Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers was named the winner of the 2019-20 Hart Memorial Trophy on Monday night. The trophy is awarded annually to the NHL’s most valuable player. Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche finished second and the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin finished third in the voting. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin finished tied for 13th.
The Hart Trophy voting:
FROM NHL MEDIA RELEASE
Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers won the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL on Monday.
“It’s a big deal for me,” Draisaitl said. “You know, at the same time, I know that there’s so many people that have helped me get to this point, and there’s so many people that I have to thank, you know, family, friends, coaching staff, they trust in me, my teammates, most importantly, the fans. There are so many people that, you know, play such a big role in this and they don’t get much recognition, so just from my side, it’s a huge thank you to all those people.”
Draisaitl also won the Ted Lindsay Award as most outstanding player in voting by the NHL Players’ Association after he led the League with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) and ranked first in points per game (1.55), assists, and power-play points (44). He was first among forwards in ice time per game (22:37), tied with Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak for first in game-winning goals (10), and was second in even-strength points (66) and power-play goals (16). Draisaitl had 33 multipoint games and scored at least one point in 56 of 71 games.
“Obviously, I found some chemistry with [Kailer Yamamoto] and [Ryan Nugent-Hopkins],” Draisaitl said. “We clicked at the end and had a good run, so that definitely helped. Again, the whole team throughout the entire year. Coaching staff, the trust they put in me and, you know, getting me out there over and over again even though I probably didn’t deserve it at times. You know I’m just very thankful for that.”
Draisaitl helped the Oilers (37-25-9, .585 points percentage) advance to the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, when they lost a best-of-5 series to the Chicago Blackhawks in four games. Edmonton was 24-5-2 when he scored this season and 13-20-7 when he didn’t.
“It’s a nice personal reward, or it’s a nice personal … yeah, I guess, award for myself, but there’s nothing that comes ahead of the Stanley Cup,” Draisaitl said. “I think that’s the same for any player in the League. And, you know, if I could hand those two awards back in for Stanley Cup, I would do that in a heartbeat, and I think so would everyone else. So it’s a nice day. I’m proud and I’m happy, for sure. But you know, my goal at the end of the day in my career is to win the Stanley Cup.”
He is the first Germany-born player to win the Hart Trophy.
“It’s a big honor,” Draisaitl said. “Our hockey’s getting much better (in Germany) and we’re producing more and more players, so hopefully this will somehow give little kids maybe some more joy of playing hockey and starting hockey instead of other sports. If I can help with that in any way, then I’d love to do that.”
Draisaitl is the fourth Oilers player to win the Hart. Connor McDavid won it in 2016-17, Mark Messier won it in 1989-90, and Wayne Gretzky won it eight straight seasons, from 1979-87.
Draisaitl finished with 1,309 points, including 91 first-place votes, in voting for the award by the Professional Hockey Writers Assocation before the postseason began.
Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers were the other finalists. MacKinnon finished second with 1,162 points (48 first-place votes), and Panarin had 889 points (24 first-place votes).
MacKinnon finished fifth in the NHL with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists) and third with 62 even-strength points to help the Avalanche finish with the second-best record in the Western Conference (42-20-8, .657) and qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season. The center was leading the postseason in points (25; nine goals, 16 assists) when Colorado was eliminated by the Dallas Stars in seven games in the Western Conference Second Round. MacKinnon won the Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct) on Sept. 11.
Panarin tied for third in the League with NHL career highs in goals (32), assists (63) and points (95), and he ranked first in even-strength points (71) and first among forwards in rating (plus-36). The forward helped the Rangers (37-28-5, .564) advance to the Qualifiers, when they lost a best-of-5 series to the Carolina Hurricanes in three games.
MacKinnon and Panarin also were the other finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award.
The 2020 NHL Awards had been scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
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Wow! This is a very special night for me . It means so much to me to be elected by the players and media. Most importantly the support from my teammates and the Edmonton Oilers, my family and friends and especially our fans , without you guys this is impossible . Thank you so much for everything. We will be back stronger Oilcountry 🔶🔷