2011-12 Blues Fan Choice Award Winners
With thousands of votes submitted, the results are in and are listed below.
For the second consecutive year, David Backes takes home the top honor in the Blues Fan Choice Awards. This season, the Blues captain played in all 82 games, picking up 24 goals (a team high) and 30 assists. His 54 points are tied for first on the team with T.J. Oshie. Backes also earned a plus-15 rating, good for sixth on the team.
Backes recorded over 200 hits for the fifth consecutive season and was one of just three players with over 225 hits and 20 goals (the others were the Kings' Dustin Brown and Rangers' Ryan Callahan).
Backes has either won this award or finished as the runner up in all four years of Blues Fan Choice Awards voting.
It makes perfect sense that the team's MVP might also be its best forward, and that's the case here with David Backes.
Tied for the team lead in points with 54, Backes continually puts forth a strong effort every night as the team's captain and first-line center.
Just one year removed from his first NHL All-Star Game, the 28-year-old is emerging as a good candidate for this award for years to come.
For the second consecutive season, the Blues Fan Choice Award for Best Defenseman goes to Alex Pietrangelo. He has just two seasons of experience in the League and already looks like a seasoned veteran. He played in 81 games last season, notching 12 goals and 39 assists for 51 points, which is just three points shy of the team points lead. He set new career-highs in points, goals, assists, power play goals (6) and game-winning goals (6).
He became the youngest defenseman in club history to register back-to-back 40 point seasons as well as just the second to post at least six game-winning goals and six power play goals in the same season (the first was Al MacInnis). The 22-year-old defenseman is likely going to be the odds-on favorite for this award for years to come, and he may even be a favorite for the League's Norris Trophy in the not too-distant future.
Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka takes the award for the team's Unsung Hero, which is given to a player that consistently contributes to his team yet doesn't seem to get the credit he deserves.
Sobotka picked up 20 points in 73 games last season (5 goals and 15 assists) and earned a career-high plus-12 rating.
BIGGEST SURPRISE - BRIAN ELLIOTT
Runner Up: Ken Hitchcock
It's funny...the winner of the Biggest Surprise Award really shouldn't be surprising at all: goaltender Brian Elliott led the NHL in goals-against average (1.56) and save percentage (.940). The save percentage is the highest by a goaltender since the stat began being kept in 1982. In addition, Elliott set single season franchise records with consecutive shutout minutes (241:33) and shutouts in a single season (9) while also making his first appearance at the NHL All-Star Game.
All of this happened without even being assured a roster spot past training camp. Elliott edged Ben Bishop for the backup role behind Jaroslav Halak in early October.
It also comes as no surprise that T.J. Oshie is again the most popular Blues player among fans. This year, Oshie backed up his popularity with new career-highs in games played (80), points (54), goals (19), assists (35) and shots (188). This is Oshie's fourth consecutive win in this category, making him the only Blues player ever to win the Most Popular title in the Blues Fan Choice Awards.
BEST MOMENT: BLUES ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
Runner Up: David Perron Scores on First Shot After Missing 97 Games
The Award for the Best Moment of the 2011-12 season was oh so close...The Blues beating the Sharks in 5 games to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals won by merely 25 votes.
Regardless, the moment will easily go down as one of the year's most memorable. A third-period come-from-behind win in Game 5 was made possible after Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron each scored in a span of 45 seconds to send Scottrade Center into a frenzy. For the final eight minutes of action, everyone was on their feet as the Blues helped themselves to their first Playoff series victory in a decade.
David Perron's goal on December 3 vs. Chicago nearly won this Award. Perron had missed 97 games with post-concussion syndrome and scored just 6:41 into his first game back...on his first shot of the game.