Sidney Crosby received the recognition that probably means more to him than anything else. Monday, the Penguins players voted Crosby the team MVP.
This season, Crosby has 91 points (33-58-91) in 80 games. It is the 18th consecutive season in which Crosby has averaged more than a point per game. In NHL history, only Wayne Gretzky has more.
Crosby’s leadership was on full display Saturday. In an all-but-must-win game, Crosby had three points, including two goals.
It is the third season in a row that teammates named Crosby their MVP.
The captain is on pace to lead the team in scoring for the 13th time, the most in team history. This season, Crosby also tied former Penguins great and owner Mario Lemieux with his 11th 30-plus goals season and became the first NHL player to record a 30-goal season at age 18 and again at 35-plus.
Nine of Crosby’s 33 goals are game-winners, tying his career-high and increasing his franchise-leading total to — fittingly — 87.
Crosby, Jason Zucker, Kris Letang:
Crosby was also named one of the team’s UPMC Players’ Player Award recipients. Kris Letang and Jason Zucker were the others honored. It is Crosby’s fifth Players’ Player Award and the first for Letang and Zucker.
The Players’ Player Award is voted on by the players for the teammates they feel exemplify leadership for the team both on and off the ice and who are dedicated to teamwork.
Earlier this season, coach Mike Sullivan said winger Jason Zucker “Drags us into the fight.”
Zucker, 31, finally avoided the injury bug and delivered on the promise that Pittsburgh Penguins fans and the organization have been awaiting. Zucker has 27 goals, 21 assists, and 48 points through 76 games. He is one of six Penguins to hit the 20-goal mark this season. Zucker’s 27 goals are the highest season total since he scored 33 in 2017-18 with the Minnesota Wild.
On April 2, Letang became the third Penguins player to appear in 1,000 career games. He leads all team defensemen with 11 goals, 28 assists, and 39 points this season. Despite missing 18 games this season due to injury and illness (stroke), he will lead the Penguins in points by a defenseman for the 12th time in his 17-year career.
Letang, 35, is one point away from becoming the fourth active defenseman to have 10 40-point seasons.
Rookie of the Year:
P.O Joseph, 23, is the Penguins’ rookie of the year. He finished his first full season with the Penguins, recording career highs across the board with five goals, 16 assists, and 21 points in 73 games. He ranks in the top-5 among all rookie defensemen in the NHL in goals (T-2nd), assists (4th), and points (4th), while his plus-8 ranks fifth among all rookie skaters. Joseph is just the 11th rookie defenseman in Penguins history to notch 20 or more points.