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Kucherov claims Art Ross, Matthews runs away with third Rocket as NHL season ends

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews - The Canadian Press

Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov are taking home major awards after the 2023-24 regular season ended on Thursday.

Matthews led the league with 69 goals to win his third Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy in his career and his third in the past four seasons.

The 6-foot-3 centre beat out Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart by 12 goals and Matthews' total is the most since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny each scored 76 goals during the 1992-93 season.

Matthews was also announced as the Maple Leafs' nominee for the King Clancy Trophy earlier in the week.

Kucherov won the Art Ross Trophy after finishing the campaign with 44 goals and 144 points.

This is the second time Kucherov has won the award after registering 128 points during the 2018-19 season. He narrowly beat out Colorado Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon (140) and Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid (132) for the most points this season.

The 5-foot-11 winger became the fifth player in NHL history to record 100 assists in a season and the first winger to accomplish the feat. Kucherov joined Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and McDavid as the only players to accomplish the feat.

Also taking home hardware was Winnipeg Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck, who won the William M. Jennings Trophy. The award  is presented to the goaltender(s) of the team with the fewest goals in the regular season with a minimum of 25 games played.

Hellebuyck finished the season with a 37-19-4 record with a 2.39 goals-against average and .921 save percentage as the Jets only allowed 199 goals. Backup goalie Laurent Brossoit only appeared in 23 games this season, making him ineligible for the award. 

The 6-foot-4 netminder narrowly beat out Panthers duo of Sergei Bobrovsky and Anthony Stolarz, who allowed 200 goals combined.

Hellebuyck became the first solo winner of the award since Jonathan Quick won in 2018 with the Los Angeles Kings.