Though the Hart Trophy for league MVP may get more fanfare, the Ted Lindsay Award may be just as impressive. It’s given to the league’s best player as voted by his peers, an ultimate sign of respect in the NHL. This year, the NHLPA has announced that Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon and Taylor Hall are the three finalists for the award.
McDavid is used to this kind of attention, having won the award last season. He beat out Sidney Crosby and Brent Burns after scoring 100 points and winning the Hart and Art Ross. He led the league in scoring again this season with 108 points, and could very well take home the Ten Lindsay for the second consecutive year.
MacKinnon has always been an effective player for the Colorado Avalanche, but the 22-year old exploded for 97 points this season in just 74 games. The first-overall pick from 2013 was an absolute force for his team, dragging them into the playoffs just a year after finishing last in the entire NHL.
For Hall, a nomination of this magnitude is something of sweet redemption after he was traded from the Edmonton Oilers two years ago. Seen as a perimeter player on his former club, he was sent to New Jersey in exchange for Adam Larsson and admittedly struggled with the disappointment in his first season in the East. This year, he shook off any rust and threw the whole of the Devils offensive attack on his back. With 93 points he set or matched career-highs in almost every category, and outscored the next highest Devil (Nico Hischier) by 41 points.
Amazingly there were other incredible seasons that won’t even be given the distinction of a finalist for the award. Claude Giroux and Nikita Kucherov both broke the 100-point plateau for the first time in their careers, while three Pittsburgh Penguins—Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Crosby—all finished in the top-10 in scoring. Blake Wheeler showed off his versatility by moving from the wing to center for a large chunk of the season, and still finished with a career-high 91 points. Anze Kopitar proved that last year was the anomaly, as he jumped from 12 goals and 52 points in 2016-17 to 35 and 92 this season.
The winner of the Ted Lindsay Award can be especially proud of his performance this year in the face of so many other worthy candidates. We’ll find out who gets to take it home at the NHL Awards event on June 20th.