Draisaitl leads historic night for Europeans
by Andrew Podnieks|22 SEP 2020
Edmonton Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl writes history for Germany in the NHL.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
The NHL handed out its most prestigious five individual awards tonight prior to Game 2 of the Dallas-Tampa Bay Stanley Cup finals, and the big winner was Europe. 

Germany’s Leon Draisaitl won both the Ted Lindsay Award and the Hart Trophy, adding to his collection after winning the Art Ross Trophy. He became the first player from his country to win any of those awards and was joined by defenceman Roman Josi, who won the Norris Trophy and the first NHL award by a player from Switzerland.

The awards, conducted virtually because of the pandemic, were handed out by several Edmonton Oilers greats from the 1980s, notably Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, and Grant Fuhr.

The first award was the Calder Trophy, announced by Gretzky who, ironically, never won the award because he was deemed ineligible when he made his NHL debut during the 1979/80 season after a year in the competing WHA.

Colorado’s Cale Makar was the winner, and he appeared on his own virtual hookup far from Edmonton. “I’m extremely honoured,” Makar enthused. “First, I’d like to congratulate Quinn [Hughes] and Dominik [Kuablik]. They’re both exciting players to watch. I can’t give enough thanks to each and every one of my Avalanche teammates. Honestly, I owe them a ton of credit for my success this season. The coaching staff – thank you very much for the trust you showed in me the entire season.”

Messier then presented the Ted Lindsay Award to Draisaitl, whose historic season with the Oilers was dampened only by an early exit in these expanded 2020 playoffs.
 The Lindsay Award is the only trophy voted on by the players themselves.

“It’s very special to win an award voted on by your peers,” Draisaitl acknowledged, “the guys who you battle against all year. The team, the training staff, the coaches, and most important my teammates who showed confidence in me, without them all it wouldn’t even be close to being possible.”

Draisaitl received the award on a feed back home in Germany, taking the call and the news in the middle of the night. “My family is sleeping,” he said. “It obviously would have been nice to share it a little bit more with them and actually have the awards happening. But these are obviously weird times for everyone. So I'm just as happy with it here."

Next up, the Vezina Trophy for the best goaltender, presented by one of the greats of the crease, Grant Fuhr. He introduced Connor Hellebuyck, who became the first Winnipeg Jets goalie (past or present) to win the award.

“This is a huge moment in my life…I’d like to congratulate my teammates for a great season. Without them I wouldn’t have won this. I’d also like to thank my coaches for believing in me. I like to play, and I like to play a lot. The days you feel tired are the days you feel the best. I sometimes felt tired but felt calm and got into a groove and played well.”

Coffey presented the Norris Trophy to Josi, who made history for his country by being the first Swiss to win a major NHL award. 

“It’s such a humbling moment to receive this award…Hockey is the ultimate team sport, so I think my teammates. You can’t do anything without a great team. This award belongs to you guys as much as it belongs to me.”

Gretzky then returned to the screen to present Draisaitl with the Hart Trophy, his third major award of the season. 

"It's a nice personal reward… but there's nothing that comes ahead of the Stanley Cup. It's the same for every player in the league. And if I could hand those two or three awards back in for a Stanley Cup, I would do so in a heartbeat, and I think so would everyone else. It's a nice day. I'm proud, and I'm happy, for sure. But my goal at the end of the day and my career is to win a Stanley Cup."
The NHL also announced the All-Star Team where four out of six players were from Europe, two from the United States and for once none from Canada.

First All-Star Team

Goal: Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets, USA
Defence: Roman Josi, Nashville Predators, Switzerland
Defence: John Carlson, Washington Capitals, USA
Right Wing: David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins, Czech Republic
Centre: Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers, Germany
Left Wing: Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers, Russia

Tonight’s Award Winners

Calder Trophy
Winner: Cale Makar (Colorado-Canada)
Finalists: Quinn Hughes (Vancouver), Dominik Kubalik (Chicago)

Ted Lindsay Award 
Winner: Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton-Germany)
Finalists: Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado), Artemi Panarin (NY Rangers)

Vezina Trophy
Winner: Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg-United States)
Finalists: Tuukka Rask (Boston), Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay)

Norris Trophy
Winner: Roman Josi (Nashville-Switzerland)
Finalists: John Carlson (Washington), Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay)

Hart Trophy
Winner: Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton-Germany)
Finalists: Nathan McKinnon (Colorado), Artemi Panarin (NY Rangers)

Previously announced winners:

Art Ross Trophy
Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton-Germany)

“Rocket” Richard Trophy
Alexander Ovechkin (Washington-Russia) & David Pastrnak (Boston-Czech Republic)

William Jennings Trophy
Tuukka Rask (Boston-Finland) & Jaroslav Halak (Boston-Slovakia)

Lady Byng Trophy
Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado-Canada)

Masterton Trophy
Bobby Ryan (Ottawa-United States)

Selke Trophy
Sean Couturier (Philadelphia-Canada)

Jack Adams Award 
Bruce Cassidy (Boston-Canada)