McDavid all Hart
by Andrew Podnieks|30 JUN 2021
Canadian forward Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers poses for a photo with the Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in 2018 - he won both again in 2021.
photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA Today Sports / Reuters
The NHL confirmed on Tuesday night what a big part of the hockey world has taken as fact: Canada’s Connor McDavid is the best player in the league. By far. McDavid received ALL 100 first-place votes for the Hart Trophy, an honour that has occurred only once before. In 1981/82, Wayne Gretzky received all 63 votes to win the league’s MVP. 

McDavid had 105 points in 56 games for the Edmonton Oilers during the regular season, finishing well ahead of German teammate Leon Draisaitl (84 points) for the Art Ross Trophy, his third time winning that award. This is the second time he was named winner of the Hart, the first coming in 2016/17, his second year in the league. Last year’s winner was none other than Draisaitl. 

"Our team is just getting better as we go along here," McDavid said in a video call after being announced as the winner. "We just had so many guys take the next step and I'm just a part of that. Obviously if we're all continuing to do that, we're going to go and do some special things in this league."

McDavid made it a hat trick of greatness when he also was named winner of the Ted Lindsay Award, an honour voted on by the players themselves. He finished ahead of American Auston Matthews and Canadian Sidney Crosby.

"To have your fellow peers recognize you, it really means a lot," McDavid continued. "These are the guys we go up against each and every night and battle hard against. For them to recognize you, it really is a special feeling." 

Toronto forward Matthews finished a distant second, taking 69 second-place votes, while Colorado’s Canadian forward Nathan MacKinnon was third. Matthews became the first Leafs player to win the Rocket Richard Trophy by scoring 41 goals on the season, and he was the first Toronto player to lead the NHL in goals since Gaye Stewart in 1945/46. 

Another Canadian, Marc-Andre Fleury of Vegas, was named Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s best goalie. As well, he and Swedish teammate Robin Lehner claimed the William Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed after a season in which the pair led the Knights with only 124 goals allowed in 56 games.

It is Fleury’s first Vezina Trophy in a 17-year career that will no doubt take him to the Hockey Hall of Fame one day. He is third all time in wins with 492 behind only Patrick Roy (551) and Martin Brodeur (691). 

"It's such an honour," Fleury said. "Obviously I tried to still be playing right now, but I think … look at the list of guys that won this trophy. A lot of them I loved watching them and I idolized them. It's such an honour to be among them, and I think our team had such a commitment to play the right way and to play well defensively and blocking shots and making me look better. I honestly think that for a goalie to win this, you still need a good team in front of you to help you out."

Fleury’s 108 points in the Vezina voting was just a bit ahead of Tampa Bay’s Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevski (99) and well ahead of third-place finisher Philip Grubauer of Colorado/Germany (36). 

Minnesota forward Kirill Kaprizov was named winner of the Calder Trophy as top rookie. The 24-year-old Russian led the league in rookie goals (27) and points (51), and was playing in his first NHL season after tremendous success on the IIHF stage previously, notably a gold with OAR at the 2018 Olympics, a silver and bronze at the World Juniors, and a bronze at the 2019 World Championship.

“I really enjoyed everything from my play on ice to the team game. Everything this season kind of came together and it was truly special," Kaprizov said.

Jason Robertson of Dallas finished second in the voting and Alex Nedeljkovic of Carolina third. 

As well, Adam Fox of the New York Rangers won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenceman. He claimed 40 first-place votes, ahead of Colorado’s Cale Makar (31) and Victor Hedman of Tampa Bay (22). Fox led the league in average ice time, more than 24 minutes per game, and was second in scoring for blueliners with 47 points, one behind Edmonton’s Tyson Barrie. The 23-year-old Fox, a New York state native, is in only his second season with the Blueshirts and becomes only the fourth Ranger player to win the coveted award (after Doug Harvey, Harry Howell, and Brian Leetch).

"I think the next step is team success,” Fox said. “Being a Ranger is one of the best organizations in the league. We've got a lot of young pieces, and I think just having team success will benefit me and benefit everyone. That's the next step."

Previous individual trophy winners announced during earlier rounds of the playoffs included Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour, who was given the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, and
Florida/Finland’s Aleksander Barkov, as Selke Trophy winner, for being the best defensive forward.

Carolina/USA defenceman Jaccob Slavin won the Lady Byng Trophy and Philadelphia’s Oskar Lindblom, who fought a successful battle against cancer over the past year, was honoured with the Bill Masterton Trophy. It was the second time in three years a Swede has been given the award. In 2019, it was won by Lehner.

That leaves just two trophies left to be presented this year – the Conn Smythe Trophy and, of course, the Stanley Cup.