Kucherov makes history
by Andrew Podnieks|20 JUN 2019
Russian forward Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning poses with the Ted Lindsay Award, the President's Trophy, the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Art Ross Trophy during the 2019 NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.
photo: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov scored a hardware hat trick last night at the NHL Awards, taking home the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award as well as the President’s Trophy. 

“Taylor Hall, McDavid, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, Ovechkin,” Kucherov said. “You look at all those names and now you see your name there, it's definitely special for me and my family. Thanks to my teammates, my coaches, all the trainers, everybody involved in the team. Thanks to them for helping me get here. Without them, without all the work we've done together, I wouldn't be here. A big part of this success just goes to all of them. Thanks to my boys and I'm looking forward to next year.”

In winning the Hart, he became only the fourth Russian to do so after Ovechkin, Yevgeni Malkin, and Sergei Fyodorov, and he beat out the other finalists, Crosby and McDavid, in doing so.
Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL trophies just 24 days after winning a bronze medal and the Best Forward award at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Fellow Russian Alexander Ovechkin won the Rocket Richard Trophy for the record eighth time. He led the league in goals again, this time with 51 in 2018/19, one more than Edmonton’s German forward Leon Draisaitl. No player in NHL history has ever led the NHL in goalscoring as often (Bobby Hull did so seven times). 

Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevski won the Vezina Trophy after leading the Lightning to a record-tying 62 wins and the Presidents’ Trophy. He led the league in wins (39) and had a 92.5% save percentage.

“My main goal is still the Stanley Cup,” said the 24-year-old Vasilevski. “Of course, the Vezina, it's good, too. I'm very happy to get it. But my main goal is the Stanley Cup, for sure. This award's not just mine. It goes to our team, for sure. All the guys worked extremely hard.”

He is only the second Russian to win the Vezina after Sergei Bobrovski of Columbus, who won it twice.

Mark Giordano won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenceman for the first time. The Flames’ captain was tops in the league in plus-minus at +39 and nearly doubled his personal best for points with 74, second among the league’s blueliners. 

“I had a passion to play and I love the game so much,” he said. “I'm a big fan of the game. I'm willing to put in the work, and hopefully I can keep playing at this level. Last year I felt really good physically, so hopefully I can keep going.”

Sensational Vancouver forward Elias Pettersson of Sweden won the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie. He led all rookies in goals, assists, and points, and was a thrill to watch for his stickhandling and ability to make plays at top speed.

“I'm extremely happy,” he said during his speech. “So many people to thank for being here, but my family needs to be thanked the most, and they know. I see myself as a kid playing hockey and living my dream here in North America. I'm just excited for the future and I just want to continue to grow as a player.”

One of the most emotional moments came when Robin Lehner was given the Bill Masterton Award for perseverance. “I'm not ashamed to say I'm mentally ill, but that doesn't mean mentally weak,” he said, publicly acknowledging his long battle with alcohol, drug abuse, and depression. 

Lehner was also a Vezina Trophy finalist.

“I've had such an incredible outpour of support and so many people that have contacted me or tried to contact me that I still haven't been able to get to yet that are just scared to take that first step, scared of doing the things necessary to turn their lives around,” Lehner said. “That's incredibly rewarding.”

St. Louis forward Ryan O’Reilly won the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward. He accepted the trophy just days after lifting a more important one – the Stanley Cup. He was also named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. 

“It's obviously a huge honour,” O'Reilly said. “Seeing the names that are on that are guys I've always admired, and to be one of them and to be on that, it's amazing. It's a great cap off to that amazing week. Yeah, it's crazy. It's great. I'm just kind of overwhelmed with everything that's been going on. But it is an honour to be on that, because it's guys that I wanted to be.”

O’Reilly (1,001 points) beat out Mark Stone of Vegas (881 points) and Cup finals opponent Patrice Bergeron of Boston (809 points) to win.

Florida’s Aleksander Barkov was given the Lady Byng Trophy for his sportsmanlike play. The Finn won for the first time after two previous nominations saw him finish as a runner-up. He incurred only four minor penalties all year and had an incredible 96 points on the year as well.

Barry Trotz won the Jack Adams Award of coach of the year, capping a year of incredible success and change. A year ago he led the Capitals to their first ever Stanley Cup, and soon after left the team to sign with the Islanders, a team that looked to be in turmoil after the departure of free agent John Tavares to Toronto. 

Thinking of taking a year off, he was persuaded to join the Isles by GM Lou Lamoriello and then took the team to a 103-point season, fifth best in the NHL. 

“Once I ended talking to Lou, it was him,” Trotz revealed. “He convinced me. He convinced me just talking to him. I never lost any passion for the game or anything like that. I just thought I was going to take some time and he convinced me that I could do something on [Long Island] and he needed someone like me, I guess, that he could get it done.”

Awards Winners
Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, Art Ross Trophy—Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay)
Norris Trophy—Mark Giordano (Calgary)
Lady Byng Trophy—Aleksander Barkov (Florida)
“Rocket” Richard Trophy—Alexander Ovechkin (Washington)
Calder Trophy—Elias Pettersson (Vancouver)
Conn Smythe Trophy, Frank Selke Trophy—Ryan O’Reilly (St. Louis)
Vezina Trophy—Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay)
Masterton Trophy—Robin Lehner (NY Islanders)
Jack Adams Award—Barry Trotz (NY Islanders)
King Clancy Award—Jason Zucker (Minnesota)