Every two weeks from now until the end of the season, theScore will examine the leading candidates for five of the NHL Awards.
Despite a seven-game goal drought, Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in assists with 26 and has nine points in his last eight contests. His 35 points in 27 games rank second in the NHL.
If the Penguins remain near the top of the Eastern Conference and Crosby continues at his traditional pace, it's his award to lose.
Honorable mention: Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin should be the favorite here, but with the Stars floundering near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, he may not get the consideration he richly deserves. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos is keeping himself in the discussion with 11 points in his last nine games.
The 32-year-old continues to lead the pack among goaltenders in the early going. Rinne shut out the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday and leads all qualified starting netminders with a 1.81 goals-against average, a save percentage of .934 and 18 wins.
Honorable mention: Over the last two weeks, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has a GAA of 1.52 and a save percentage of .931. Quick has lost two games in a row, but they were each by a one-goal margin. He has allowed three goals in his last three contests, which included a shutout of the Boston Bruins.
The Jets hold the first wild-card spot in the West after finishing 11th in the conference last season and no one was expecting them to be this good. Well, except maybe general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who signed Maurice to a four-year extension last April.
Honorable mention: Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley will get consideration if they can stay in the playoff picture, Jack Capuano's New York Islanders are still among the NHL's most improved teams and Florida Panthers bench boss Gerard Gallant will garner support if they continue to inch closer to a postseason position.
Giordano continues to maintain his point-per-game pace, scoring a goal and adding four assists in his last five games. He has 29 points in 29 contests.
Honorable mention: Chicago Blackhawks blue-liner Duncan Keith isn't on pace to match his 61-point total from a season ago when he won the award, but he remains as steady as ever. Keith has 18 points in 28 games, logging nearly 26 minutes a night while posting the fourth-highest Corsi For percentage at even-strength among qualified (and healthy) defensemen, according to War-On-Ice.
The 20-year-old got off to a hot start and hasn't slowed down. He now has 27 points in 27 games and continues to lead all rookies in scoring. His 12 goals are the best in the NHL among the class and he's still benefiting from playing alongside James Neal and Mike Ribeiro on the Predators' top line.
Honorable mention: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad would have the inside track for this award if not for Forsberg's hot start. Only veterans Brian Campbell and Willie Mitchell have spent more time on the ice than Ekblad among Panthers players this season. The 18-year-old has 18 points in 26 games, including seven in his last five.