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Phil Varone wins the Les Cunningham Award

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Varone named league MVP in his first season with Lehigh Valley.

Len Redkoles / NHLI via Getty Images

Today the AHL announced that Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Phil Varone has won the Les Cunningham Award. For those who may not follow the AHL all that closely, this award is essentially their Hart Trophy.

Varone is currently tied for the league lead in points with 70, and leads the league in 5-on-5 points with 47. It goes without saying that Varone’s play has been instrumental to the success that the Phantoms have had this season. His 0.86 average Game Score is second on the Phantoms, behind only Travis Sanheim.

This has been a career year for Varone, a year that saw him set new highs in both goals and assists this season while logging big minutes at both 5-on-5 and the power play. He’s also seen time on the penalty kill and has been leaned on heavily to win faceoffs there, especially while Corban Knight has been out of the lineup with an injury.

Varone was clearly the Phantoms’ MVP this season, and being named league MVP is an honor that’s well deserved.