Maple Leafs star Matthews honored as NHL MVP

Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews was the big winner on Tuesday night at the NHL Awards, collecting the Hart…


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TAMPA, Fla. — Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews collected the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player and the Ted Lindsay Award as the NHLPA’s most outstanding player at the NHL Awards on Tuesday night.

Matthews, 24, scored 60 goals, leading the NHL for the second straight season. He set a Maple Leafs franchise record and the single-season record for most goals by an American-born player. He led the NHL in even-strength goals (44), goals per game (0.82) and shots (348). He was tied for sixth in points with 106 — the highest total of his career.

“I think it’s a tremendous honor to wear the blue and white, represent the city of Toronto and wear the Maple Leaf every night,” he said. “Every time you get your name etched in history, with an organization like that, it’s something I don’t take for granted.”

Matthews earned 119 first-place votes for the Hart Trophy, which is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA). Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers was second in the voting, and New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was third.

Matthews is the first Maple Leafs player to win the NHLPA’s most outstanding player award, which is voted on by the players and was first handed out in 1971. He is the second American-born player to win it, joining Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane (2015-16). McDavid and Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi were the runners-up for the Ted Lindsay.

“I’m not going to lie to you, it feels really good,” Matthews said. “It’s special to have my family here with me. There are a lot of great players in that room.”

The closest vote of the night was for the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL’s best defenseman by the PHWA. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar won his first Norris with 1,631 points in the voting, with 92 first-place votes. Josi was second (1,606) with more first-place votes than Makar (98). The points allocation on the ballot, which ranks the top five choices, is 10-7-5-3-1. Makar was named on 195 ballots, while Josi was named on 194.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was third for the Norris.

Both Hedman and Makar will play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night.

“I feel like once it’s all said and done, you can enjoy [the award],” Makar said. “But for me right now, I’ve already kinda forgot about it. You have to move on. Obviously, it’s weird circumstances with [the awards] being presented before the season’s over. As a team, we put ourselves in a great spot right now. We just need to capitalize on that.”

Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender, which is voted on by the NHL’s general managers. The other finalists were runner-up choice Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames and Juuse Saros of the Predators.

“It means a lot for me,” said Shesterkin, who completed his third NHL season. “I didn’t think about it when I came to the NHL. But sometimes you think maybe I have a chance. In the first preseason game against the Islanders, I didn’t play. One small child [fan] showed me a picture with myself and it said, ‘Future Vezina Trophy winner.’ I think, ‘Why not?’ We have a good team for that.”

Shesterkin led the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in 53 games, leading the Rangers to 110 regular-season points, the third-highest total in franchise history. He was a first-time Vezina nominee and joined Henrik Lundqvist and John Vanbiesbrouck as Rangers who won the Vezina since the current criteria for the award was set in 1981-82.

Some expected he could be a unanimous choice, but Carolina’s Frederik Andersen, Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy and the New York IslandersIlya Sorokin also had first-place votes.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider won the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year, as voted on by the PHWA. He played all 82 games for the Red Wings and averaged 23:02 in ice time per game, tops among rookies. He led all rookie defensemen in points (50), the third-highest for a first-year blueliner in the last 30 years. He led all rookies in assists (43) and power-play points (21).

Seider earned a big laugh at the awards show when he mentioned his parents weren’t in attendance because they had just gotten back from vacation in Croatia.

“They scheduled their vacation and there were just not any more days to escape from home,” he said. “They definitely watched. Very proud to bring something back [for them].”

Seider collected 170 first-place votes. Trevor Zegras, the Anaheim Ducks forward who created several highlight-reel goals this season, was second with 15 first-place votes. Maple Leafs rookie Michael Bunting, who was notable for being 26 years old, was third in the voting.

Julien BriseBois of the Lightning, Chris Drury of the Rangers and Joe Sakic of the Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2021-22 Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. The winner will be announced at the NHL draft next month in Montreal.

The NHL Awards were held at Armature Works on the off day between Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The league previously announced several awards during the playoffs: Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award: Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings; Jack Adams Award: Daryl Sutter, Flames; Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens; Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award: Noel Acton of Baltimore. Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward: Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for most gentlemanly player: Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets; King Clancy Memorial Trophy for community service: P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils.

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