McDavid, Matthews, MacKinnon finalists for NHL MVP honors
NEW YORK (AP) — Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon have been named the finalists for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.
McDavid, considered the likely winner of the award, dominated the 2020-21 scoring race with 105 points in 56 games — 21 more than runner-up and Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl, who won MVP honors last year. A McDavid win would make the Oilers the first team with different Hart Trophy winners in consecutive seasons since the Boston Bruins in 1968-69 (Phil Esposito) and 1969-70 (Bobby Orr).
McDavid, who is Edmonton’s captain, won the Hart Trophy in 2017 and finished third in the voting in 2019. He’d be the fifth player in NHL history to capture the award multiple times before his 25th birthday, joining Wayne Gretzky (six times), Orr (three), Gordie Howe (two) and Alex Ovechkin (two).
Matthews scored a league-leading 41 goals in 52 games to help Toronto earn the top seed in the North Division. The Scottsdale, Arizona, native became the first Maple Leafs player to lead the league in goals since Gaye Stewart in 1945-46.
MacKinnon had 20 goals and 45 assists for 65 points in 48 games to pace the Avalanche’s top-ranked offense and help them win the Presidents’ Trophy for the best team during the regular season. He is a finalist for the third time in four years.