Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The PIPE-ies: Top Forward

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the Top Forward candidates and why they deserve your consideration.

In alphabetical order, the nominees for Top Forward of 2013-14 are...

Jonathan Drouin (Halifax Mooseheads)

Despite appearing in just 46 regular season games for the Herd, Drouin managed to earn a staggering 108 points! As if to prove that it wasn't some sort of anomaly, the Tampa Bay prospect went out and backed it up with 41 more points in only 16 playoff games. Drouin also scored 9 points for Canada at the 2014 U20 World Junior Championship in Sweden. Few would suggest there was a better 19-year old than Drouin playing anywhere on the planet outside of the NHL.

Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College Eagles)

Photo: 660 News
The landslide Hobey Baker Award winner in college hockey, Gaudreau dominated the college game with a whopping 80 points in 40 games. More impressive when you consider that that's a 15-point cushion between him and the next highest NCAA scorer. But not only did he demolish college opponents, Gaudreau suited up for the U.S. on the international stage and scored 10 points at the World Hockey Championship. Plus, wetting the appetite of Flames fans everywhere, Gaudreau appeared in one NHL game with Calgary and scored.  

Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)

Getty Images
His 63 points last year was the most by an NHL rookie since Patrick Kane's 72 in 2007-08 (Jeff Skinner also had 63) making what Nathan MacKinnon did pretty special. It was no surprise that MacKinnon was named the NHL Rookie of the Year as he outscored every other newcomer and led the Avalanche in playoff scoring as well. Along the way he also smashed the rookie point scoring streak previously held by some guy named Gretzky. 

Anthony Mantha (Val d'Or Foreurs)

Photo: Aaron Bell
If you want impressive stats then this is your man. You've heard of "point-per-game players" and those guys are pretty special. Well Mantha was a GOAL-per-game player this year which is ridiculous by comparison. Through 57 regular season games in the QMJHL, Mantha struck 57 times. In 24 playoff games...24 goals. Mantha led the entire CHL with 120 points and couple that with his amazing scoring prowess and it's no surprise that he was named the CHL Player of the Year. By the way, he also led Canada in scoring at the 2014 World Junior Championship with 11 points in 7 games. 

Parker Thomas (Selkirk Steelers)

Photo: MJHL
I'm not going to lie - I didn't see a minute of action from this 21-year-old Winnipeg product but his numbers in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League sure jump out. Thomas ended the 2013-14 campaign with 35 goals and 101 points in only 57 games. That's 24 points more than anyone else in the league was able to muster showing a remarkable ability to produce compared to the rest of the MJHL. 

We are collecting votes for the next week until Tuesday August 19th when we announce the winners of the 2014 PIPE-ies. If you want to cast your vote, let us hear it. Tweet us at @TPS_Guy and @DuckMillard and include the hashtag #TPSAwards in your vote.

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