NHL hands out the hardware
by Andrew Podnieks|22 JUN 2022
Auston Matthews poses with the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award.
photo: John Bazemore / AP Photo / Keystone
The NHL announced its final five winners last night in Florida during an off night in the Colorado-Tampa Bay Stanley Cup finals. Usually the awards show occurs after the season is complete. 

The big winner was Toronto Maple Leafs and Team USA forward Auston Matthews, who was named winner of both the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award, both coming at the expense of Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, who was a runner-up in the two categories. Goalie Igor Shestyorkin (New York Rangers/Russia) was the other finalist for the Hart while Roman (Josi (Nashville/Switzerland) was third in the Lindsay voting.

Matthews led the league with 60 goals, giving him the Rocket Richard Trophy as well and making Leafs history at the same time. No Leafs player has ever won three individual awards in one season. As well, Matthews becomes the first Leaf since Ted Kennedy in 1955 to win the Hart, and he is the first Leafs player ever to win the Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay Award.

“I think it's a tremendous honour to wear the Blue and White and represent the city of Toronto and wear the Maple Leaf every night," Matthews said. "The guys that have come before us, and the history in this organization, it means a lot. So any time you get your name mentioned in history in an organization like that, it's definitely pretty special and something I don't take for granted."

The Norris Trophy was won by Cale Makar (Colorado/Canada), who was in attendance despite playing in the Cup finals. The other finalists included Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay/Sweden), Makar’s opponent in the finals and also at the show, and Roman Josi (Nashville/Switzerland).

“I feel like once it's all said and done, you can enjoy [the award],” Makar offered. “But for me right now, I've already kinda forgot about it. You have to move on. Obviously, it's weird circumstances with [the awards] being presented before the season's over. As a team, we put ourselves in a great spot right now. We just need to capitalize on that [in game four]."

The Vezina Trophy went to Shestyorkin, who had a 36-13-4 record in 53 games and led the league with a 2.07 goals-against average. Finalists included Jacob Markstrom (Calgary/Sweden) and Juuse Saros (Nashville/Finland). 

“It means a lot for me," Shestyorkin enthused. "I didn't think about it when I came to the NHL. But sometimes you think maybe I have a chance. In the first pre-season game against the Islanders, I didn't play. One small child showed me a picture with myself and it said 'future Vezina Trophy winner.' I think, 'Why not?' We have a good team for that."

The Calder Trophy voting was a bit of a surprise, and the winner was 21-year-old Moritz Seider (Detroit/Germany). He admitted during his speech he didn’t think he was going to win and hadn’t prepared anything to say, and he joked that his parents weren’t with him because they had preferred to go on vacation in Croatia! Nevertheless, Seider is the first German ever to win the league’s rookie of the year honours. Finalists included Michael Bunting (Toronto/Canada), probably the pre-show favourite, and Trevor Zegras (Anaheim/United States), who produced one of the most memorable goals of the year with his lacrosse pass from behind the net to teammate Sonny Milano.

Previously announced winners included Darryl Sutter (Calgary/Canada) for the Jack Adams Award (announced June 2), Carey Price (Montreal/Canada) for the Bill Masterton Trophy (June 3), Patrice Bergeron (Boston/Canada) for the Selke Trophy (June 5), Kyle Connor (Winnipeg/United States) for the Lady Byng Trophy (June 6), and P.K. Subban (New Jersey/Canada) for the King Clancy Trophy (June 7). 

Sutter, 63, won the Jack Adams for the first time in his 20 years as an NHL head coach. He led the L.A. Kings to Stanley Cup victories in 2012 and 2014, and this past season guided the Calgary Flames to a 50-21-11 record, which put the team atop the Pacific Division. 

Price had a terribly frustrating season beyond what most athletes can endure. He had off-season knee surgery, but during his rehab he started to doubt his ability to return and soon after entered the league’s substance-abuse program. Out of the glare of the spotlight, he dealt with tough personal issues and didn’t play a game until just before the end of the regular season. 

"There's obstacles in life that will always challenge you," Price said after learning of his winning the award. "And I think having the ability to overcome those and keep things in perspective and keep moving forward is something that we should all be teaching our children and loved ones." 

Price, an Olympic gold medallist in 2014 and World Cup champion two years later, finally played his first game on April 15 and was ecstatic to be back.

"It was just an exceptional day for myself," he said the next day. "I had a great sleep. It was just an A-plus day. If it is [my final game], then that would be a great way to do it." It wasn’t. He played four more, but he will re-evaluate his knee in the summer. 

Bergeron won the Selke as top defensive forward for the fifth time in his distinguished career, a record. Previously, only Bob Gainey had won it as many four times, and, in fact, the honour itself pretty much originated as a means of honouring Gainey’s unique talents on both sides of the puck. 

"I'm humbled,” Bergeron said. “That's the first word that comes to mind. It is an individual award, but obviously you can't get any of those without the help of your teammates. There are so many people to thank, and there's a reason why. I’ve been fortunate to play on great teams and win five Selkes, and, yeah, it goes to them obviously. As I said, it's humbling. It's the only award that I have."

Not quite. Bergeron became the 25th member of the Triple Gold Club in 2011 after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup and has won two Olympic gold, World Championship gold, World Junior Championship gold, and a World Cup championship. 

Connor is only the second member of the modern Jets to win an individual award after goalie Connor Hellebuyck took home the Vezina Trophy two years ago. Connor had a career year offensively in 2021-22, scoring 47 goals and 93 points, and he did so all the while incurring only two minor penalties in 79 regular-season games. 

“I think it’s being smart with your feet and getting into the right position to be able to check with your stick,” Connor said, trying to explain his superior, penalty-free play. “I just play my game. So, in that aspect, is it hard to not take penalties? I don’t think about it at all when I’m on the ice.”

Subban, a teammate of Price in Sochi in 2014 and a two-time gold medallist at the World Juniors, earned his Clancy Trophy on his fourth career nomination for the NHL’s humanitarian award thanks to his commitment to racial justice, under-served youth, and fighting Covid-19. “It's always a privilege to really receive individual accolades in the NHL," he said in a statement. "How many great players there are, and how good those players are at what they do and that includes the things they choose to do off the ice. To be amongst not just finalists, but winners of the award is pretty special. I'm probably most excited to accept this award for my personal team and my foundation team. They do a lot of work at times for me when I can't do the work because of my job, and they're just as deserving for this award as I am."

Three months ago, Subban donated $1 million for Le Spot, a mental health clinic in Montreal. He also matched donations for $100,000 to help Ukrainian cancer patients for life-saving treatments. In 2020, Subban was named co-chair of the Player Inclusion Committee under the Executive Inclusion Council, which is comprised of NHL owners, former players, and team and league executives which provides help to underrepresented groups in hockey.