TAMPA, Fla. — New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie on Tuesday night during the NHL Awards show.
Shesterkin backstopped the Rangers to a turnaround season that resulted in the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
In the regular season, Shesterkin led the league in goals-against average (2.07) and save percentage (.935).
“It’s a great honor for me to be here,” Shesterkin said at the ceremony. “It’s good to play for the New York Rangers, it’s an incredible feeling.”
The second award of the night was the Calder Trophy, given to the league’s top first-year player, and the voters looked to the blue line for that one.
Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings, who led rookie defenseman with 50 points and led all rookies in minutes per game was the recipient.
“It’s a really big honor, I didn’t really prepare for a speech, so I’ll just go with the flow here,” he said. “It’s a great organization with Detroit, it’s very fun to be a Red Wing.”
Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews later won the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the player selected by his NHLPA peers as the most outstanding in the league. And Matthews, a former No. 1 overall pick, was humbled by what the award means.
“To be honored by players you go up against every night,” he said, “it just means a lot to me.”
Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche was later honored with the Norris Trophy, given to the league’s top defenseman. Makar, who played college hockey at UMass, was a key cog in Colorado’s drive back to the postseason this year, where the Avalanche have landed in the Stanley Cup Final.
Leading the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, with Game 4 on Wednesday, Makar, during his speech, was quick to turn it back to his teammates and the goal at hand.
“We’ve got some important things to do tomorrow,” he said. “But for the boys, this goes out to them.”
The night closed with a familiar face, as Matthews was honored as the NHL’s top player with the Hart Trophy. Toronto’s first-line forward posted career highs in goals, assists and points this season.
“I want to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs, top to bottom,” he said. “I want to thank the fans, Leafs Nation, there is nothing like playing in front of you.”