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PSR’s 2010-11 NHL Awards

With the conference finals in full swing and the Stanley Cup Finals just days away, the Pittsburgh Sports Report looks back at the season that was, doling out our annual player and coach awards.

Most Valuable Player
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins’ goaltender helped keep the Penguins at the top of the league despite the absence of stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. His 36 wins, .918 save percentage and 2.32 goals against average this season are some of his best numbers in his career. His rough start to the year makes the remainder of the season all the more spectacular. Fleury might not have gotten any nods for the Vezina from the NHL, but the 26-year-old goaltender did win the team’s MVP award at the end of the regular season.

Most Outstanding Defenseman
Niklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings captain Niklas Lidstrom might be 41 years old, but he’s still playing hockey like he’s never aged. The blue-liner played in every regular season game for Detroit this year as well as every playoff game. He scored 16 goals and tallied 46 assists for 62 points. Lidstrom became the oldest NHL defenseman to score 60 points in a season and captained an All-Star team to an 11-10 win over Team Staal. The defenseman has won the Norris Trophy six times including a three-year run from 2006 – 2008.  

Most Outstanding Goaltender
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Luongo might have been second to Tim Thomas’ stats, but his 2.11 goals against average was just shy of Thomas’ 2.00 mark and was also a career best for Luongo. He also tallied a .931 save percentage and racked up 38 wins for Vancouver in 60 games. Luongo’s prowess helped the Canucks to their first Presidents’ Trophy and set franchise records in victories and points.  

Rookie of the Year
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes

Jeff Skinner led all rookies this year with 63 points. He might have had the lowest number of goals amongst the three Calder finalists, but he also was the seventh-youngest player in NHL history to have a 30-goal season. Skinner made his All-Star Game debut this year as well as he took the ice at home for Team Staal. Outside of the rookie class, Skinner was second in scoring and goals for the Hurricanes behind captain Eric Staal, and was fourth in assists with 32.

Coach of the Year
Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins

Bylsma led the team from a rocky start to a 12-game winning streak. His leadership also led the Penguins to their best regular season stats since 1992. That year, the Pens went 56-21-7 for 119 points.  This year, the team posted 49 wins (the highest in the Eastern Conference) and 106 points. Bylsma kept the team together without 2010 Selke nominee Jordan Staal for the first half of the season and without 2010 Art Ross winner Sidney Crosby and 2009 Conn Smythe winner Evgeni Malkin for the second half. The team held Washington to one goal in February with a largely minor league roster and nearly caught Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division.

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