many looks over the decade, but one thing that you could almost always count on was that Pekka Rinne would be able to keep them in a hockey game. 

Worst Goaltender of the Decade: Antti Niemi 

Jerk: Marc-Andre Fleury

I am anticipating getting a lot of heat for this one, but the numbers don’t lie with him. Most wins in the last decade, third in shutouts (42), he’s near the top in both GAA and save percentage, and has been a model of consistency despite getting older and seeing his workload fluctuate—especially over the last five years. He’s also proven to be worthy of some Hart Trophy votes, which is especially intriguing for a goalie. Two Stanley Cups, an Olympic gold medal, and a four time (soon to be five time) all star. He was the best netminder of the last ten years.

Worst Goaltender of the Decade: Ondrej Pavelec


COACH OF THE DECADE:


Drew: Barry Trotz

This might be recency bias, but the difference Barry Trotz makes on a team is incredible. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals, he went to a struggling New York Islanders organization (that just lost John Tavares) and turned them into a legitimate threat through a sound defensive system. Trotz’s teams over the decade have ranked top-two in goals against four times and have only missed the playoffs twice. Some coaches blend in to their teams, but Trotz makes a noticeable impact.

Worst Coach of the Decade: Mike Babcock

Ian: Gerard Gallant

I appreciate that this pick won’t make me many friends, but it’s hard to argue with the immediate impact he has had on the teams he has coached over the past decade. Although the team didn’t make the playoffs in his first year in Florida (2014-15), they posted a 25 point improvement under Gallant. The following season, the team earned a franchise record 103 points before losing a seven game series to the New Jersey Devils. He would be fired just 20 games into the 2016-17 campaign, and while his team was just under .500 at the time, the move had more to due with team politics than his actual performance. His next job would be coaching the expansion Golden Knights. While many at the time panned this team's chances at success, we all know what happened next. 

Worst Coach of the Decade: Michel Therrien 

Jerk: Joel Quenneville

Prior to 2010, Chicago was in the dumpster. Like Ottawa Senators bad in the dumpster. Then Q came in with an okay (at best) coaching record and helped them win three Stanley Cups as well as three Central Division titles and a President’s Trophy. He has 890 career wins, 355 of which came in the 2010s (for reference, he started coaching in 1996), and is second to Scotty Bowman in the category. I’m not sure how he never won a Jack Adams award, especially in 2013 or 2015. He also has a sick duster and once grabbed his dick at a referee. Legend.

Worst Coach of the Decade: Joe Sacco


GM of the Decade:


Drew: David Poile

David Poile is the only general manager the Nashville Predators have ever had, and with good reason. In the 2010s, he managed to bring Mike Fisher, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Calle Jarnkrok, P.K. Subban, and Kyle Turris into the organization via trades—many of them being absolute steals. He also did a good job of keeping his team’s salary cap situation in the green, even after signing a big-name player like Matt Duchene. It’s clear Poile isn’t afraid to make moves in order to address any issues with his roster. He’ll give you the tools to win, you just have to go in and execute. That’s what a good GM should do.

Worst GM of the Decade: Peter Chiarelli

Ian: David Poile

It’s hard to really add to what Drew said without just repeating almost everything he has said. It’s rare to find a balance between being able to make blockbuster trades while managing to maintain a stocked cupboard, but Poile has put on a master class in this regard.


Worst GM of the Decade: Brian Burke

Jerk: David Poile

I’m not sure what more I can say. When you’re in a non-traditional market, winning is everything, and even though Nashville’s had their fair share of bad seasons, Poile has always given them a chance to be competitive, especially with the trades and signings he’s made. He’s also been on the staff that has produced a stupid amount of above average NHL defenseman.

