While the Stanley Cup is the most coveted trophy in the NHL, there is a long list of individual awards that players play 82 games a season to earn. Over their history, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ have seen a great amount of award-winning skaters. Following, we will run down the last player to win each individual award for the Penguins.
Before digging into Pittsburgh’s award-winning past, there are a few awards that have never been won by a Penguin – the Vezina Trophy for the league’s best goaltender, the Williams M. Jennings Trophy, which is a statistical award given to the goaltender(s) who gave up the fewest goals against, and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice with significant humanitarian contribution.
Art Ross Trophy: Sidney Crosby (2014)
Get used to hearing the name Sidney Crosby on this list. He has been the last player to win a handful of awards for the Penguins. The 2013-14 season was one of Crosby’s best, as he won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in points with 104.
Of those points, he also accumulated a league-leading 68 assists.
“Rocket” Richard Trophy: Sidney Crosby (2017)
This particular award seems to be one of the most unknown of Crosby’s career. He led the league in goals with 44 to lock up his second “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the 2016-17 season. This was the one season that the Rocket Richard was held by someone not named Alex Ovechkin since 2012.
Jack Adams Award: Dan Bylsma (2011)
The one and only time the Penguins’ were led by the top coach in the league, the Jack Adams Award was well deserved for Dan Bylsma for his work during the 2010-11 season. It was that season that Crosby suffered his first concussion, forcing him to miss 41 games. Evgeni Malkin also suffered an injury that put him on the shelf for 39 games, and even third-line center Jordan Staal was out for 40 games.
The multitude of injuries to top players would have been devastating for most teams, but the Penguins still finished the season on top of the Atlantic Division with a 49-25-8 record.
Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year: Jim Rutherford (2016)
The Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year award was first given out in 2010, and the Penguins are the only team to receive the award more than once. Ray Shero won the award in 2013 for his work in bolstering the Penguins’ lineup with Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow, and Douglas Murray at the trade deadline. Not to be outdone, current GM Jim Rutherford was chosen as the recipient for his work during the 2015-16 season.
Rutherford made moves to bring each member of the ‘HBK Line’ to Pittsburgh on the road to a Cup title that season. Those three trades among many others made the General Manager of the Year Award well deserved for Rutherford.
Mark Messier Leadership Award: Sidney Crosby (2010)
This is the only award that is selected by one person, and appropriately, that is who the award is named after. Mark Messier himself has selected one player every year since 2007 as the player who is a superior leader on the ice and in the community. Messier selected Crosby as the award’s recipient following the 2010 season. A lot is said about Crosby’s on-ice skill, but off the ice, it is well known what he means to the Pittsburgh community.
Calder Memorial Trophy: Evgeni Malkin (2007)
The Calder Memorial Trophy is given annually to the NHL’s top rookie, and during the 2006-07 season, Malkin was finally able to defect from his team in Russia and join the Penguins. Malkin played in 78 games and picked up 33 goals, which led all rookies, and 85 points.
Malkin became only the second player in Penguins’ franchise history to win rookie of the year, behind Mario Lemieux in the 1984-85 season.
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Ron Francis (1998)
In his final season with the Penguins, Ron Francis won his second of three Lady Byng Awards for displaying outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. A lot of points and not a lot of penalty minutes is the name of the game with the Lady Byng. That is precisely how Francis played the 1997-98 season as he racked up 87 points and 20 penalty minutes in 81 games.
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Mario Lemieux (1993)
The story of Mario Lemieux’s 1992-93 season is one that will live in hockey history forever. After winning the franchise’s first two Stanley Cups, Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was forced to miss 24 games to undergo radiation treatment. Upon his return, Lemieux played 20 games and recorded 56 points, bringing him to a league-leading 160.
The Bill Masterton Trophy is awarded to the player who shows great perseverance and commitment to the game of hockey. It’s usually awarded to a player who overcame or battled through a personal issue to continue playing. Lemieux not only beat cancer, but was able to come back and still be the best player in the league.
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Ron Francis (1995)
This might be the first Penguins’ history piece where Francis gets mentioned more than Lemieux. The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded to the forward who also excels as a top defensive player. The 1994-95 season was shortened, but Francis was able to secure the award with 59 points and a plus-30 rating. During the 1994-95 season, Francis was also awarded the Lady Byng Trophy, as he only tallied 18 penalty minutes.
Related: Last Red Wings to Win Each NHL Award
It was a season where the Penguins had to play entirely without Lemieux. Guys like Francis and Art Ross winner Jaromir Jagr were able to give the team a winning season.
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Randy Carlyle (1981)
One of the best trivia questions in Penguins’ history is who is the only Penguin to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman? Not Kris Letang or Paul Coffey, but Randy Carlyle for his 1980-81 season. It was Carlyle’s most productive season, recording 67 assists and 83 points in 76 games.
Carlyle would score a career-high 16 goals in a season three times. It was in 1980-81 that he did it for the first time.
Ted Lindsay Award: Sidney Crosby (2014)
In 2014, Crosby was awarded the Ted Lindsay Award for the second year in a row, being chosen as the league’s best player as voted by members of the NHLPA. This was Crosby’s third Ted Lindsay Award and the Penguins’ third in a row. Crosby was voted as the winner in 2013 and 2014 and Malkin was selected in 2012.
Hart Memorial Trophy: Sidney Crosby (2014)
The 2013-14 season was a busy one for Crosby. All in the same season, Crosby last won a Ted Lindsay and Art Ross, he also won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.
There is a lot of argument to be made whether a player would rather be voted as the most valuable player by his peers or by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Either way, it is seen as a great honor and in 2014, Crosby put together one of his most successful seasons, and the hardware he took home proved it.
It has been a handful of seasons since any of these have been brought to Pittsburgh, but the future is bright for a comeback. Jake Guentzel has the ability to have a league-leading goal touch, Zach Aston-Reese is one of, if not the best defensive forwards in the league, and Crosby still has time to add to his laundry list of awards before his career is over.
Nick Horwat is a graduate of Point Park University and was born and raised in Pittsburgh. A lifelong Penguins fan that has been watching and going to games for as long as he can remember.