After four rounds and 91 games, the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs are complete and the Pittsburgh Penguins are the new Stanley Cup champions. Following a brief vote among the writing staff here at The Hockey Writers, Pittsburgh forward Phil Kessel has been named the first recipient of the Jean Beliveau Award as the most valuable player in the National Hockey League’s post-season.
Kessel was the linchpin of the Penguins’ famed “HBK Line” alongside Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino, combining for 20 goals and 56 points over the course of the post-season. Kessel led the champions in goals (10), points (22) and shots (95) during the playoffs. The 28-year-old native of Madison, Wisconsin was acquired by the Penguins from the Toronto Maple Leafs last June in a six-player, three-pick deal. He edged out teammate Sidney Crosby by a single vote to claim the award.
Our version of the Conn Smythe Award, the Jean Beliveau Award is named after Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau, whose name is on the Stanley Cup 17 times (10 as a player, 7 as an executive), more than any other individual.