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NHL Awards

Brief history of NHL Awards

A look at the root of each trophy to be given out June 22 in Las Vegas, inaugural winners

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / Columnist

A look at the trophies and awards to be presented at the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 22, including four already won, with historical background compiled from the League and the 2005 book "Silverware," written by Andrew Podnieks for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

They are presented here in chronological order, from oldest to newest.

Hart Trophy (since 1923):

Recognizing: The player judged to be the most valuable to his team.

Roots: The NHL's oldest individual award is named for former Montreal Canadiens general manager and coach Cecil Hart. It was donated to the League in 1923 by Dr. David Hart, Cecil's father.

First recipient: Frank Nighbor, Ottawa Senators, 1923-24.

2015-16 nominees: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars; Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks.

Lady Byng Trophy (since 1924):

Recognizing: The player deemed to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.

Roots: Lady Byng was the wife of Lord Byng of Vimy, the Governor General of Canada from 1921-26. The Queen's representative in Canada and Lady Byng often attended NHL games, especially in Ottawa, where they lived while in the country. A nameless trophy was presented by Lady Byng to the Senators' Frank Nighbor at the end of the 1924-25 season, before the NHL introduced the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy after she died in 1949.

First recipient: Frank Nighbor, Ottawa Senators, 1924-25.

2015-16 nominees: Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins; Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers; Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings.

Vezina Trophy (since 1926):

Recognizing: From introduction to 1981-82, the goaltender(s) whose team allowed the fewest goals in the NHL regular season. Since 1981-82, the Vezina has been awarded to the goalie judged to be the best at his position, in a vote of NHL general managers.

Roots: Given to the NHL by the Montreal Canadiens in the name of and to honor the memory of Georges Vezina, the League's first superstar goaltender who died of tuberculosis in 1926, a few months after being forced from the game with the illness.

First recipient: George Hainsworth, Montreal Canadiens, 1926-27.

2015-16 nominees: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals; Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings.

Calder Trophy (since 1936):

Recognizing: The player selected as the most proficient in his first year of NHL competition.

Roots: Journalists covering the NHL had for several years conducted a poll to declare the League's top rookie until 1936-37. NHL president Frank Calder introduced a trophy to formally recognize the winner.

First recipient: Syl Apps, Toronto Maple Leafs, 1936-37.

2015-16 nominees: Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks; Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers; Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers.

Art Ross Trophy (since 1948):

Recognizing: The player who leads the NHL in scoring points -- goals and assists -- at the end of the regular season.

Roots: Art Ross truly was a hockey pioneer, an innovator/inventor following a stellar playing and coaching/management career, renowned as a key builder of the Boston Bruins. Ross and his two sons, Art. Jr. and John, donated the trophy to the NHL in 1948, the award becoming the League's fifth individual trophy.

First recipient: Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens, 1947-48.

2015-16 winner: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks.

Norris Trophy (since 1953):

Recognizing: The defenseman who demonstrates throughout the regular season the greatest all-round ability at the position.

Roots: In 1952, the children of James Norris, the longtime owner and president of the Detroit Red Wings, donated a trophy to the NHL in their late father's name to honor the League's best defenseman.

First recipient: Leonard "Red" Kelly, Detroit Red Wings, 1953-54.

2015-16 nominees: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators; Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks; Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings.

Conn Smythe Trophy (since 1965):

Recognizing: The most valuable player for his team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Roots: Presented to the NHL in 1965 by the board of directors of Maple Leaf Gardens to honor the memory of the late Conn Smythe, the first owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who for three decades also oversaw the operation of the historic downtown arena.

First recipient: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens, 1965.

2015-16 winner: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins.

Masterton Trophy (since 1968):

Recognizing: The player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Roots: Bill Masterton of the Minnesota North Stars died following head injuries sustained on ice during a game Jan. 13, 1968. The Professional Hockey Writers' Association created the award soon after.

