McDavid wins back-to-back NHL outstanding player awards

Connor McDavid, who hasn't missed a game in two seasons, also picked up the Art Ross Trophy as the league's top scorer

Los Angeles (AFP) – Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid was named the National Hockey league’s most outstanding player and the New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal was picked top rookie at the NHL Awards show.

McDavid had a brilliant season with the Oilers to win a second consecutive Ted Lindsay Award in voting by players at the Wednesday affair in Las Vegas.

McDavid beat out Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon and New Jersey’s Taylor Hall, who won the Hart Trophy as NHL Most Valuable Player in voting by a media panel.

“I definitely didn’t think I was going to win, just because of everything with not being in the (Stanley Cup) playoffs and what not,” McDavid said. “I didn’t think there was much of a chance, but it’s definitely special.”

McDavid, who hasn’t missed a game in two seasons, also picked up the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer. He finished with 41 goals and 108 points in 82 games and is the third Oiler behind Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier to win the Ted Lindsay Award.

He is the first back-to-back winner since Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby in 2013 and 2014.

Vegas coach Gerard Gallant won the Jack Adams Award as top coach while Golden Knights George McPhee was named general manager of the year.

Gallant picked up 102 of the first place votes on the 108 ballots to beat out Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy while McPhee won over Kevin Cheveldayoff the Winnipeg Jets.

Gallant and McPhee shaped the Golden Knights into one of the most successful North American sports expansion teams in history. They finished with 51 wins and 109 points to win their division and reach the Stanley Cup final where they lost to McPhee’s former team the Washington Capitals. 

Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland also won the league’s leadership award while forward William Karlsson captured the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship.

Barzal had a superb first season with the Islanders and was a near unanimous pick for top rookie. He easily beat out Vancouver Canucks Brock Boeser and Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes. The 21-year-old Canadian Barzal is the first rookie to record three five point games since Montreal’s Joe Malone in 1917-18 season. 

– ‘Big boy awards’ –

“It’s something you think about. It’s the Calder. You’re a rookie. It just kind of goes together,” Barzal said. “It’s not the Ted Lindsay or the Hart. Those are the big boy awards …. hopefully one day I could be back.” 

The most emotional moment of the evening was a special tribute to the Humboldt Broncos junior team and included 10 of the 13 players who survived the April 6 fatal bus crash taking the stage at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It was the first time they had been together since their team bus collided with a semi truck on a rural Canadian road, leaving 16 people dead.

Coach Darcy Haugan, who died in the crash, was awarded the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.