Lightning's St. Louis is NHL MVP

Martin St. Louis of the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning was named the NHL's most valuable player on Thursday.

St. Louis capped a superb season when he graciously accepted the Hart Trophy, pro hockey's highest individual honour, during the annual NHL Awards ceremony in Toronto.

"And my son will be (age) one on Sunday," grinned St. Louis, who turns 29 on June 18.

St. Louis was presented the trophy by Senator Frank Mahovlich, winning out over fellow finalists Martin Brodeur from the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

Earlier Thursday, he won the Lester B. Pearson Award as top player as voted by his peers within the NHL Players' Association.

"I don't know if it means I'm the best player in the NHL," St. Louis surmised as he spoke to reporters afterward.

"There are a lot of great players and to be considered among them is very flattering."

St. Louis already secured the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading point-getter and, of course, the Stanley Cup, making him the first player since Wayne Gretzky in 1987 and eighth overall to score hockey's trifecta (Hart, Ross, Stanley Cup).

Gretzky also accomplished the feat 1984 and 1985.

Guy Lafleur did it twice (1977-78), while Howie Morez (1931), Bill Cowley (1941), Gordie Howe (1952) and Jean Beliveau (1956) also enjoyed triple trophy seasons.

"It's going to be a tough year to top," St. Louis said.

St. Louis appeared in all 82 regular-season games and posted career highs in goals (38), assists (56) and points (94) as well as plus/minus (+35) and game-winning goals (7).

The native of Laval, Que., added nine goals and 24 points in 23 playoff games.

Brodeur and Iginla did not go home empty handed, however.

Brodeur, 32, accepted the William Jennings Trophy as stingiest goaltender, having allowed a mere 154 goals in 75 appearances.

The Montreal native also retained the Vezina Trophy he won for the first time last season.

"When you get Dominik Hasek out of the way, it gives you a chance," joked Brodeur, 38-26-11 with a 2.03 goals-against average and 11 shutouts.

Iginla, who scored 41 goals, shared the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy with Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers and Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Iginla, 26, also received the King Clancy Award for community leadership plus the NHL Foundation Player Award for his charity work.

Devils captain Scott Niedermayer earned the Norris Trophy as the league's premier defenceman: "When you realize how many great players have won this award, it's really hard to believe that I'm part of that group now."

Niedermayer amassed 54 points in 81 games and matched his career-high with 14 goals.

The Edmonton native also assumed the Devils captaincy from injured Scott Stevens.

"It was a big hole on our defence with him out," Niedermayer said. "And I guess I had to assume a new role and that was new for me."

Goaltender Andrew Raycroft captured the Calder Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL rookie of the year.

Raycroft, 24, backstopped the Boston Bruins 57 times, posting a 29-18-9 record with a 2.05 GAA, three shutouts and .926 save percentage.

It is the Belleville, Ont., native's first major award since being named CHL goaltender of the year and OHL MVP in 1999-2000.

"I was able to establish myself as being able to play in the NHL," Raycroft said. "I'm hoping to have a long career."

Kris Draper became the first Detroit Red Wings player to capture the Frank Selke Trophy as the finest defensive forward since Steve Yzerman four years ago.

"I always felt that what I was doing in Detroit was appreciated," Draper said. "That was good enough for me.

Draper, 33, was a plus-22 centring Detroit's diligent "Grind Line," establishing career highs of 24 goals and 40 points in 67 games.

His five short-handed goals were also a personal best.

"Scoring early in the season helped me build the confidence some more and I got on a bit of a roll," Draper said. "Lewie just basically let me go with it.

"With Sergei (Fedorov) gone (to Anaheim), a lot of minutes were opened up. It was a lot of fun."

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe presented Brad Richards of the Lightning with the Lady Byng Trophy for the most gentlemanly player.

Richards, winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, had 26 goals, 79 points and a mere 12 penalty minutes in 82 games.

"We won the Cup and now this," beamed the 24-year-old pride of Murray Harbour, P.E.I.

"I think it really reflects the team and the respect that we've earned. To hear the names after the envelopes were opened shows why we won."

Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Bryan Berard received the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.

Berard, 27, appeared in 58 games this past season and notched 13 goals and 47 points – both one shy of his career highs.

"It's an honour," he said.

Berard nearly lost his right eye to a high stick playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Mar. 11, 2000, only to return after a year hiatus with the New York Rangers.

The Rhode Island resident has played for the New York Islanders, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Bruins and Blackhawks.

"It was a tough comeback," Berard said. "But I'm just glad that's in the past.

"This is like closure. People have recognized the comeback was a good one."

Lightning head coach John Tortorella was a landslide winner of the Jack Adams Award over Darryl Sutter and Ron Wilson.

Tortorella, 47, garnered 231 votes from members of the NHL Broadcasters Association compared to Wilson's 167 and Sutter's 87.

"Was I surprised? Yes, I was," said Tortorella, runner-up to Jacques Lemaire last year.

Tortorella, of course, capped a spectacular 106-point campaign (46-22-8-6) with the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

"It's about the players," he said. "We just guide them, but they go out and get it done."

with files from CP Online