Patrick Kane makes NHL history by claiming Art Ross Trophy

After the final buzzer sounded in Sunday's season finale between the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks, what had been a foregone conclusion for weeks finally became official.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane has won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer. He is the first American-born player in NHL history to capture the Ross since it has been awarded, dating back to 1947-48.

Kane put together the best season of his career to win the scoring title. He registered 106 points, which included 46 goals and 60 assists, both of which were career highs. He is one of just four players to have eclipsed the 100-point mark over the last five full NHL seasons and had a 17-point advantage over the league’s next closest top scorer -- reigning Ross winner Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars (89 points).

Kane is also the first Blackhawk to win the Ross since Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull combined to win it five straight years from 1963-64 to 1967-68. Roy Conacher is the only other Blackhawks player to have claimed the award, doing so in 1948-49.

Despite the emergence of American-born players over the years, particularly in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the NHL, Kane has done something none of his countrymen have been able to accomplish. His 106 points are tied with Craig Janney for eighth all time by a U.S. player. The all-time record for points in a season by an American-born player probably won’t be touched. Michigan native Pat LaFontaine put up 148 for the Buffalo Sabres in 1992-93. He finished second for the Art Ross to Mario Lemieux that year.

In addition to being the first American, Kane is only the eighth non Canadian-born player to win the scoring title. He joins Stan Mikita (Czechoslovakia), Jaromir Jagr (Czech Republic), Evgeni Malkin (Russia), Peter Forsberg (Sweden), Alex Ovechkin (Russia), Daniel Sedin (Sweden), Henrik Sedin (Sweden) for that distinction.

Kane's season is only made more impressive by the fact that he surpassed the century mark in one of the league's lowest scoring seasons. For example, Benn won the Ross last season with just 87 points. Additionally, Kane contributed on 45 percent of the goals the Blackhawks scored this season. He scored nearly 20 percent of them on his own.

Those numbers should help pad his candidacy for the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP. If he wins that, Kane would be the first American-born player to win that award, too. Brett Hull, who represented the United States internationally, won it in 1990-91, but he was actually born in Canada.

Looking back at Kane's season, it was dominant from start to finish.

The 27-year-old forward never went more than three games without a point and that only happened in one instance this season. There were only four occasions where he was held without a point in consecutive games. Throw in the few stray games where he was blanked and Kane missed the score sheet only 18 times this season.

The Blackhawks winger also posted that incredible 26-game point scoring streak from October into December. It was the longest scoring streak by an NHL player in 23 years and got Kane halfway to Wayne Gretzky’s untouchable record of 51. Kane did set both the all-time record for an American-born player in the NHL and set the Blackhawks franchise record for longest scoring streak.

On top of all of that, he never missed a single game over the course of the season. That was a big development considering how he was sidelined for a substantial period of time in each of the two previous seasons, including 21 games during the 2014-15 campaign.

Kane also finished the year on a high note by heading into the playoffs with a five-game scoring streak. He put up 12 points over that span, showing that he’s more than ready for the postseason.

The Art Ross adds to Kane's growing trophy cabinet. He won the Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year in 2007-08, captured the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2013, has twice been a first-team NHL All-Star, and then there are those three Stanley Cups he helped Chicago win.

And here's something else to chew on regarding Kane's history-making season season:

Dallas Stars great Mike Modano is the all-time leading scorer among American-born players. Through his first nine seasons, he put up 654 points in 633 games (1.03 points per game). Through Kane's first nine seasons, he has 663 points in 658 games (1.01 points per game). If Kane can stay healthy, he's got a great shot at overtaking Modano's 1,374 points for the all-time American NHL scoring record.

Patrick Kane made NHL history by winning this year's scoring title. (USATSI)
Patrick Kane makes NHL history by winning this year's scoring title. (USATSI)

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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