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Bolts clean up at 2019 NHL Awards

Kucherov won the Art Ross Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and Hart Trophy, while Andrei Vasilevskiy took home the Vezina Trophy

by Bryan Burns /

If you missed last night's 2019 NHL Awards Show from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, there's a lot to unpack.

Especially if you're a Tampa Bay Lightning fan.

The Lightning had the most successful haul of any team at the ceremony, Nikita Kucherov needing a couple extra suitcases to bring all of his hardware back across the country to Tampa. In addition to collecting his Art Ross Trophy for finishing the 2018-19 season as the NHL's scoring leader, Kucherov was announced as the winner of both the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award, the League's MVP trophies as selected, respectively, by the Professional Hockey Writers Association and his fellow players, a three-trophy trifecta accomplished 15 years ago by Martin St. Louis, who was the first and previously only Lightning player to achieve the feat during the Bolts' Cup winning season in 2004.

Video: Kucherov wins the Hart Trophy

In between Kucherov claiming both League MVP awards, teammate and fellow Russian Andrei Vasilevskiy was selected as the Vezina Trophy winner over former Bolt Ben Bishop and New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner, becoming the first-ever Tampa Bay player to win the award handed out to the League's best netminder.

The individual honors from a historic 62-win regular season don't erase the bitter disappointment of getting swept in the first round of the playoffs, but maybe the recognition helps soften the blow a bit.

Kucherov was a near-unanimous pick for the Hart Trophy, receiving 164 of 171 first-place votes. Kucherov collected 128 points during the regular season, the most put up by a NHL player this century and the most ever tallied by a Russian-born player.

In a vote of his peers, Kucherov won the Ted Lindsay Award as the players' MVP over Chicago's Patrick Kane and Edmonton's Connor McDavid.

"It means a lot to me," Kucherov told reporters after the ceremony. "I compete against those guys every night."

Kucherov was also tabbed a First Team NHL All-Star, his third-consecutive season earning First or Second Team distinction and second-straight season on the First Team.

Tweet from @TBLightning: Proud of these two!! 🤩#NHLAwards | #GoBolts

Vasilevskiy beat out his friend and former teammate and mentor Bishop to earn the title of the League's best goaltender with the Vezina win. The 24-year-old Tyumen, Russia native took 28 of 31 first-place votes from NHL general managers to win in a runaway.

Vasilevskiy registered the second-best save percentage (.925) and posted the third-most wins (39) in a single season in Lightning history in 2018-19, despite missing a month of the season with a left foot fracture suffered in mid-November. Vasilevskiy's 39 wins were the most in the NHL this season, the second-consecutive season he's led the League for victories (he had 44 wins in 2017-18 along with Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck).

Vasilevskiy also passed by Bishop as the Lightning franchise leader for shutouts and saves in 2018-19.

"I always thought Vasy's the best goalie," Kucherov said. "Finally he got recognition by the honors and he got rewarded. I'm really happy for him. Really nice to see a goalie win it on our team. I wouldn't want to play against (him)."

Vasilevskiy was also selected as a postseason First Team NHL All-Star, his first such distinction.

Victor Hedman lost out on his bid for a second-straight Norris Trophy, which was handed out to Calgary's Mark Giordano, but was voted a Second Team NHL All-Star. Hedman's been picked for the postseason All-Star Team three-consecutive seasons, including a First Team nod during his Norris Trophy-winning campaign in 2017-18.

Jon Cooper finished second in voting for the Jack Adams Award, given to the NHL's best coach. The New York Islanders' Barry Trotz won for the second time in his career and did so with two different teams. Trotz earned 430 points in the Jack Adams tally on the strength of 58 first-place votes compared to Cooper's 350 points and 48 first-place votes. Cooper was a finalist for the Jack Adams for the second time in his career. He came in third for the award in 2014.

Video: Vasilevskiy on the Vezina Trophy

Anthony Cirelli became the fourth Lightning player all-time to earn a spot on the NHL All-Rookie Team, joining Tyler Johnson (2014), Ondrej Palat (2014) and Brad Richards (2001). Cirelli, who led all NHL forwards for shorthanded time on ice in 2018-19, also placed sixth in voting for the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) and 11th for the Selke Trophy (best defensive forward).

Brayden Point came in ninth in Selke voting and received three fifth-place votes for the Hart Trophy (he finished 21st overall for the Hart). Cirelli and Point each received a first-place Selke vote.

Steven Stamkos had a second-place nod in Hart voting and placed 14th overall for the League MVP award. Stamkos and Point finished fourth and ninth, respectively, in the postseason All-Star Team tabulation at center.

Ryan McDonagh was eighth in Norris Trophy and All-Star Team defenseman voting.

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