This week, the NHL has started to release the finalists for all the major regular season awards. After the Vezina Trophy came out yesterday, the Ted Lindsay Award, given to “the most outstanding player in the NHL” as voted on by members of the NHLPA is up.
Crosby, 33, is the veteran of the group and has been here several times before. The legendary Penguins center has taken home the Lindsay (which used to be called the Pearson) three times and could match Mario Lemieux for second behind Wayne Gretzky’s five should he win another this year. He hasn’t taken home the award since leading the league in scoring in 2013-14, but there’s little doubt of his impact on Pittsburgh’s season. Crosby scored 24 goals and 62 points in 55 games, finishing tenth in league scoring. The Penguins were carried by their captain all year as they dealt with injuries to everyone from Brandon Tanev to Evgeni Malkin.
Matthews, 23, is the youngest of the group and is a finalist for the first time after his outstanding season with the Maple Leafs. He would become just the second American-born player to win the award, joining Patrick Kane in the 2016 season. Though he missed four games due to injury, Matthews still won the Rocket Richard trophy for the league’s top goal scorer, leading the field by eight tallies. His 41 in 52 is a pace that would have him score 65 in a full 82-game schedule, a number that has only been reached by 12 players in the history of the NHL and none since Alex Ovechkin did it in 2007-08. It wasn’t only goals though, as Matthews finished tied for fifth in league scoring with 66 points.
Still, it’s going to be difficult for either of the first two finalists to topple McDavid, who recorded 105 points in a 56-game season. He was 21 points ahead of the second-place scorer, who happened to be his teammate and reigning Ted Lindsay winner Leon Draisaitl. McDavid was 36 points ahead of the next non-Oilers player, an absolutely incredible stat in any season, let alone a shortened one. McDavid’s point pace would have given him 154 in a full 82-game season, something that has only ever been done by Gretzky, Lemieux, and Steve Yzerman. The scoring he accomplished this season was truly historic, and it seems likely to give him his third Lindsay already in a young career. Should he win it, he’ll tie Crosby, Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr, and Guy Lafleur with three wins.