Calgary captain Mark Giordano wins Norris Trophy

LAS VEGAS—Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenceman at the league’s awards ceremony Wednesday.

The Toronto native became the first player in Flames history to win the award.

Giordano, 35, is just the fourth player aged 35 or older to win the Norris. He finished second among all defencemen with 74 points last season.

“Gio, I’ve been saying this for a long time, he’s the best defenceman in the game,” Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic said after the 2018-19 season. “He’s gotta be the best leader. The season that he had, that’s crazy. He means that much to our group, our team, this organization, the city. He’s Mr. Everything for us.”

Giordano beat out Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the award.

Giordano led the Flames to the best record in the Western Conference this past season. He also led the team in average time on ice (24:14 per game) and had 21 power-play points.

“He’s the ultimate leader,” Flames goalie Mike Smith said. “He wears his heart on sleeve. The points were there this year. He always played against teams’ top players and was an excellent shutdown guy for us.”

Burns, from Barrie, Ont., led all NHL defencemen with 83 points.

Hedman, the 2017-18 Norris winner, was a finalist for the award for the third season in a row.

Giordano got the nod after being an even or plus-rated player in 58 of 78 games this season.

“He was a heart and soul guy this year. Led by example,” Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk said. “In the locker room, I sit right next to him. Everybody listens up and stops talking when he says something. The way he’s able to get a grasp on the room, the way he’s able to relate to everybody, it’s very, very impressive.”

Earlier, Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.

The 20-year-old Swede was the first Canuck to win the award since Pavel Bure in 1991-92.

Pettersson set a Canucks rookie record with 66 points (28 goals, 38 assists) in 71 games this season, passing Bure and Ivan Hlinka (1881-91), who each had 60 points.

Pettersson, who scored seven game-winners, became the 31st player in NHL history to end a season leading in goals, assists and points.

Pettersson, picked fifth overall in 2017, beat out St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington and Buffalo Sabres defenceman Rasmus Dahlin for the award.

Binnington, a native of Richmond Hill, Ont., helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup after making his first career start on Jan. 7, with the team sitting last in the West standings.

Dahlin, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, led all rookie defencemen with 44 points.

Among the other honourees:

  • St. Louis centre Ryan O’Reilly won his first Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

O’Reilly beat out Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, a four-time Selke winner and a finalist for the eighth consecutive year, and Vegas’ Mark Stone.

O’Reilly was the Blues’ top scorer with 77 points, including 28 goals in his first season in St. Louis. He also compiled a plus-22 rating and finished fourth in the NHL with 94 takeaways while winning an NHL-best 1,086 faceoffs during the Blues’ remarkable season.

  • New York Islanders goalie Robin Lehner won the Masterton Trophy, given to the player exemplifying the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Lehner had an outstanding season after revealing during training camp that he has struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder. He is the third player in Islanders history to win the award.

“I’m not ashamed to say I’m mentally ill, but that doesn’t mean mentally weak,” Lehner said after accepting his award.

  • Florida centre Alexander Barkov won the Lady Byng Trophy as the player best combining sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.

Barkov scored a franchise-record 96 points for the Panthers, yet he committed just four minor penalties while playing more than 22 minutes per game. The Finn was a Lady Byng finalist for the third time in four seasons.

Barkov drew a few laughs when he apparently heard a few shouts in Finnish as he took the stage to accept his trophy. “We have more fans from Finland than Florida here,” Barkov said.

  • Tampa Bay right wing Nikita Kucherov won the Ted Lindsay Award as the league’s most outstanding player according to the NHL Players’ Association members.

Kucherov also is favoured to win his first Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player later in the NHL Awards show at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Kucherov, who turned 26 on Monday, emerged as a dominant forward during his superlative season with the powerhouse Lightning. The Russian right wing won the Art Ross Trophy with an NHL-best 128 points, finishing with a career-best 41 goals and 87 assists.

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