Tampa Bay Lightning struck it rich at the 2019 NHL Awards

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Lightning hit the jackpot at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, bringing home four of the six awards they were nominated for at the event.

The Tampa Bay Lightning is no stranger to the spotlight. It seems like every time you turn around a player (or the team as a whole) is breaking yet another record. Keeping this in mind, it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one the Bolts were incredibly well represented at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

The Lightning was up for a total of six awards at last night’s star-studded event at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Vegas. This is excluding the Presidents’ Trophy, which the Lightning was awarded at the conclusion of the 2018-19 Regular Season. Of those six awards, the Bolts brought home four of them.

The biggest star of the night was Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov brought home a total of three awards last night. The first of these awards was known a bit ahead of time. At the conclusion of the regular season, Nikita Kucherov captured the Art Ross Trophy, which is awarded to the player who leads the league in points scored.

There was no denying Kucherov was bringing home this award this season. The 26-year-old Russian forward played in all 82 games with the Lightning this season. In that amount of time, Kucherov netted 41 goals and 87 assists for a grand total of 128 points. His nearest competition, Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, came in 12 points behind Kucherov.

In addition to the Art Ross Trophy, Kucherov brought home two more awards for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The first of these two awards were the Hart Trophy. The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player considered to be the Most Valuable Player in the NHL. Given the numbers Kucherov posted this season, it’s essentially a no-brainer he received this honor.

The third award Kucherov captured last night is something players genuinely take to heart. Nikita Kucherov captured the Ted Lindsay Award. For those of you who don’t know, the Ted Lindsay Award is presented to the Most Outstanding Player as voted on by the NHL Players’ Association. It’s one thing to have the adoration of your fans, but it’s a whole other ballgame to receive this sort of accolade from your peers.

Another Tampa Bay Lightning player who brought home a well-deserved honor at the 2019 NHL Awards is Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy captured his first-ever Vezina Trophy last night in Vegas. As one can easily imagine, this one came as no surprise to those of us here in the Bolts Nation.

The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goaltender in the league. If this doesn’t describe Andrei Vasilevskiy, we’re not sure what does. Vasilevskiy played in 53 games with the Lightning in the 2018-19 season. In this amount of time, Vasy maintained a record of 39-10-4 with a Goals Against Average of 2.40 and a Save Percentage of .920.

These numbers afforded Vasilevskiy the number one spot in the league in terms of wins. Vasy also finished the season in sixth place in the league in Save Percentage and ninth place in the NHL in Goals Against Average.

Vasy was up against some familiar competition for the Vezina Trophy this season. Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop and New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner were also nominated for the award. As most people here in the Bolts Nation will remember, Bishop was nominated for this award twice during his time with the Bolts.

The Lightning was nominated for two more awards this year. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was nominated for the Norris Trophy and Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper was nominated for the Jack Adams Award.

The Norris Trophy is awarded to the Best Defenseman in the NHL. Hedman brought home this award in 2018. A solid argument could be made for Hedman to bring home the award this year as well, but there is no denying Calgary Flames goaltender Mark Giordano, who won the award, had a tremendous season.

On the other hand, the Jack Adams Award is presented to the Best Head Coach in the National Hockey League. Taking absolutely nothing away from the season Barry Trotz and the achievements his New York Islanders had this season, it comes as quite a shock Jon Cooper didn’t bring home this award for the Bolts.

Cooper’s Bolts absolutely dominated the National Hockey League for most of the season, eventually capturing the Presidents’ Trophy before the season even officially came to a close. It seemed as if every other game a player, or the team as a whole, was setting a new franchise record.

When a coach produces results like this, it’s hard to imagine them not finishing the season on top. Granted, the Lightning’s showing in the postseason leaves much to be desired, but this isn’t really taken into consideration for the Jack Adams Award, which is representative of the regular season.

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Despite not bringing home a clean sweep, the Tampa Bay Lightning certainly did well for themselves at the NHL Awards this season. The 2018-19 season was filled with many highs and lows. It will certainly be exciting to see what the Boys in Blue have in store for the Bolts Nation in the upcoming season.