Mitch Korn

via NHL PR

Ovechkin’s Richard reign continues, and more early NHL Awards

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The NHL announced the winners of three regular season trophies following the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. Interestingly, all of these announcements could be paired with additional trophies when the full 2019 NHL Awards roll around following the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Art Ross Trophy: Nikita Kucherov won the scoring title, generating 128 points, a new single-season record for a Russian-born player. There are a bunch of great facts about Kucherov’s season in this post.

There’s a strong chance Kucherov will eventually bring home the Hart Trophy as league MVP, too. In addition to that, Kucherov’s teammate Andrei Vasilevskiy is a strong candidate to win the Vezina Trophy, and his coach Jon Cooper could very well land the Jack Adams. (I mean, probably not, but there’s a sizeable number of people who believe that he’s deserving.)

Of course, the Lightning also locked up the Presidents’ Trophy as the top team in the NHL back in March.

Maurice Richard Trophy: Alex Ovechkin scored 51 goals to become the first player to win this award as the top goal scorer on eight different occasions. It wasn’t easy, though, as Leon Draisaitl pushed it to the limit by finishing with 50 goals himself.

This infographic tells a nice story about how 2018-19 was a strong season for scorers

In case you’re wondering, 18 of Ovechkin’s 51 goals came on the power play.

William Jennings Trophy: Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner helped the Islanders allow an NHL-low 196 goals this season, putting together similarly splendid stats to win this trophy for fewest goals against.

The league’s blurb captures just how remarkable this turnaround was for Isles goalies:

Lehner and Greiss both finished the season among the top five netminders in goals-against average and save percentage. That helped the Islanders, who gave up 296 goals in 2017-18, become the second team in NHL history to allow the fewest goals immediately following the season in which it yielded the most. The original Ottawa Senators first accomplished that feat in 1918-19, the second season in League history (when there were only three teams).

Of course, the fascinating chicken-and-the-egg discussion revolves around: “How much was this turnaround about those goalies, and how much was it about the work of Barry Trotz and Mitch Korn?” Trotz is a virtual lock for the Jack Adams this year (sorry, Cooper and others), so chances are, both the goalies and their coach will come away with hardware for their work during the 2018-19 campaign.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Caps add assistant Reirden after Pens dismiss him

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On the same day that the Pittsburgh Penguins parted ways with assistant coach Todd Reirden, the Washington Capitals decided to snatch him up in that same capacity.

Reirden was an assistant in Pittsburgh for the past four seasons, mostly working with the team’s defensemen and power-play units. He was also Dan Bylsma’s replacement for two seasons with the team’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before joining Bylsma’s staff at the NHL level.

The 43-year-old played 183 NHL games in his career after being a 12th-round pick.

Barry Trotz’s coaching staff is really starting to come together in Washington. Along with adding Reirden, Trotz made sure to bring over his respected goalie coach Mitch Korn from the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

With the front office picture being clarified, the Capitals can now focus on furnishing Trotz & Co. with the kind of players who align with their vision.

(Main image via the Capitals.)

Caps promote Ross Mahoney to assistant GM

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The Washington Capitals are keeping their front office business in-house.

The team announced they’ve promoted Ross Mahoney to be the new assistant general manager under new GM Brian MacLellan.

Mahoney has been serving as the team’s director of amateur scouting for the past 16 seasons. MacLellan had been the previous assistant GM under the now deposed George McPhee.

From the team’s press release:

“Ross is an excellent judge of talent and the success he has enjoyed on the amateur scouting level speaks volumes of his expertise,” said MacLellan. “He is a great asset for our hockey operations staff and someone I greatly respect.”

Before his time in Washington, Mahoney was a scout with the Sabres and Canucks. Now he’ll be MacLellan’s right hand man and will look to get owner Ted Leonsis’ team back on track. The Capitals have a bit of work to do this summer to get the team back to the playoffs.

The Capitals are sticking with chemistry with their hirings of late. They signed Mitch Korn, formerly of the Nashville Predators, to be the new goaltending coach and work alongside new head coach Barry Trotz.

Predators hire Vanderklok as goaltending coach

The Nashville Predators new goalie coach is a familiar face to the organization.

The team announced they’ve hired Ben Vanderklok to take over the position from Mitch Korn who was not brought back. Vanderklok spent the past five years as Korn’s assistant.

The experience he has with the organization is vast as he’s worked with next season’s likely tandem of Pekka Rinne and Carter Hutton as well as numerous others who have come through Nashville and Milwaukee in the AHL.

In the team’s release, GM David Poile says hiring Vanderklok was the right call.

“Ben has worked closely with all the goaltenders in our organization and has been integral in their development and success while learning from one of the best in Mitch Korn,” Poile said. “This is a natural fit to have Ben transition into the lead role, and his relationship with Pekka Rinne and Carter Hutton will make this process seamless.”

As for Korn, Joshua Cooper of The Tennessean reports he’s headed to the Washington Capitals to be their new goalie coach. After years in the Predators organization and doing wonders with their goalies, he’ll have a chance to help Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer hold things down in D.C.