We nominated, you voted, and the results are in. All this week we’ll be revealing your reader picks with our writers’ perspectives for the Jets Nation 2013 Year-End Awards. From the obvious (Claude Noel for Best Hockey Dad) to the obscene ([redacted]), the Nation has spoken on who gets the virtual hardware. Today, we begin with the Jets’ Best Forward.
Brett Martin (@brettmartinlive)
Best Forward? It’s a no-brainer for me, which is good, because thinking can become tiresome at times. My choice is Andrew Ladd by a country mile, or, rural kilometre for you patriotic readers.
Andrew Ladd displayed every quality you’d want from a Captain. He was a presence every night – one of the few Jets you could rely on showing up to each game. He’s matured to become the kind of player that can and will drag his teammates by the scruff of their neck and take their games to the next level. Blake Wheeler didn’t quite mesh with Evander Kane, but when he played with Ladd, they had more chemistry than a meth lab. The not-so-secret ingredient to the top lines success was always the Captain.
Oh, and he was the leading scorer, too. Prior to this year, Ladd had been the kind of player that you could rely on to play 60 minutes of hard hockey all over the ice, while chipping in on the score sheet at a relatively modest pace. But this year, he exploded offensively, which was a wonderful development. With the way he plays, I don’t think we’ll see too much, if any, regression of his point totals in the years to come.
Best of all? On garbage day, he called not making the playoffs "a failure". That’s winner talk, right there. I love this guy. I don’t think anybody has higher expectations for the Jets than Ladd does, which is fortunate for all of us.
He’s the Jets’ best forward, and we’re lucky to have a guy who’ll put his all into bringing his 3rd Cup, and our 1st, to Winnipeg in the not so distant future.
Travis Hrubeniuk (@thrubeniuk)
For the top forward category I voted for Andrew Ladd. It really was no contest in my opinion. He was a leader of the team both statistically and emotionally all season long, leading the team in points, assists, plus/minus, relative corsi (excluding Peluso’s small sample size) and was second in goals – all while facing the opposing team’s top line night in and night out. He’s been named an assistant captain for Team Canada at the upcoming World Championship and was a leader all year for the Jets. No question, it was Andrew Ladd.
Kevin McCartney (@kevinmccart)
YOU! The reader! (@ the lake, probably)
You get the final say despite our consensus!
And you say… (drum roll…) Andrew Ladd! with a whopping 89% of your vote.
Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane tied for second, and Bryan Little got zero love from you folks. I trust the Nation has done Jets management a great service in really sticking it to him in the awards voting after a contract year. But I have to admit, it will be hard to look into his innocent blue eyes next year (pictured left).
Check back all week for your other award winners! Best Defenceman, Unsung Hero, Best Young Player outside the NHL, MVP, and the Goat still to come.
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