Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has taken home his first Hart Trophy, being awarded tonight as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Malkin who also won the Ted Lindsay Award (Named MVP of the season by his peers), beat out Tampa Bay Lightning center Steve Stamkos and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for the prestigious award that is voted on by the professional hockey writers association.
Malkin won in a landslide, receiving 1,473 points in voting, including 144 of 149 first place votes. Steve Stamkos was second in voting, receiving 598 points. Henrik Lundqvist placed third, followed by Claude Giroux and Jonathan Quick, rounding out the top-5.
Malkin in his acceptance speech had great praise for former teammate Sergei Gonchar who has had a significant impact on Malkin since he came over to North America six years ago. The two are best friends.
“This is the best day of my life, ” Malkin later told reporters.
Malkin had 50 goals and 59 assists last season, leading the league in points. He scored points in 60 of 75 games he played in and was the first player since 1995-1996 to record at least four five-point games.
The two-time Art Ross Trophy winner becomes the the fourth Penguin in team history to win the Hart Trophy. Sidney Crosby (2007), Jaromir Jagr (1999) and Mario Lemieux (1988, 1993, 1996) are the previous winners in team history.
Notes: Evgeni Malkin and linemate James Neal were both named first team NHL All-Stars at their respective positions, center and right wing. Devils LW Ilya Kovalchuk was named first team left winger.
NOTABLE AWARD WINNERS
Hart Trophy – Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Ted Lindsay Award – Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vezina Trophy – Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Norris Trophy – Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Calder Trophy – Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
Jack Adams Award – Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues
GM of the Year – Doug Armstrong, St. Louis Blues