Colorado’s MacKinnon wins Hart and Lindsay awards as the NHL’s top player

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon was the big winner at Thursday’s NHL awards show, taking home the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP and the Ted Lindsay Award as the league’s most outstanding player as decided by the NHL Players Association.

MacKinnon, who helped lead the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup championship two years ago and was a finalist for the Hart for the fourth time and the second time for the Lindsay, had never won either award.

“Every player I grew up idolizing has their name on these things,” MacKinnon said. “To be a part of that company is surreal. It hasn’t really sunk in and it’s a special thing.”

Three other major awards where handed out earlier Thursday.

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard was selected as the league’s top rookie, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy. Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets won the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie, and Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks was named winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the top defenseman.

MacKinnon had a career-high 140 points this season. He opened the season with a 35-game point streak at home, second all-time only to Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky, who won the Hart eight times and Lindsay five times, and Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby congratulated McKinnon after he won those awards. Crosby has won the Hart twice and the Lindsay three times.

“That’s always pretty cool to see Wayne Gretzky pop up on your phone,” MacKinnon said. “Seeing his name like 100 times on (the Hart Trophy).”

MacKinnon finished the season with 54 goals and 89 assists.

He beat out Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers for the Hart and Kucherov and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Lindsay.

MacKinnon received 137 first-place votes and 1,740 points in the Hart voting by the media. Kucherov was second with 50 first-place votes and 1,269 points.

“I think once you get there, you really want to win it,” MacKinnon said. “A couple of times I was nominated, it was never even close I was going to win it. I just wanted to enjoy my week here, and I didn’t know if it was going to happen.”

Bedard, one of the most-hyped prospects in recent years, was last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick by the Blackhawks and led all rookies with 61 points. He also was first with 22 goals and his 39 assists tied for the lead as well despite missing 14 games with a broken jaw.

Bedard, who turns 19 on July 17, is too young to drink legally to celebrate winning the trophy. He also isn’t experiencing with as much as attention as last year when Bedard entered the draft as the unquestioned top draft pick.

“It’s been more quiet this summer, which has been pretty nice,” Bedard said.

Brock Faber of the Minnesota Wild and Luke Hughes of the New Jersey Devils were the other contenders.

Hellebuyck, who also won the Vezina in 2020, allowed 2.39 goals were per game, had a .921 save percentage and recorded five shutouts. Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers and Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks were the other finalists.

Hughes, won the Norris Trophy for the first time, led all defenseman with 92 points and 75 assists. He also scored 17 goals. Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators and Cale Makar of the Avalanche were the other contenders.

Hughes has two brothers, Jack and Luke also in the NHL.

“I probably love watching my brothers play most, but you’re next on that list,” Hughes said of the other finalists.

Awards announced earlier include:

— Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward for the second time in four years.

— Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. He also won it in 2021.

— Rick Tocchet received the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year. He led the Vancouver Canucks to the Pacific Division title.

— Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill was named the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award winner.



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