Worst GM of the Decade: Paul Fenton


TRADE OF THE DECADE:


Drew: The Seth Jones / Ryan Johansen deal

If you interpret this category as the trade that worked out best for both teams, then it’s hard to argue against this deal. It was a solid hockey trade that gave the Nashville Predators the first-line center they needed while sending Columbus a young top-tier defenseman who will be a staple on their blue line for years to come. It was a trade that made sense, and it was a trade that panned out for both clubs.

Worst Trade of the Decade: Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson

Ian: The Ryan O’Reilly / Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, Tage Thompson, 2019 First Round Pick (Ryan Johnson), 2021 Second Round Pick deal

I really debated if I would regain some point lost with my pick of Gerard Gallant by choosing the trade that brought Brent Burns to San Jose. However, and although it may be recency bias, but I couldn’t ignore the Ryan O’Reilly trade. There was a point in the season where this trade looked terrible for the Blues as they started the 2019 calendar year dead last in the league before one of the more epic season turnarounds in the history of the league. O'Reilly was a huge part of that turn around winning the Conn Smythe and earning the Blues the first Stanley Cup in their 52 year history. 

Worst Trade of the Decade: Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson 

Jerk: The Marian Gaborik / Matt Frattin, Two Second Round Picks deal

Los Angeles was struggling to score goals, so they went out and picked up a proven stud scorer. Not only did they give up very little for a player of his caliber, but he was an immediate impact right away, scoring 16 points in 19 regular season games. Then (as Sharks fans know) he was the leading goal scorer for them en route to their second Stanley Cup, often times being the reason they stayed alive in certain games. In spite of the injury plagued finish to his career, he still proved to be an effective player for the Kings and cost very little to get.

Worst Trade of the Decade: Rene Bourque, William Karlsson, and a second round pick for James Wisniewski


Highlight of the Decade:


Drew: Braden Holtby’s Save on Alex Tuch

To preserve a 3 - 2 lead with under two minutes left in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, Braden Holtby makes this miraculous stop on Alex Tuch. If Vegas tied the game, who knows how the series would have ended up.


Worst Highlight of the Decade: Sidney Crosby’s golden goal (go USA!)

Ian: Team North America Stuns Sweden (MacKinnon Scores in OT)

I realize that this is a little off the board as this didn’t happen in an NHL game, but my loophole is the tournament was run by the NHL. When the idea for Team North America was announced, it (like the tournament itself) was pretty universally panned. It would, however, end up being one of the things people remember most about the tournament. In one of the best games of hockey ever played, Team North America beat a very good Swedish team in overtime, courtest of this Nathan MacKinnon goal.



Worst Highlight of the Decade: When there was no highlights in the late part of 2012 because of an NHL labour disruption. Also, this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VV1PrbkK3E.

Jerk: Gregory Campbell breaks leg blocking slap shot, still kills penalty

Boston would ultimately lose the Stanley Cup to Chicago, but Campbell breaking his leg and continuing to kill a penalty is the personification of doing what it takes to win, and it served as something for Boston to rally around during that series. The crowd also chanted his name and gave him a standing ovation. How often does a fourth line center get that?



Worst Highlight of the Decade: Kings @ Sharks Game 7, April 30, 2014


GAME OF THE DECADE:


Drew: San Jose Sharks vs. Vegas Golden Knights, Round 1, Game 7 (2019)

Not only did Vegas have a 3 - 1 lead in the series. Not only did Vegas have a 3-0 lead in the third period. Not only did Joe Pavelski leave the game with a head injury. Not only did the Sharks score four goals on a five-minute power play. Not only did Jonathan Marchessault tie it back up with under a minute remaining. But fourth line center Barclay Goodrow also scored the series-winning goal in overtime in front of an electrified San Jose crowd. The perfect story.

