LAS VEGAS — Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin won the Hart Trophy on Wednesday night as the NHL’s most valuable player.
The Russian superstar and NHL scoring champion won the Hart for the first time at the NHL Awards ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas casino. Malkin also collected the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer and the Ted Lindsay Award from his fellow NHLPA members as the NHL’s best player.
“It’s the best day of my life,” Malkin said. “It’s very exciting.”
Malkin gathered the Hart, Ross and Lindsay awards next to him after the ceremony.
“I can’t believe I’m sitting here, and around me there are three trophies,” Malkin said. “It’s an unbelievable day for me.”
Malkin, who turns 26 next month, won the Hart Trophy over Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who still won the Vezina Trophy for the first time.
Lundqvist’s win in his fourth Vezina nomination topped an impressive list of Swedish winners at the awards ceremony. Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, and Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie.
Boston forward Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward. Florida’s Brian Campbell became the first defenseman since 1954 to win the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanlike play, and Montreal forward Max Pacioretty won the Masterton Trophy for his comeback from serious injury.
St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s top coach for the first time in his lengthy career, while Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was named the league’s top executive.
Malkin won his first MVP award after arguably the most impressive season of his six-year career in Pittsburgh.
Malkin had a career-high 50 goals and 59 assists while carrying the Penguins during the extended injury absence of 2007 Hart winner Sidney Crosby, who played just 22 games. Malkin was the NHL’s only 100-point scorer this season and the first scoring champion in a decade to win a second title.
Malkin then scored eight points in the Penguins’ six-game loss to Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs. The four-time NHL All-Star then was named the MVP of the IIHF World Championships last month after leading the undefeated Russian team to the title.
Malkin was a Hart finalist for the third time. He won the vote over Stamkos, who already had wrapped up the Richard Trophy with an NHL-best 60 goals.