With the end of the 2018/19 NHL regular season, the Arizona Coyotes announced the winners of the team’s in-house awards.
Unsurprisingly, it was goaltender Darcy Kuemper that earned the biggest award, being named the team’s official MVP for the 2018/19 season.
Kuemper had the best season of his NHL career with the Coyotes this past season, playing in a career-high 55 regular season games – 24 more than his previous high in 2014/15.
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During that run, Kuemper posted a 27-20-8 record and was one of the main reasons Rick Tocchet’s team was competing for a playoff place so late in the season.
His 2.33 goals against average and .925 save percentage were both career-highs also and Kuemper has certainly given the organisation plenty of confidence heading into next season, regardless of Antti Raanta‘s health.
Not only did he perform exceptionally, but he also showed true class by suggesting that Calvin Pickard should be given the start for the final game of the season – snapping a streak of 22 consecutive starts.
An all-around spectacular season for Kuemper ensured he received the top award and deserved recognition for how much of an impact he had for the Arizona Coyotes this season.
Clayton Keller, who had a bit of a slump compared to his rookie campaign, still managed to earn the team’s top scorer award – registering 14 goals and 47 total points in 82 games.
Keller is a key component to the Coyotes’ offence and seeing him reunited with Nick Schmaltz next season should help the 2016 first round pick get back to his regular scoring way.
Veteran defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson was also recognised with the team’s Hardest Working Player award – with the Swedish defenceman constantly putting his body on the line for the Coyotes’ cause this past season.
Playing all 82 games, Hjalmarsson blocked an astonishing 187 shots and threw 45 hits – forming a strong partnership alongside captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson along the team’s blueline.
The 31-year-old is one of the most reliable defencemen in the league and was constantly prepared to risk injury to give the Arizona Coyotes as much of a chance to win every night he was on the ice.
Hjalmarsson’s regular partner, OEL, was also recognised for his community work around the state of Arizona.
Ekman-Larsson led the team well on the ice in his first season as full captain, taking on the mantle from team legend Shane Doan.
The Swedish blueliner will continue to grow in his role as captain, but his influence within the dressing room and on the ice is clear to see and recognition for the extra work he does for the community is fully deserving.
What do you think of these awards Coyotes fans? Which players do you think deserved some recognition for this season? What awards would you like the team to have? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!