Rookie of the Year
Matt Bailey/Jordan Kwas
This choice came down to a battle of statistics for me. Is 4 goals and 20 assists somehow that much more valuable than 10 goals and 10 assists? I can't see answering that question either yes or no. So it's a Co-Rookie of the Year for me. These are two players that will have a lot to say about the level of success for the team next year. These guys are distinctly different hockey players as well, Bailey has speed and raw power where Kwas best tools are quickness and deftness with the puck. I'd imagine we might see them as linemates at some point next season.
Most Improved Player
Nine goals and eight assists a year after scoring 2g-3a? That's a dramatic improvement. Much of that improvement is due to Mitch's smarter and better skating this season. He's more direct with shorter strides and has found himself on the good side of the puck more often precisely because of that change in style. He played with confidence for a large portion of this season as well which was a noticeable change from last season.
Heart and Soul
If you don't know already, I think about Justin Johnson whenever I consider this award. J.J. had a unique intensity and energy that is mostly unattainable by your average human hockey player. So that's the standard. I loved that there was a group of players that all deserved consideration for this award but I chose Craig because every role he filled this season he did exceptionally well and he took on the mantle of quite a few. The number of draws alone that he completely stole by any means necessary. Craig was a leadership force on the ice, on the bench and no doubt in the locker room. In 37 games he went to the box for only 20 minutes. He also nearly doubled his 09-10 scoring with 8g-13a.
Most Valuable Player
Tommy led the team in scoring this season with 16g-16a in 37 games. Thirteen of those goals came in conference play which was the 7th highest total in the league. His five game winning goals was 1st highest in the league as well. That particular statistic made him a lock as the MVP in my mind. But it didn't end there. Tommy played in every situation all season long. He killed penalties and scored a shortie and on the power play he laid on 9 assists with 4 goals. He was a threat on nearly every shift in one way or another whether with his substantial speed or his hard shot. An MVP should be a guy that can raise the level of play by his teammates; Tommy did that.