Worst Game of the Decade: USA vs. Finland, 2019 Women’s World Championship Gold Medal (game was great, but the controversy was heartbreaking)

Ian: San Jose Sharks vs. Vegas Golden Knights, Round 1, Game 6 (2019)

Look, Game 7 is the game Sharks fans will remember most fondly. But in order to get to Game 7, the Sharks had to win Game 6. This game was a war that ended in double overtime. Martin Jones played easily his best game in teal, posting 58 saves, and Tomas Hertl scored the winner shorthanded. Sure, it didn’t end the series—and sure recency bias—but no game has had me on the edge of my seat like Game 6. 

Worst Game of the Decade: This again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VV1PrbkK3E.

Jerk: San Jose Sharks vs. Vegas Golden Knights, Round 1, Game 7 (2019)

Ian is 100 percent right that to get to Game 7 the Sharks needed to win Game 6, and Game 6 was a hell of a game to watch. But very rarely do you see a team not only rally around their captain getting his head busted open, but also being so pissed off that they score four goals in four minutes. A majority of this game was a disaster for the Sharks, but the power play and overtime made the whole game. Even if it was some other team who pulled the comeback off, it would still be hyped and talked about as a game of the decade.

Worst Game of the Decade: Again, Kings @ Sharks Game 7, April 30 2014


STANLEY CUP FINAL OF THE DECADE:


Drew: Boston vs. Vancouver (2011)

This Stanley Cup Final had everything you could want: Two physical teams, off-ice trash talking, and a Game 7 that resulted in downtown Vancouver getting burned to the ground for the second time in 20 years. It was a drama-filled two weeks, the likes of which we haven’t seen since.

Worst Stanley Cup Final of the Decade: Los Angeles vs. New Jersey, 2012

Ian: Chicago vs. Tampa Bay (2015)

The only thing that would have made this series better is if goaltender Ben Bishop would have been healthy. This series was the moment where many thought the torch was going to be passed from one dynasty to another. Apparently, Chicago didn’t get the memo as they would win the series in six games. This would be the end of Chicago’s run and Tampa would never recover to get their own run started. It was a fun series, though, and maybe the most invested I have been in a Stanley Cup Final that didn’t include the Sharks. 

Worst Stanley Cup Final of the Decade: Los Angeles vs. New Jersey, 2012

Jerk: Boston vs St. Louis (2019)

A solid, hard hitting, back-and-forth series that went the distance and created some hatred that we don’t often see between two teams in opposite conferences. We also saw some unlikely faces step up when push came to shove, and this appears to be the start of the St. Louis Blues dynasty (who would’ve imagined that).

Worst Stanley Cup Final of the Decade: LA vs New Jersey, 2012


TEAM OF THE DECADE:


Drew: Chicago Blackhawks

Since January 1, 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks have earned three Stanley Cups, eight playoff appearances, three division championships, one President’s Trophy, and twelve individual NHL awards. Their dominance created a new definition of dynasty in the post-salary cap era and set the bar for what it means to be an elite team. Their second half of the decade may not have been as strong as the first five years, but that’s to be expected when you had as much success as they did.

Worst Team of the Decade: Edmonton Oilers

Ian: Pittsburgh Penguins

Chicago may seem like the obvious choice here as they won more cups than anyone else over the decade and looked pretty convincing doing it. I would argue, though, that no team has been more consistent over the last ten years than the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins have accumulated more points in the standings than any other team, they have the second most playoff wins second only to the Bruins. No one has scored more goals in both the regular season or postseason than the Penguins.  Their special teams have also been consistent with the second best power play and third best penalty kill over that span. Add the two Stanley Cup banners and the numbers really speak for themselves, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the team of the decade. 

Worst Team of the Decade: Buffalo Sabres 

Jerk: Chicago Blackhawks

Everything Drew said. Literally. All the cups, division titles, and individual awards speak for themselves. But what’s equally—if not more—impressive is how Stan Bowman navigated the salary cap in order to keep that team competitive for so long. It was very much a situation where you cut one head off and two more will take its place (Hail Hydra!), while continuing to produce so many good, young players despite seemingly never having a first-round pick

Worst Team of the Decade: Buffalo Sabres

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