LAS VEGAS — Connor McDavid has won his first Hart Trophy. Hardly anybody in hockey believes it will be his last.
The Edmonton captain claimed the award as the NHL’s most valuable player Wednesday night at the league’s post-season awards show at T-Mobile Arena, the new home of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
The league also revealed the results of the Golden Knights’ expansion draft to an arena filled with new fans of the NHL’s 31st franchise.
McDavid also won the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the league’s most outstanding performer in a vote of his fellow players.
The honours capped a remarkable sophomore season for the 20-year-old centre, who won the scoring title and led the Oilers back to the Stanley Cup playoffs after an 11-year absence. The former No. 1 pick beat out fellow finalists Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.
“I’m so proud to be in Edmonton,” McDavid said. “I’m so proud to be an Oiler, and so proud to play with the guys.”
McDavid is the third-youngest player to win the award. Only Crosby and Wayne Gretzky claimed the Hart as teenagers.
Boston centre Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy for the fourth time as the NHL’s best defensive forward, and San Jose’s Brent Burns won his first Norris Trophy as the top defenceman. Toronto centre Auston Matthews easily took the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, and Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won his second Vezina Trophy.
Nashville’s David Poile was named the NHL’s top executive after the Predators’ first Western Conference title, and Columbus’ John Tortorella won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach.
Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Anderson left the Senators during the season to support his wife, Nicholle, in her fight against throat cancer, but returned to become Ottawa’s career victories leader.
Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanlike play.
Bobrovsky got 25 of the 30 first-place votes to outdistance Braden Holtby and Carey Price after leading the league with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. Bobrovsky, the first Russian to win the award twice, and Tortorella played major roles in the Blue Jackets’ revival for the best season in franchise history.
Bergeron also won the Selke in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The two-way Bruins star beat out Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler and joined Bob Gainey as the only players to win the Selke four times.
Bergeron paid tribute to Gainey after the Montreal great presented the award to him.
“I think it’s the way that he played the game hard and was always in the right position,” Bergeron said. “Not only him on the ice, but also him off the ice as a role model, as a person, I’ve always respected him for that. It was special to receive that award from him, because he was such an important player for the NHL.”
Burns beat out Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson for the Norris in a duel of two 70-point scorers. Burns doesn’t think offensive numbers alone determine the Norris winner.
“That’s the way I play the game,” Burns said. “For me to be successful, to help the team, I’ve got to help create offence and get into the plays. If I’m not doing that, if I’m not skating and creating things, then I’m not really doing much out there.”
Matthews was the no-brainer choice for the Calder after his 69-point rookie season for the Leafs, who hadn’t had a Calder winner since Brit Selby in 1966.
The Arizona-raised centre was grateful to accept the award in Las Vegas, where he hopes more desert kids will be inspired by the Golden Knights.
“I think it’s going to be great,” Matthews said. “For myself, when the Coyotes moved (to Phoenix), that’s how I got into hockey. Seeing the teams in California kind of encouraged kids growing up to pick up the stick and start playing. (The Golden Knights) will definitely grow the game.”