The Latest: Kings’ Anze Kopitar takes home Selke Trophy
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest at the NHL Awards show from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (all times EDT):
One week after Anze Kopitar was named the Los Angeles Kings’ captain, he became the franchise’s first Selke Trophy winner.
The Selke goes to the NHL’s best defensive forward. Kopitar has been the Kings’ leading scorer for nine consecutive seasons, but the Slovenian center’s willingness to embrace coach Darryl Sutter’s defense-first mindset was a major reason for Los Angeles’ run to two Stanley Cup titles in three years from 2012-14.
Kopitar led all NHL forwards in ice time, averaging nearly 21 minutes per game, while finishing second in the league with a plus-34 rating. His puck possession skills and backchecking acumen were key factors in the Kings finishing third in the league in team defense.
Kopitar was a finalist for the award in each of the previous three seasons. He beat out three-time winner Patrice Bergeron of Boston and Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, the 2011 winner.
The Los Angeles Kings have added two major awards to their trophy case.
Drew Doughty won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman, and Anze Kopitar took the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward.
Doughty’s first Norris victory ended a lively three-man race that forced voters to decide between pure offensive production and analytical superiority.
Doughty, the two-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, beat out Erik Karlsson of Ottawa and Brent Burns of San Jose.
While Doughty didn’t match his competitors’ offensive production, voters recognized his two-way prowess for the defense-minded Kings.
“To my teammates, without you, I couldn’t have done it,” Doughty said. “You guys are everything to me, and we’re brothers for life.”
Doughty led all defensemen in Corsi percentage at 58.9, and he scored 51 points with a plus-24 rating while playing enormous minutes on the Kings’ depleted blue line.
Karlsson, who won the Norris last year, scored a whopping 82 points for the Senators, the most by an NHL defenseman in 20 years. He also played nearly 29 minutes per game, but finished with a minus-2 on a non-playoff team.
Burns nearly matched Karlsson with 75 points, including 27 goals for the Western Conference champion Sharks.
The NHL has handed out several awards recognizing leadership and off-ice excellence before moving on to the biggest prizes at its annual awards show.
Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, and Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his leadership and humanitarian contributions to the community.
In addition, Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano won the NHL Foundation Player Award for applying the core values of hockey to enrich the lives of people in his community.
Florida’s Jaromir Jagr has won the Masterton Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey at the NHL Awards show.
The 44-year-old forward didn’t attend the ceremony in Las Vegas because he was with his ailing father.
Jagr was rewarded for his seemingly ageless skills and enthusiasm. The Czech veteran scored 66 points in his 22nd NHL season to lead the Panthers, who set franchise records with 47 wins and 103 points.
Pittsburgh’s Jim Rutherford was named the NHL’s general manager of the year, beating out Washington’s Brian MacLellan and Dallas’ Jim Nill. The Stanley Cup-winning executive made a series of savvy personnel moves to put the Penguins in position to claim the title.
Patrick Kane has won the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the NHL’s outstanding player in a vote of his peers in the players’ union.
The award isn’t likely to be the last for Kane at the NHL Awards show. He is favored to win the Hart Trophy as the league MVP later in the night.
Kane, a Buffalo native, became the first U.S.-born player to lead the NHL in scoring with 106 points this season, beating Dallas’ Jamie Benn by a whopping 17 points. Benn and Washington goalie Braden Holtby were the other finalists for the Lindsay Award.
Kane is a three-time Stanley Cup champion in Chicago. He has also won the Calder, Conn Smythe and Art Ross trophies during his career.
Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks has won the NHL’s first award of the night, claiming the Calder Trophy as the top rookie.
The 24-year-old Russian forward beat out Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, who finished third in the voting.
Panarin scored 77 points in 80 games during his debut season in North America, leading all rookies in goals (30) and assists (47).
Although Panarin played seven pro seasons back home before coming stateside, voters didn’t object to his experience, awarding the trophy to a Chicago player for the first time since Patrick Kane won it in 2008.
McDavid was the No. 1 pick last summer. He scored 48 points in 45 games, his dynamite season shortened by two months thanks to a broken collarbone.
The NHL Awards show is underway in Las Vegas, where the city is still buzzing about getting an expansion franchise just a few hours ago. New owner Bill Foley will pay $500 million for a team that will play at T-Mobile Arena a couple of miles away.
Actor Will Arnett is hosting the league’s annual attempt to merge hockey and entertainment, usually with mixed results.
Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is widely expected to become the first American to win the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. Most of the other awards aren’t as clear-cut.