The award goes to the player judged to be the most outstanding player in the league. The biggest difference between the Hart and the Lindsay is who votes; the Hart is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) and the Lindsay is voted on by NHL players. It’s for this reason that players often seen the Lindsay as a more prestigious award to win, as it’s voted on by their peers.
Burns had a fantastic season, finishing ninth in NHL scoring. His 29 goals and 76 points were the highest by a defenseman, six more than Senators captain Erik Karlsson. Burns lead the Sharks in scoring by eight points (Joe Pavelski had 68), and was the most dangerous player on the ice for the Sharks on most nights. Going against Burns, however, is his 16-game goalless drought towards the end of the season. After scoring 27 goals in 59 games, Burns didn’t score between February 19 and March 28. However, that also illustrates the sheer dominance of Burns prior to the drought. Also, Karlsson had 82 points in 82 games in 2015-16 and failed to even be nominated for Lindsay or Hart. The last time a defenseman won the Award was 1974-75 when some guy named Bobby Orr won it.
Crosby is the only finalist who has won the award before, having won it three times in 2006-07, 2012-13, and 2013-14. Crosby had 44 goals and 89 points in 75 games this season. His 44 goals were good to win the Rocket Richard Trophy for the NHL’s leading goal scorer. Crosby scored 17 more points than his Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin. Crosby is three-for-three when nominated for the Award.
However, the odds-on favorite is likely Oilers captain McDavid, who was the only 100-point scorer in the NHL this season. The 20-year-old McDavid scored 30 goals and 100 points in 82 games, winning the Art Ross trophy by 11 points over Crosby and Patrick Kane, both of whom had 89 points. While the other two finalists play for perennial contenders, McDavid was a huge part of the Oilers’ jump up the standings from 29th to 8th in the league.
The winner will be revealed at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 21.