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NHL Awards

Hart Trophy winner to be announced before Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

Draisaitl, MacKinnon, Panarin in running for award given to NHL most valuable player

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

2019-20 Hart Trophy Finalists

Hart Trophy finalists announced

Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and Artemi Panarin have been named finalists for the Hart Trophy

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Winners of the 2020 NHL Awards presented by Las Vegas will be announced beginning Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN in the U.S. as well as Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

Here is a look at the three finalists for the Hart Trophy:

Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and Artemi Panarin are the finalists for the Hart Trophy.

The award, voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is given annually to the NHL player voted to be most valuable to his team. Voting was done before the start of the 2020 NHL postseason and the finalists were announced July 21.

Draisaitl led the NHL with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) in 71 games when the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. The 24-year-old Edmonton Oilers center also was first in points per game (1.55), assists and power-play points (44), and was first among forwards in ice time per game (22:37). He tied Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak for first in game-winning goals (10), and his 66 even-strength points (Panarin, 71) and 16 power-play goals (Pastrnak, 20) were second. Draisaitl had 33 multipoint games, and at least one point in 56 games.

"I think every player tries to get better every summer and become better players and, I'm no different," Draisaitl said. "I try to do that every summer as well. This season (it) seemed to work out and hopefully we can bring that into the playoffs as a team."

Edmonton was 24-5-2 when Draisaitl scored a goal this season and 13-20-7 when he didn't.

Video: WPG@EDM: Draisaitl buries McDavid's feed for PPG

Draisaitl helped the Oilers go 37-25-9 (.585 points percentage) and advance to the Stanley Cup Qualifiers The forward scored six points (three goals, three assists) in a four-game loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

"He's been a good player for a long time now," Oilers center Connor McDavid said. "Obviously he was great this year. Huge for us in all situations. It's a super big accomplishment for him."

Draisaitl would be the fourth different Oilers player to win the award and first since McDavid in 2016-17. Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier also won the Hart Trophy with the Oilers.

"Amazing players, legends of the game, no question about it," Draisaitl said. "It's a big honor to be part of that group for sure."

MacKinnon finished fifth in the League with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists) in 69 games, and third in even-strength points (62). The 24-year-old Colorado Avalanche center had 29 multipoint games, and at least one point in 53 games. He helped the Avalanche to the second-best record in the Western Conference (42-20-8, .657 points percentage) and the Western Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a seven-game loss to the Dallas Stars. He scored 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 15 postseason games.

Video: COL@SJS: MacKinnon hammers one-timer for PPG

It's the second time MacKinnon is a Hart finalist; he was the runner-up to Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils in 2017-18. MacKinnon would be the third player in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to win the award and first since Peter Forsberg with the Avalanche in 2002-03. Joe Sakic won the Hart with the Avalanche in 2000-01.

"We're spoiled. We see him every day, but obviously the impact that he has for our team, we consider him an MVP candidate and the lots around the league are taking notice of that," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.

MacKinnon won the Lady Byng Trophy on Sept. 11. The award, voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, is given annually to the NHL player who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.

"I mean there's no doubt there," defenseman Samuel Girard told the Avalanche website. "Nate is like, if he's not the best player, he's not that far. You know he's so good on the ice."

Panarin, who signed a seven-year contract with the New York Rangers on July 1, 2019, tied Pastrnak for third in the League with 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists) in 69 games. The 28-year-old forward ranked first in the League in even-strength points (71) and first among forwards in plus/minus (plus-36). He had at least one point in 54 games, including 28 multipoint games.

"I'm really very surprised to be nominated," Panarin said. "Even after the season was paused, I never even thought I would be nominated for anything so it's very important for me and very surprising for me but it's much more important for my relatives and my loved ones."

Panarin helped the Rangers go 37-28-5 (.564 points percentage) in the regular season. He had one goal and one assist in New York's three-game loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Qualifiers.

"He's been outstanding for us all season," linemate Jesper Fast told the Rangers website. "Coming in, having the pressure, he's been carrying us the whole season with the way he's been playing, both the offensive type of game he has and he's also been taking really good responsibility playing defense and playing all three zones. He's been outstanding for us the whole year, and a very deserving nominee."

Panarin would be the fifth Rangers player to win the award and first since Messier in 1991-92.

Draisaitl, MacKinnon and Panarin were each named finalists for the Ted Lindsay award on July 14. The award is given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players' Association.

"They're obviously both very special," Draisaitl said. "Huge honor to all of us to be nominated for both awards. It's always great when you get the recognition from your teammates or guys that you go up against on a nightly basis."

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov won the Hart Trophy last season.

The 2020 NHL Awards had been scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25.

Video: NYR@NYI: Panarin buries the feed from Lindgren

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