LA Kings captain Anze Kopitar nominated for NHL's Hart Trophy

Los Angeles Kings forward and captain Anze Kopitar has been nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the National Hockey League announced on April 27.

The Hart Trophy is an annual award given to the player judged most valuable to his team.

This is the first time Kopitar has been nominated for this award, and he is just the fourth different Kings player to have earned a nomination all-time.

Wayne Gretzky is the only King to have ever won the award (1989), and he was also nominated in 1991.

Rogie Vachon (1975 and 1977) and Marcel Dionne (1979, 1980 and 1981), are the other three Kings who have been nominated.

The 2018 NHL Awards will be held on June 20, at The Joint, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s state-of-the-art concert and entertainment venue.

NBCSN and Sportsnet will broadcast the event live in the U.S. and Canada, respectively, at 5 p.m. (PT).

Below is a look at Kopitar’s 2017-18 season highlights including notes and statistics:

  • Set career-highs in goals (35), assists (57) and points (92). The 35 goals are the most scored by a King in a single season since Alexander Frolov registered 35 during the 2006-07 campaign, the 57 assists are the most tallied by a King in a single season since Jozef Stumpel notched 58 during the 1997-98 season and the 92 points are the most recorded by a King in a single season since Wayne Gretzky tallied 130 during the 1993-94 season.
  • Finished tied for seventh in the NHL in points, the first King to be in the top-10 in the league in points since Ziggy Palffy tied for 10th in 2002-03. Led all NHL forwards in TOI/GM (22:05).
  • Led the team in points for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons.
  • Registered a career-high four goals in a single game (tied a franchise record), March 22 at Colorado.
  • Registered his 800th career point (fourth Kings player to reach 800 points with the franchise) in his 900th NHL game, Feb. 20 at Winnipeg.
  • Tallied a career-high 10-game point streak, Oct. 12 – Nov. 16. He notched 12 points (3-9=12) during the streak.
  • Registered a career-high seven game assist streak (1-8=9), Oct. 28 – Nov. 16. He recorded eight assists during the streak.
  • Won the Bill Libby Memorial Award for Most Valuable Player on the team (sixth time; second most behind Marcel Dionne’s eight) and the Defensive Player of the Year Award (fifth time; tying Mattias Norstrom for most wins) as voted by the media.

Kopitar spent 178:05 TOI on the Penalty Kill, while no other player in the Top-10 in scoring spent more than 105 TOI on the PK.

Only 22 forwards recorded 165-or-more minutes on the PK, and while Kopitar recorded 92 points on the season, the other 21 forwards registered an average of 28.6 points, and the next closest players were Mikael Backlund of Calgary and Mikko Koivu of Minnesota, who each had 45 points.

As a team, Kopitar and the Kings led the league in penalty kill percentage at 85.0% (third when playing at home at 86.3% and third on the road at 83.8%).

They were first in the league in GAA (2.46) and first in total goals against overall (202; their second time in the last five seasons to finish on top, also 2013-14; 168 GA).

Kopitar recorded 31 more points than the second-highest scoring player on the team (Dustin Brown had 61), which was the third largest deficit among the top two scorers on any team (Hall, NJD – 41 and McDavid, EDM – 38)

Kopitar was also announced as a nominee for the Frank J. Selke Trophy (forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game) last Tuesday.

Goalie Jonathan Quick won his second William Jennings Trophy -- goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it -- this season, and it was announced last Thursday that Drew Doughty has been nominated for the James Norris Memorial Trophy (defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position).