Jets Nation 2013 Year-End Awards: Unsung Hero

We nominated, you voted, and the results are in. All this week Jets Nation will be revealing your reader picks with our writers’ perspectives for the 2013 Year-End Awards. Today’s award is a victory for the little guys, the underdogs. It’s a moment of celebrating the under-represented and under-appreciated. Think Stallone in the 1987 World Arm Wrestling Championships impressing a young David Mendenhall with his never-before-seen turned hat style. Sure, if you don’t care that much about the Jets, you might not even know the names nominated. But if you don’t care that much about the Jets, I can only assume you came to this site looking for travel deals for the exceptional prose. Relax your abdomen, fold toward your screen, head jutted forward and eyes fixed on the scroll below while you cheer softly to yourself, your exuberance dampened by the social padding your fandom must remain trapped inside.

Unsung Hero

Nominees: Grant Clitsome, Ron Hainsey, Kyle Wellwood, Alex Burmistrov, Charlie Huddy

Brett Martin (@brettmartinlive)

I went off board to take Bryan Little. Only on the Jets could the first line centre be an unsung hero. But on a team where the focus is on Ladd, Wheeler, Kane, Bogosian and more, Bryan Little has (somewhat quietly) proved his value to the team. With 32 points in all 48 games played (a 55 point pace for an 82 game regular season) the Jets #1 Centre held his own against top competition. While he certainly benefited by being paired with Ladd and Wheeler, he was the perfect combination of never hurt and wholly able to score a big goal, all while facing tough minutes and unideal zone starts. While Bryan Little may not be your prototypical #1 NHL Centre, he did the job for the Winnipeg Jets rather well this season.

Travis Hrubeniuk (@thrubeniuk)

There was no player hated by Jets fans more than Ron Hainsey.  It may have been his presence as the front man for the NHLPA, it may have been his contract, or it may have been his occasional glaring turnover, but I feel that Ron Hainsey was the Jets unsung hero of the season.  Fans may not have liked him, but Claude Noel sure did.  Hainsey was matched up against top lines every night and spent most of the time quietly doing his job.  He didn’t score, he didn’t hit, he didn’t fight, but he (for the most part) played a solid defensive role with an occasional hiccup.  You can’t ask much more from a guy who was forced into playing more minutes than he would be on other teams. 

Kevin McCartney (@kevinmccart)

I went with Charlie Huddy. This guy is the best defenceman coach in the league at developing a particular type of defenceman in my opinion. No one can forget how good Jan Slavik looked with the Huntington Blizzard back in ’97 under Huddy, but for our purposes, it’s his work with Zach Bogosian that deserves the most credit. Bogo was headed for an early career trade on account of not being the player he was expected to be. Pressure was mounting, packages were being offered, Bogo kept getting worse while trying to do too much. Huddy has turned him into a Jets Nation Year-End Awards winner and a cornerstone of the franchise as mean, focused, rangey shut down defender with a great outlet pass (and he brought a heavy shot with him).

I think he also deserves some credit for Clitsome’s strong season, and even Mark Stuart becoming a little more capable with Winnipeg than with Boston or Atlanta (in spite of playing through injury with random partners this year). I wouldn’t mind if Zach Redmond looked a little more like Charlie Huddy someday too. He’s my vote for Unsung Hero.

Jets Nation at Large

This was a tight race in the Nation. Brett went off-board, and votes were given to every nominee.

Your chosen winner is Charlie Huddy with 38%. Way to be, Chuck! 

Your runner-up was Grant "I get votes on my name alone" Clitsome with 29% of your vote. Hainsey got 14%, and Wellwood and Burmistrov tied for 4th with 10% of your popular vote each.



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