Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman.
"To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman and the coaching staff, thank you for believing in me and putting me in a position to succeed," Hedman said in accepting the award at the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas.
"To my teammates, obviously I love you guys and I wouldn't be here without you. To the Tampa Bay community and Lightning fans, you guys are the best and thanks for all your support throughout nine years."
The Lightning had finalists for two other major awards. Andrei Vasilevskiy was up for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie; the award went to the Predators' Pekka Rinne. Steve Yzerman was a finalist for general manger of the year; that award went to the Golden Knights' George McPhee, who guided Vegas to the Stanley Cup final in their first season. Yzerman won the GM honor after the 2014-15 season.
Hedman, 27, is the first Lightning player to win the Norris Trophy, giving him one of the top league-wide regular-season player honors in team history. Perhaps the only larger hardware would be Marty St. Louis winning the Hart Trophy in 2003-04 as the league's MVP during the Lightning's Stanley Cup championship season.