Tonight, the statistical leaders will receive their awards. Naturally, they are already known: Vadim Shipachyov is the best scorer, Dmitrij Jaskin is the top goal-scorer, and Chris Wideman has the most points among defensemen. However, for the other players’ trophies that are voted on, only the nominees are known; the recipient will be unveiled during the ceremony itself.
The nominees for the Goalie of the Year award are Timur Bilyalov, Eddie Pasquale, and Lars Johansson.
Ak Bars’ Bilyalov entered the elite of KHL goaltending last year, when he won his first Best goalie award with his fantastic regular-season with only four regulation losses. This year, his stats went down a bit, but he was still one of the best, saving the 92.3% of the shots he faced, and posting a goals-against average of 2.23. It was only Bilyalov’s third full-time season, and it looks like he has all the chances to repeat his last year’s success.
Lokomotiv’s Pasquale was one of the most-iced goalies in the league, winning 25 games out of 41 and posting a second-place five shutouts. He also posted a 92.5 saves percentage, and his numbers were pretty much the same as they were last year, when he was stopping pucks in Kazakhstan for Barys. Moreover, Pasquale was only the second Loko goalie to win two Player of the month awards in one season.
CSKA’s Lars Johansson had his first game in the season only in October’s tail, but he posted an incredible GAA of 1.59, leading the league by a solid margin. The Swedish goalie had an impressive postseason campaign as well, with a record-breaking seven shutouts. Johansson has already won Best goalie honors in Sweden and may add extra hardware to his collection.
The nominees for the Alexei Cherepanov prize for the best rookie of the 2020-2021 season are Zakhar Bardakov, Maxim Sorkin, and Yegor Chinakhov.
Vityaz’s forward Bardakov was one of the best players for Team Russia at the 2021 World Juniors and had an interesting season with eight goals and eleven points, including a five-game scoring streak between January and February. In that span, he netted six tallies and logged average times on ice of 16 to 18 minutes.
CSKA’s Maxim Sorkin had a strong season with one of the best teams in the league, and had his best feat in the postseason when he scored the series-clinching goal in the six-game clash between CSKA and SKA.
Avangard’s Chinakhov had a tremendous season with the Hawks, being a crucial player for Bob Hartley’s attack since the start and enjoying a full-time role in the powerplay units. Chinakhov scored 17 (10+7) points in 32 regular-season games, and added another 7 (5+2) in the postseason, helping the Hawks lifting their first Gagarin Cup.
The nominees for the 2020-2021 Most Valuable Player are Damir Zhafyarov, Teemu Hartikainen, and Vadim Shipachyov.
Torpedo’s Zhafyarov had a breakout season in 2020-2021, scoring a career-high 61 (21+40) points in 58 games and ending up in third place in the scoring race behind Shipachyov and Hartikainen. He also broke Torpedo’s record for most points in a single season.
Salavat Yulaev’s Hartikainen is in the league since 2013, and has amassed 394 (173+221) points in 519 games all played for the same team. In the latest regular season, the Finnish forward had career-highs of 28 goals and 36 assists, with 64 points. Moreover, on Jan. 10, he scored four goals to Ak Bars, yet another record for Salavat Yulaev.
Dynamo Moscow’s Shipachyov was the regular season’s top scorer, with 67 (20+67) points in 57 games — that is four more points in two fewer games compared to last year’s performance. During the 2020-2021 campaign, the two-time Gagarin Cup champion was the second player in the league to surpass the 500-assist and 700-point marks.
The nominees for the 2020-2021 Coach of the Year are Andrei Razin, Bob Hartley, and Igor Nikitin.
CSKA’s Igor Nikitin led the Red Army to its third Gagarin Cup finals qualification despite losing so many leaders in the offseason. CSKA once again was the best team in the regular season and surrendered to Avangard only after six games in the grand finals.
Severstal’s Andrei Razin had a tremendous job in Cherepovets, defeating teams like Ak Bars, Avtomobilist, Avangard, Jokerit, and Metallurg in the regular season, getting Severstal back to the playoffs after three years. Moreover, Razin’s troop was the youngest team in the KHL, with an average age of 25 years.
Avangard’s Bob Hartley led the Hawks to their first Gagarin Cup triumph and further cementing his legacy as a winner. Avangard wasn’t considered a favorite in the Eastern Conference finals against Ak Bars, nor in the grand finals against CSKA, yet they delivered in both series and deservedly gifted their fans a historic victory.
During the ceremony, the following other awards will also be distributed: the Andrei Starovoitov and the Mikhail Galinovsky award (for the best head referee and linesman, respectively), the Valentin Sych award (for the best executive), the Sergei Gimayev award (for the best veteran) and the All-Star team.