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NHL Awards

Ted Lindsay Award finalists announced

Draisaitl, MacKinnon, Panarin up for outstanding player as voted by NHLPA

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and Artemi Panarin were named finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award on Tuesday.

The award is given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players' Association. The winner will be announced during the conference finals or before the Stanley Cup Final.

Draisaitl led the League with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) for the Edmonton Oilers. The center ranked 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 was second in even-strength points (66) and power-play goals (16). He had 33 multipoint games, including at least one point in 56 of 71 games.

"It's always an honor to be recognized in that way around the League, around the players," Draisaitl said. "It's exciting, I think, for all three of us. We all worked extremely hard becoming the players that we are today. We put in the work each and every day and that starts at a young age. I've had some great coaches, some great people around me that really guided me into the person or player that I am today."

Draisaitl helped the Oilers (37-25-9, .585 points percentage) advance to the Stanley Cup Qualifiers as the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. They will play the No. 12 seed, the Chicago Blackhawks (32-30-8, .514), with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"He helps players around him that he's playing with and he's obviously and outstanding player in his own right," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. "I think our players are very happy to see he was nominated for the Lindsay award. ... The biggest thing about Leon is from a coaching aspect, he has great skill, great knowledge of the game, he can play in all situations, so he ends up having an impact on your team."

Edmonton was 24-5-2 when he scored this season and 13-20-7 when he didn't. Draisaitl would be the fourth different Oilers player to win the award and first since center Connor McDavid in 2017-18.

Video: NHL Tonight shares the Ted Lindsay Awards finalists

MacKinnon finished fifth in points with 93 (35 goals, 58 assists) and third in even-strength points (62) for the Colorado Avalanche. The center had 29 multipoint games, including points in 53 of 69 games, and was plus-13, helping the Avalanche to the second-best conference record (42-20-8, .657) and qualifying for the playoffs for the third straight season.

The Avalanche will play the St. Louis Blues (.662), Dallas Stars (.606), and Vegas Golden Knights (.594) in the round-robin of the Qualifiers to determine the top four seeds into the playoffs from the West.

"This award is a one-year thing but I think a body of work is a little bit required to get the respect of your peers and [Panarin and Draisaitl] have been so dominant for so long," MacKinnon said. "Obviously it's a tough League and the way these guys produce every year and every night is very special. For either one of these guys to win the award would be very deserving."

MacKinnon would be the second player in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to win the award. Center Joe Sakic won in 2000-01.

"If I'm voting, I'm voting [MacKinnon] for the Ted Lindsay and for the Hart (Trophy)," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "I think he'll get a lot of votes for that and hopefully he's able to win both those awards. … his pace of scoring didn't change no matter who we played him with. I mean, we played him with everyone from (Matt) Calvert to (Matt) Nieto to (Gabriel Landeskog) to Mikko (Rantanen) and almost everyone in-between, and he finds a way to produce and help us win hockey games."

Panarin, who signed a seven-year contract with the New York Rangers as an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2019, tied Pastrnak for third in the League with 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists) in 69 games. The 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.

Panarin helped the Rangers (37-28-5, .564) advance to the Qualifiers as the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will play the No. 6 seed, the Carolina Hurricanes (38-25-5, .596). He would be the fourth Rangers player to win the award and first since forward Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06.

"I'm obviously very happy to be here and I'm very happy that guys voted for me to be here," Panarin said. "I always play or try to play 100 percent and often can't play better than I'm trying to play. … When I came (to New York), I felt a little bit of pressure … The decision to read less press and look at less social media allowed me to focus on my craft."

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov won the award last season.

The 2020 NHL Awards had been scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25. independent correspondents Derek Van Diest and Rick Sadowski contributed to this report

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