Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov has been crowned the NHL’s most valuable player after winning the Hart Memorial Trophy.
The 26-year-old Lightning winger, who led the NHL with 128 points for the season, beat out Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid to the award.
Kucherov is the first Russian-born player to win the Hart Trophy since Alex Ovechkin in 2013 and the second Lightning player ever to win it (Martin St. Louis, 2004).
“I’d like to thank my team-mates, coaches, our trainers as well as our ownership and the Tampa Bay Lightning organisation for everything you do for us, for supporting us,” Kucherov said. “A big part of this award goes to you guys.”
Kucherov dominated the voting, collecting 164 of 171 first-place votes to finish with 1,677 points, ahead of Crosby (739) and McDavid (465) on Wednesday.
The 2011 second-round pick also won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL in scoring and the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player, as voted by the players.
It was a fitting end to Kucherov’s season as he was the best player on the ice from start to finish. He had 38 multi-point games for Tampa Bay – the most in the NHL since the 2006-07 season (Crosby, 38).
He was just the fourth player to eclipse 120 points since 2005-06 and his 128 points were the most in a single season since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr scored more in 1995-96.