Draisaitl of Oilers wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

 nhl.com  09/21/2020 23:56:17 

"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 from my side, it's a huge thank you to all those people."

Draisaitl 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, including scoring 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, where 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."

[RELATED: NHL Hart Memorial Trophy Winners]

He is the first Germany-born player to win the Hart Trophy and the fourth different Oilers player to win it. 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.

"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 finished with 1,309 points, including 91 first-place votes. 

Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers were the other finalists for the award, which was voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association before the postseason began. MacKinnon finished second with 1,162 points (48 first-place votes), and Panarin had 889 points (24 first-place votes). 

Draisaitl also won the Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by members of the NHL Players' Association. MacKinnon and Panarin also were the finalists for that award.

Video: Hart Trophy winner: Leon Draisaitl

MacKinnon finished fifth in points with 93 (35 goals, 58 assists), third in even-strength points (62) and was plus-13, helping the Avalanche to the second-best record in the Western Conference (42-20-8, .657) and qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season. He was leading the playoffs 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), ranked first in even-strength points (71) and first among forwards in plus-minus (plus-36). He helped the Rangers (37-28-5, .564) advance to the Qualifiers, where they lost a best-of-5 series to the Carolina Hurricanes in three games.

The 2020 NHL Awards had been scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

2020 Hart Trophy voting (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)

1. Leon Draisaitl, F, EDM 1,309 (91-31-26-16-4)

2. Nathan MacKinnon, F, COL 1,162 (48-66-34-15-5)

3. Artemi Panarin, F, NYR 889 (24-41-54-25-17)

4. David Pastrnak, F, BOS 369 (3-12-15-43-51)

5. Connor McDavid, F, EDM 309 (1-7-24-33-31)

6. Connor Hellebuyck, G, WPG 283 (3-13-15-22-21)

7. Roman Josi, D, NSH 29 (0-0-1-6-6)

8. Jack Eichel, F, BUF 14 (0-0-0-2-8)

9. Brad Marchand, F, BOS 12 (0-0-0-3-3)

10. Evgeni Malkin, F, PIT 8 (0-0-0-1-5)

10. Auston Matthews, F, TOR 8 (0-0-0-1-5)

12. John Carlson, D, WSH 7 (0-0-1-0-2)

13. Nikita Kucherov, F, TBL 6 (0-0-0-1-3)

13. Alex Ovechkin, F, WSH 6 (0-0-0-1-3)

15. Jacob Markstrom, G, VAN 3 (0-0-0-1-0)

16. Elias Pettersson, F, VAN 3 (0-0-0-0-3)

17. Tristan Jarry, G, PIT 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

17. Patrick Kane, F, CHI 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

17. J.T. Miller, F, VAN 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

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