A slight dip in production for Sidney Crosby and the serious leg injury sustained by Steven Stamkos has led us to anoint Steen the first-quarter MVP. He continues to be a vital two-way presence for the streaking Blues, and his offensive production is off the charts, as he leads or is close to the lead in both goals and points as the first quarter ends.
Very difficult choice here with superlative performances from last season's finalist Antti Niemi in San Jose and fellow Finn Tuukka Rask in Boston, but for us it's a two-man race at this early going, and we'll pick the inspirational Harding in Minnesota by a nose over Ben Bishop in Tampa.
Winner: Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
You almost want to give it to Ryan Suter, who is averaging more than 29 minutes per game to lead all NHLers, but Pietrangelo's all-around game at both ends of the ice in the opening quarter was superb in leading the Blues to a sensational start. Oliver Ekman-Larsson was right there with him, too. Don't be shocked if Ekman-Larsson wins the Norris Trophy this season.
Runners-up: Ekman-Larsson, Coyotes; Suter, Wild.
The midseason Calder Trophy pick in two months might feature Chris Kreider more prominently with the way he's going right now, but for the opening quarter, it has to be Jones. He is leading all NHL rookies with a whopping 24-plus minutes per game while looking like a veteran, not the 19-year-old rookie he is. Wow.
Jack Adams Award
Winner: Patrick Roy, Avalanche
This is a lot closer than most would figure what with Anaheim, Tampa, St. Louis, Chicago, San Jose and Phoenix all enjoying strong first quarters, but no coach has had the impact on his team that Roy has had on the Avalanche. He has proved from day one he is not just a man with a big name and a big résumé to match; he's also a damn fine teaching coach who has changed the Avs into winners almost overnight.
Runners-up: Jon Cooper, Lightning; Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks.