LAS VEGAS – Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, who scored a career-high 50 goals this season, won the Hart Trophy Wednesday as the National Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player.
The 25-year-old Russian, coming back from right knee surgery, received 144 of 149 first-place votes from a media panel for 1,473 points and a runaway victory over runner-up Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay on 598.
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was third on 556 but the Swede took home his first Vezina Trophy as the top NHL goaltender this season, his 39 triumphs helping the Rangers to their best record since 1994.
Malkin won the Hart Trophy for the first time in his career and became the fourth Penguins player to claim the award after Canadian Sidney Crosby in 2007, Czech star Jaromir Jagr in 1999 and Canada’s Mario Lemieux, who won it in 1988, 1993 and 1996.
Stamkos won the Maurice Richard Trophy for the second time as the NHL’s top scorer with 60 regular-season goals.
Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, a 22-year-old Swede, won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, edging Nashville’s Shea Weber 1,069 to 1,057. Weber lost out by nine points last year to another Swede, Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom.
Karlsson became the youngest Norris winner since legend Bobby Orr won his first of eight such trophies in 1968 at age 20. Another Swede, Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog, captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year after scoring 22 goals and setting up 30 others.
The NHL’s First Team All-Star lineup as voted upon by a media panel included Malkin, Weber, Karlssson, Lundqvist, Russian left wing Ilya Kovalchuk of the Stanley Cup runners-up New Jersey Devils and Penguins right wing James Neal.— Agencies