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Preds at the NHL Awards: A Look Back at the Winners

Rinne, Poile, Fisher and More Among NHL Award Winners from Nashville

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

As the month of June moves from the teens to 20s each year, the hockey world typically turns its attention to Las Vegas and the NHL Awards.

This year's circumstances will force us to wait a bit longer than usual to find out if Predators Captain Roman Josi will win the Norris Trophy, as the League's best defenseman, but either way, he will not be the first member of the Preds to be called to the Awards stage.

With that in mind, let's take a look back at the other honorees of past NHL Awards who called Nashville home.

Steve Sullivan became the first NHL Award winner in franchise history when he took home the Bill Masterton Award in 2009. Sullivan sustained a back injury in February of 2007, and after missing 142 consecutive regular-season games and 11 more playoff contests, he returned to the Predators lineup on Jan. 10, 2009. In total, 687 days passed between games for Sullivan, whose return made him just the third player in the post-World War II era to miss more than 600 days due to injury, then return to action (joining Calgary's Jim Peplinski and Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux).

"Given all this award stands for, and the players who have won it in the past, to receive it is a tremendous honor," Sullivan said back in 2009. "It has been a long journey full of highs and lows, but my return to the ice never would have been possible without my family, doctors, trainers and teammates who never lost belief in me."

In 2012, Mike Fisher earned the NHL Foundation Player Award. The award recognizes an NHL player, who applies the core values of hockey - commitment, perseverance and teamwork - to enrich the lives of people in his community. The NHL Foundation presented $25,000 to the Room In The Inn, a full-service homeless facility located a few blocks from Bridgestone Arena, to honor Fisher.

Four years passed before Shea Weber then began a streak of success at the NHL Awards for the Preds. The former Nashville Captain was honored with the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2016, a prize given to the player, who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season.

Since then, a member of the Predators has heard their name called each year in Las Vegas, and in 2017, David Poile received his nod.

Nashville's GM was named the 2017 NHL General Manager of the Year as he won the award for the first time in his fourth nomination for the honor since its inception in 2010, the most of any GM.

"Personally, it feels very good and I'm very happy for my family, especially my wife [Elizabeth] that's been through all these ups and downs of this crazy business that I've done for 45 years," Poile said at the time. "I also really feel good for our organization.

"It's an organizational award, we all know that, and it means a lot because it means that we've done some good things both on and off the ice. It's a good time to be with the Nashville Predators and I'm just really happy that I'm here on behalf of the Predators."

One year later, perhaps the most popular player in franchise history had his day.

Pekka Rinne won the 2018 Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender, the first player in Predators franchise history to take home a performance-based trophy at the NHL Awards. Nominated for the Vezina on four occasions across his NHL career, it was the NHL's 31 general managers who cast 22 first-place votes to ensure Rinne earned the hardware.

Rinne led the Preds to a franchise-record 117 points and the first Presidents' Trophy and Central Division title in franchise history in 2017-18. Out of goaltenders who played at least 50 games, Rinne was first in save percentage (.927), even-strength save percentage (.938) and goals-against average (2.31). He tied for first in the NHL in shutouts with eight, a career high, and was third in wins with 42.

Video: Pekka Rinne is presented the Vezina Trophy

"I would be lying if I denied it, it does feel great," Rinne said shortly after the win. "Who knows, maybe it's my last time here in Vegas. I have been [to the NHL Awards] four times, so it does feel really good to win.

"I felt I had a good chance to win it… You don't want to admit it, but it's in the back of your head and you are thinking about it. It is a special time and special award."

Finally, it was last season when Predators forward Wayne Simmonds, who was acquired by the club at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline, was honored with the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

The NHL has yet to announce a date for the 2020 installment of the awards, but perhaps Josi will extend the streak to five-straight years of someone in Gold bringing home a prize. 

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