Oilers' McDavid, Leafs' Matthews, Avs' MacKinnon named Hart Trophy finalists
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews and Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon have been named the finalists for the 2021 Hart Trophy.
The award is given out annually by the NHL to “the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”
McDavid, considered by many to be the front-runner for the award, dominated the 2020-21 scoring race with 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in 56 games - 21 more points than runner-up and Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl, who won the award last year.
The 24-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., - who won the Hart Trophy in 2016-17 and finished third in voting in 2018-19 - is seeking to become the fifth player in NHL history to capture the award multiple times before his 25th birthday after Wayne Gretzky (6x), Bobby Orr (3x), Gordie Howe (2x) and Alexander Ovechkin (2x).
A McDavid win also would make the Oilers the first team with different Hart Trophy winners in consecutive seasons since the Boston Bruins in 1968â€‘69 (Phil Esposito) and 1969-70 (Bobby Orr).
Matthews scored a league-leading 41 goals in 52 games to help Toronto earn the top seed in the North Division. He became the first Maple Leaf to lead the league in goals since Gaye Stewart in 1945-46.