First recipient: Claude Provost, Montreal Canadiens, 1967-68.

2015-16 nominees: Jaromir Jagr, Florida Panthers; Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers; Pascal Dupuis, Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ted Lindsay Award (formerly Lester B. Pearson Award; since 1971):

Recognizing: The most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players' Association; essentially, the players' version of the Hart Trophy.

Roots: The NHLPA introduced the Lester B. Pearson Award in March 1971, named in honor of the former Canadian Prime Minister who in 1957 was named the country's first (and to date only) recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The award was renamed the Ted Lindsay Award in April 2010 in honor of the Detroit Red Wings icon.

First recipient: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins, 1970-71.

2015-16 nominees: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks; Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals.

Jack Adams Award (since 1973):

Recognizing: The NHL coach deemed to have contributed the most to his team's success.

Roots: Named in honor of the fiery former Detroit Red Wings coach and general manager, the trophy was donated to the League by the NHL Broadcasters' Association.

First recipient: Fred Shero, Philadelphia Flyers, 1973-74.

2015-16 nominees: Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals; Lindy Ruff, Dallas Stars; Gerard Gallant, Florida Panthers.

Selke Trophy (since 1977):

Recognizing: The forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.

Roots: The NHL's Board of Governors introduced the trophy in November 1977 to honor Frank J. Selke, who for decades was a pillar as an NHL builder and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

First recipient: Bob Gainey, Montreal Canadiens, 1977-78.

2015-16 nominees: Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks; Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings; Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins.

William M. Jennings Trophy (since 1981):

Recognizing: The goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it in regular-season play. Before 1981-82, this criterion applied to the Vezina Trophy.

Roots: Williams Jennings was an influential figure in U.S. hockey and for many years was a governor and president of the New York Rangers. The trophy honoring his name was introduced to the NHL by the League's Board of Governors for the 1981-82 season.

First recipients: Rick Wamsley and Denis Herron, Montreal Canadiens, 1981-82.

2015-16 winners: Frederik Andersen and John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks

King Clancy Memorial Trophy (since 1988):

Recognizing: The player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.

Roots: Francis "King" Clancy was a huge part of the early NHL, having played, coached and been a referee before becoming a key figure in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization until his death. His best friend, Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard, proposed the NHL Board of Governors create this trophy to honor Clancy's memory.

First recipient: Lanny McDonald, Calgary Flames, 1987-88.

NHL Foundation Player Award (since 1998):

Recognizing: The player who applies the core values of hockey -- commitment, perseverance and teamwork -- to enrich the lives of people in his community.

First recipient: Kelly Chase, St. Louis Blues, 1997-98.

2015-16 nominees: Matt Martin, New York Islanders; P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens; Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames.

Rocket Richard Trophy (since 1998):

Recognizing: The NHL's top goal-scorer during the regular season.

Roots: Montreal Canadiens right wing Maurice "Rocket" Richard was renowned as his era's most feared player from the blue line to net. The first player to score 50 goals in 50 games, in 1944-45 on the Canadiens' famed 'Punch Line', the trophy was created based on a suggestion by TSN broadcasters Bob McKenzie and Gord Miller.

First recipient: Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks, 1998-99.

2015-16 winner: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals.

Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (since 2007):

Recognizing: The player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season. The award bears the name of Hockey Hall of Fame member Mark Messier.

First recipient: Chris Chelios, Detroit Red Wings, 2006-07.

2015-16 nominees: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals; Shea Weber, Nashville Predators; John Tavares, New York Islanders.

General Manager of the Year Award (since 2010):

Recognizing: The top NHL general manager as chosen by a 40-member panel that includes all 30 GMs, five NHL executives and five media members.

First recipient: Don Maloney, Arizona Coyotes, 2009-10.

2015-16 nominees: Jim Rutherford, Pittsburgh Penguins; Brian MacLellan, Washington Capitals; Jim Nill, Dallas Stars.

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