Bryan Murray hired MacLean last summer after the club finished in the bottom five under former coach Cory Clouston.
He was able to breathe some new life into the club this year. after they were left for dead by prognosticators prior to the season.
The Senators surprised everyone when they qualified for the playoffs, and improved by 18 points over last season’s totals.
Much of the credit goes to MacLean, but it didn’t hurt him to have NHL calibre goaltending all season long, something last years squad was not afforded.
Spezza finished fourth in league scoring, and posted the highest numbers of his career since the club reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007.
MacLean should also be given a lot of credit for the speedy maturation of Karlsson who put up astronomical numbers this season, and garnered a nomination for the Norris Trophy.
The Swedish rear guard scored 78 points this year; blowing away the next highest scoring defenseman by 25 points.
Karlsson was also the first defenseman in over 20 seasons to finish in the top 10 in scoring which is obviously no small feat.
The only knock on Karlsson’s game is his play without the puck, but I believe that his +16 rating should be enough to put him over the top, and win the award.
Daniel Alfredsson was nominated for the Masterton Award that is given each year to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Alfredsson had a renaissance of sorts this season as he put up 59 points, scored his 400 goal and his 1000 point of his NHL career, and winning the Masterton would be the icing on the cake of what many believe could be the Senators captain’s final season.