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Award Worthy

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
John Tavares is a nominee for the Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the league’s most valuable player, for the second time in three seasons. Tavares finished second in league scoring with 86 points and led the Islanders to a 101-point season, a 22-point turnaround from the previous year. This year, he’s up against Montreal Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price and Washington Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin. Price led all goalies in wins (44), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933), while Ovechkin led the NHL with 53 goals.

Islanders’ fans eagerly await the league’s decision, as Tavares has a chance to become the first Islander to win the Hart since Bryan Trottier in 1979. Despite the 35-year Hart drought, Islanders players have cleaned up at the NHL awards in the past. An Islander has won the major award for each position at least once, including Al Arbour’s Jack Adams Trophy in 1979. Michael Peca has the Islanders only Selke Trophy (best defensive forward), while Ed Westfall (1977) and Mark Fitzpatrick (1992) have their names engraved on the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

The most recent winner was Doug Weight, who won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2011 for off-ice leadership and making a humanitarian contribution to his community.

Here are the most decorated Islanders of all time.

Billy Smith: 3-Time NHL Award Winner

There are only two awards given exclusively to goalies, but Billy Smith has won them both. Smith won the team’s only Vezina (best goaltender) in 1982 posting a 32-9-4 record and followed it up with a William Jennings Trophy (fewest goals against) the following season. He split the award with backup Roland Melanson, but also took home the 1983 Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) after guiding the Islanders to a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers and a fourth-straight Stanley Cup.

Denis Potvin: 4-Time NHL Award Winner

During the late 1970’s, Denis Potvin all but owned the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, winning it three times (1976, 78, 79) in a four-year span. Only Bobby Orr (8), Nicklas Lidstrom (7), Doug Harvey (7) and Ray Bourque (5) have more Norris Trophies than the Islanders’ captain. Potvin scored 98, 94 and 101 points respectively in those three seasons, ultimately becoming one of three Islanders to score 1,000 points with the club. He was also the first Islander to win the Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie), taking the award in 1974.

Mike Bossy: 5-Time NHL Award Winner

Mike Bossy won five NHL awards during his 10-year career. Bossy burst onto the scene in 1978, scoring 53 goals en route to the Calder. Bossy is considered the greatest pure goal scorer to ever play the game, but he also did so with class, taking the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy three times (1983, 84, 86). Bossy also won the 1982 Conn Smythe after scoring 27 points (17 goals, 10 assists) in 19 games. Unfortunately for Bossy, the Rocket Richard Trophy (given to the league’s top goal scorer) wasn’t an official award until the 1998-99 season, or else he would have two more trophies on his mantle.

Bryan Trottier: 5-Time NHL Award Winner

Bryan Trottier has the most varied trophy case of any Islander, winning five different trophies during his Hall-of-Fame career. Trottier – the Islanders all-time leading scorer – won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer in 1979 after netting 134 points (47 goals, 87 assists). For his astounding point totals, he also won the Hart Trophy as league MVP, making him the first Islander to win both major awards. In addition, Trottier won the Calder in 1976, scoring 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists) in his rookie campaign and the Conn Smythe in 1980. His last award came in 1989, when he became the first Islander to win the King Clancy.

Click here for a full list of Islanders' award winners.

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