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NHL Awards

Connor McDavid of Oilers 'proud' to be Hart Trophy finalist

Center, candidate for League MVP, credits teammates for success in Edmonton this season

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Center Connor McDavid led the NHL in points during the regular season, helped the Edmonton Oilers make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2006, and was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy as MVP on Monday.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky were the other finalists, with the winner to be announced at the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on June 21.

"It's definitely something to be proud of, I'm very proud of that," McDavid said after practice Tuesday when the Oilers prepared for Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Place on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports). "It's a credit to my teammates and being able to play for this great team and being able to play with all these great players."

McDavid, 20, has six points (three goals, three assists) in nine playoff games. Edmonton leads Anaheim 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy, leading the NHL in scoring during the regular season with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) in 82 games. He finished 11 points ahead of Crosby (89 points; 44 goals, 45 assists) and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (89 points; 34 goals, 55 assists).

Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: McDavid snipes in top-shelf beauty

"I'm very lucky to play with the guys that I play with and have the team around that we do," McDavid said. "To be able to play with guys like Leon [Draisaitl] and [Patrick Maroon] and [Milan Lucic] and the list goes on and on, it makes playing hockey lot of fun."

Mark Messier was the last Oilers player to win the Hart Trophy in 1990. Wayne Gretzky won the Hart Trophy with Edmonton a record eight consecutive times from 1980-87.

"What else can you say that hasn't been said about him?" Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot said. "In my eyes, he's the clear-cut winner of that award. He's done so many things in the last couple of years to help turn this organization around, and I've said it before, the team goes as he goes and he's our leader and we follow him."

McDavid, who was selected No. 1 by Edmonton in the 2015 NHL Draft, was named captain of the Oilers prior to the start of the season, becoming the youngest captain in NHL history. Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said that was a defining moment for McDavid.

"When he accepted it and was awarded that leadership role, I think it just went up and he realized that he was going to have to be on the forefront and produce on a nightly basis, not only offensively, but defensively, practice habits, carry the spirit of the team, answering for the group an I think he's done a real good job," McLellan said. "I think that elevated his priority list."

McDavid was the first Oilers player with 100 points in a season since Doug Weight had 104 points (25 goals, 79 assists) in 1995-96. McDavid had a League-best 30 multipoint games and 11 three-point games and finished the regular season on an NHL-best 14-game point streak with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists).

"It's incredible, a guy like him doesn't come around too often, so for us to be part of that and have him on our team, it's pretty great," Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "He's already making such a huge impact on the League and definitely on our team. He's got my vote. We weren't surprised to see it [McDavid be a finalist] yesterday."

Nugent-Hopkins said he's not surprised McDavid has accomplished so much so early in his career.

"I think from the outside world it's probably hard to comprehend that we'd see it this early but we saw him last year and at the start of the year," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I got to play in the World Cup [of Hockey 2016 with Team North America] on the same team as him, so I saw his game and I don't know if I expected it, but I wasn't going to be too surprised by it."

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