The 2015 NHL Awards ceremony was held Wednesday evening at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with actor Rob Riggle serving as the host. Among the many talented players in attendance, one stood out above the game's top names.
The biggest winner was Montreal Canadiens star Carey Price, who received his first Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender. Players voted Price as the MVP, giving him the Ted Lindsay Award, and he also won the Hart Trophy as the official MVP.
Check out the full list of awards in the table below:
|2015 NHL Awards Results|
|Hart Trophy (NHL MVP)||Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens||Alex Ovechkin (Washington) and John Tavares (New York Islanders)|
|Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman)||Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators||Drew Doughty (Los Angeles) and P.K. Subban (Montreal)|
|Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender)||Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens||Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville)|
|Calder Trophy (Top Rookie)||Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers||Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary) and Mark Stone (Ottawa)|
|Selke Trophy (Top Defensive Forward)||Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins||Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles) and Jonathan Toews (Chicago)|
|Lady Byng Trophy (Most Gentlemanly Forward)||Jiri Hudler, Calgary Flames||Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit) and Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles)|
|Masterton Trophy (For Dedication and Perseverance)||Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild||Andrew Hammond (Ottawa) and Kris Letang (Pittsburgh)|
|NHL Foundation Award (Community Service)||Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks||Mark Giordano (Calgary) and Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers)|
|Mark Messier Leadership Award||Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks||Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim) and Andrew Ladd (Winnipeg)|
|Ted Lindsay Award (MVP—players vote)||Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens||Jamie Benn (Dallas) and Alex Ovechkin (Washington)|
|William M. Jennings Trophy||Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, and Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks||—|
|Jack Adams Award (Best Coach)||Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames||Peter Laviolette (Nashville) and Alain Vigneault (New York Rangers)|
|General Manager of the Year||Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay Lightning||Bob Murray (Anaheim) and Glen Sather (New York Rangers)|
It wasn't too much of a surprise to see Price sweep the awards he was nominated for.
Price had an NHL-best 44 wins, 1.96 GAA and .933 save percentage during the regular season. NBC Sports showed footage of Price accepting the Vezina Trophy, when he delivered a heartfelt speech:
By the time Price was up for the closing Hart Trophy, he was almost out of words after racking up so many accolades. SportsCenter provided context for Price's brilliant play between the pipes, noting how rare it is for a goalie to win the most prestigious individual trophy, with the last being a former Habs goalie:
This also provides an idea of how much pressure Price has been under in Montreal to succeed from a very young age at such a scrutinized position.
Prior to the start of the awards, Price acknowledged he needed to continue improving if he is to bring home the Stanley Cup for Habs fans for the first time since 1993, per NHL.com's Arpon Basu:
It's coming together. It's always been a process. A lot of goaltenders my age have already had a lot of success. I feel like my career is progressing in the right direction, but I'm still looking for what I ultimately want. [...] When you don't win there's more you can do. As a bigger part of this team, I feel like that's on me. I've got to be that much better.
Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning was a deserving recipient of the General Manager of the Year Award. Yzerman has built a young roster that reached the Stanley Cup Final and is positioned for sustainable success in the years to come.
Tampa Bay had a high-octane offense that gave Price problems and eliminated the Canadiens in the conference semifinals, showing the type of upside the Bolts have to look forward to.
Fox Sports Florida's Paul Kennedy praised the job Yzerman did to mold Tampa Bay into a legitimate contender:
The Lightning only fell to what now has to be considered a dynastic Chicago Blackhawks team, which won a third championship in six years. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews walked away with some hardware of his own, appropriately receiving the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
Another unique honor was bestowed upon Toews and his fellow franchise cornerstone, Patrick Kane. Both will grace the cover of the latest NHL video game for EA Sports:
Their collective success is what the rest of the league, including Price and Yzerman, is chasing. Toews and Kane comprise a one-two punch the rest of the NHL currently can't match.
The constrictions of the modern salary cap will continue to make it tough on smaller-market teams to rebuild, and constructing a roster through the draft takes years. That's what makes Yzerman's job in his post so commendable and deserving of the highest honor for a GM.
Having someone like Price in net can help any club's fortunes to a large degree, which is why he received so much respect for his 2014-15 efforts. The Canadiens can feel hopeful about their chances to win Lord Stanley's Cup as long as Price builds on his amazing season.