SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 5: Dmitry Kulikov #7 is congratulated by Sean Bergenheim #20 and Brian Campbell #51 of the Florida Panthers after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals on December 5, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
The 2011-12 Florida Panthers finished with the second highest point total in team history, most in the post-lockout era. The Cats went 38-26-18, finishing with the team's first division title, placing them as the third seed in the Eastern Conference and their first playoff berth in ten seasons.
So as you might guess, this was a wild and fun year. With the Panthers playing their first postseason game on Friday, twelve years to the day of the beginning of their last playoff series, we here at Litter Box Cats thought it high time to name our mock award winners for the 2011-12 season.
LBC's 2011-12 Team Awards
Hart (Team MVP): Brian Campbell
It's tough to see how this team would be without Campbell. He's been making an on-ice case to be the captain since game one by playing in every game and playing with the most ice time in the NHL. His powerplay skills crafted the Panthers from 13.11% last season, to 18.53%, making him the Panthers leader in assists with 49, the closest was Stephen Weiss at 37. Making his season more memorable was his six penalty minutes, his last penalty being called on February 17th, a slashing call on Capitals forward (and former teammate) Troy Brouwer.
Vezina (Best Goaltender): Jose Theodore
Jose Theodore signed a $3 Million contract for two seasons, choosing Florida because Dale Tallon promised him more ice time. Earning the trust of Kevin Dineen, Theodore took over the number one role and became the Panthers best and most consistent goaltender. He finished the season with his fourth highest career save percentage and fifth best career goals against average.
Norris (Best Defenseman): Jason Garrison
Garrison owes most of his next paycheck to Brian Campbell. His career season set a new franchise record in goals by a defensemen, thanks to his amazing chemistry with Campbell. While his offensive numbers are impressive, it's his defense that gets him the award. Garrison leads the Panthers in plus/minus, while playing the opposing team's best players. He also leads defensemen in On-Ice Corsi, On-Ice Team Save Percentage, and Relative Corsi.
Selke (Best Defensive Forward): Stephen Weiss
If Weiss were playing on a team with a star center, he would be a second line center/penalty killer that can score goals. On the Panthers, he's the star center that gets powerplay time as well as penalty killing time. Weiss is tied with Marcel Goc for the lead in plus/minus for Panthers forwards, second on the team, and leads Panther forwards in one-ice shooting percentage.
"Winners" were selected through a poll of LBC's writers. So what do you think? Who was the MVP, who was the best defensive forward, who was the Panthers best defensemen? Did Scott Clemmensen steal the Vezina in the final weeks? Let us know in the comments below.