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Arizona Coyotes announce team award-winners, Keller named MVP

Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller (9) celebrates his goal with the bench during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Before the start of their final game of the season Saturday, the Arizona Coyotes announced their team award winners for the 2017-18 season.

Coyotes rookie standout forward Clayton Keller took home three of the awards, winning the BMW Team MVP Award, the Desert Financial Credit Union Leading Scorer Award and the Ganem Jewelers Three Star Award. Forward Nick Cousins won the Fry’s Food Stores Hardest Working Player/Jukka Nieminen Memorial Award, and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson won the Gila River Hotels & Casinos Man of the Year Award, “for his dedication to the community,” a release said.

Keller, 19, played in his first full NHL season this year, appearing in all 82 games for the Coyotes, who drafted him No. 7 overall in 2016. His 23 goals, 42 assists and 65 points all led the team going into Saturday’s contest against the Anaheim Ducks, and was second among all NHL rookies in both points and assists — trailing only the New York Islanders’ Mat Barzal in each category.

He won the league’s Rookie of the Month award twice this season.

Cousins, 24, played his fourth NHL season and first with Arizona. He scored a career-high 12 goals and seven assists, appearing in 71 games (also a career high) and averaging 12:51 of ice time per game.

Lastly, Ekman-Larsson won the Man of the Year award. A statement from the team said the 26-year-old All-Star has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Scottsdale, participates in meet-and-greets with kids, attended the unveiling of a DEK hockey rink, escorted kids on a horseback riding adventure and much more. He was wrapping up his eighth NHL season on Saturday.

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