LAS VEGAS – Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov won the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award on Wednesday night, receiving the NHL’s highest honors for his 128-point regular season for the Lightning.
The Russian right wing also formally picked up the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer at the hockey world’s annual Vegas ceremony, held this year at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Kucherov’s Russian teammate in Tampa Bay, won his first Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in another bittersweet recognition of the Lightning, who won 62 regular-season games before getting swept by Columbus in the first round of the playoffs.
Calgary’s Mark Giordano won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, earning the award for the first time at 35 years old. Vancouver forward Elias Pettersson won the Calder Trophy given to the league’s top rookie, and Ryan O’Reilly added his first Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward to the Blues’ Stanley Cup victory.
Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders won his second Jack Adams Award as the best coach, while Boston’s Don Sweeney was named the league’s top general manager.
Kucherov, who turned 26 on Monday, received 164 of 171 first-place votes in a runaway victory over two-time MVP Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh, who finished second in the voting, and 2017 Hart winner Connor McDavid of Edmonton. Kucherov, who posted the NHL’s highest-scoring individual season since 1996, also won the Lindsay Award as his fellow players’ choice for the league’s most outstanding player.
A year after scoring 100 points, Kucherov emerged as perhaps the NHL’s most impressive scorer, putting up a career-best 41 goals and 87 assists for his powerhouse Lightning.
Kucherov tied Jaromir Jagr’s NHL record for assists by a wing, and he surpassed Alexander Mogilny’s single-season record for points by a Russian-born player.
Tampa Bay also posted 128 standings points, the most by any team since 1996 – but Kucherov regrets that he had little impact during the Lightning’s stunning first-round playoff sweep by the Blue Jackets. Kucherov served a one-game suspension for a dangerous hit during the series, and he scored his only two playoff points in the Game 4 defeat.
Trotz beat out Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper and St. Louis’ Craig Berube for the Adams trophy, which is based on regular-season performance. Trotz also won the award with Washington three years ago.
After winning the Stanley Cup and subsequently leaving the Capitals last summer, Trotz engineered an impressive one-season turnaround for the Islanders. New York went 48-27-7 for a 23-point increase from 2018 and its best single-season total since 1983-84, even after losing John Tavares to Toronto.
Trotz took a moment after accepting the award to honor his goalie, Robin Lehner, who won the Masterton Trophy as the player exemplifying the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Lehner had an outstanding season after revealing during training camp that he has struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder. He is the third player in Islanders history to win the award.
“I’m not ashamed to say I’m mentally ill, but that doesn’t mean mentally weak,” Lehner said after accepting his award.
Wild forward Jason Zucker won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contributions to hockey. Zucker, who is from Las Vegas, has done extensive fundraising for children’s causes in Minnesota.
Florida center Aleksander Barkov won his first Lady Byng Trophy as the player best combining sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability. Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.
Vasilevskiy beat out Dallas’ Ben Bishop and Lehner for the Vezina. The Russian goalie led the NHL with 39 victories for the powerhouse Lightning while posting a 2.40 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 53 games. He is the first Tampa Bay goalie to win the award.
O’Reilly bested Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, a four-time Selke winner and a finalist for the eighth consecutive year, and Vegas’ Mark Stone.
O’Reilly was the Blues’ top scorer with 77 points, including 28 goals in his first season in St. Louis. He also compiled a plus-22 rating and finished fourth in the NHL with 94 takeaways.
The 20-year-old Pettersson beat out St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington and Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin for the award. Pettersson joins Pavel Bure (1992) as the only Calder winners in Canucks history.
Pettersson provided an offensive jolt to the Canucks in his first North American season, scoring a goal on his first NHL shot and seamlessly adapting to the world’s best league. One year after Vancouver drafted him with the fifth overall pick in 2017, Pettersson posted a rookie-best 28 goals and 38 assists.
Giordano got an appropriate reward for his remarkable performance 13 years into an NHL career spent entirely with the Flames. Giordano beat out two vaunted finalists: San Jose’s Brent Burns, who won it in 2017, and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, who won it last year.
The Calgary captain was instrumental in the Flames’ breakthrough season, leading the NHL with a plus-39 rating while regularly playing against opponents’ best lines. Giordano also scored a career-best 74 points and played more than 24 minutes per game.
Giordano is the fourth defenseman to win the Norris at 35 or older, joining Nicklas Lidstrom, Doug Harvey and Al MacInnis.
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