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NHL Awards staff picks: Mark Messier Leadership Award

Tavares, Ovechkin, Weber recognized for leadership on, off the ice @NHL

The 2016 NHL Awards will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 22, and staffers will be providing their selections for the winners.

The Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award is given "to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season," The finalists for the 2015-16 season are forwards John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, and defenseman Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators.

Here are's staff picks for the Mark Messier Leadership Award:

Amalie Benjamin, Staff Writer

John Tavares: The captain of the New York Islanders has become one of the dominant players in the game, and has provided leadership both on and off the ice for his team and community.

Brian Compton, Deputy Managing Editor

John Tavares: The epitome of "leading by example," Tavares helped the Islanders win a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1993 when he scored in double overtime of Game 6 against the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference First Round. But the Islanders captain takes pride in his "Teammates Program," which has provided tickets and VIP game experiences for sick and underprivileged children for the past five seasons.

Nicholas J. Cotsonika, Columnist

John Tavares: He carries himself like the great leaders in the game and has the highest standards for the Islanders, forever focused on winning the Stanley Cup.

Tom Gulitti, Staff Writer

John Tavares: The Islanders captain helped the organization advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1993, scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime of Game 6 of their first-round series against the Panthers.

Adam Kimelman, Deputy Managing Editor

Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin has bought in to coach Barry Trotz's philosophies and the result has been back-to-back trips to the second round of the playoffs and the Presidents' Trophy this season. He has maintained his high level of offensive production.

Mike G. Morreale, Staff Writer

Alex Ovechkin: The Capitals captain had his seventh 50-goal season in 2015-16 to help Washington set team records with 56 wins and 120 points. He is known for his tremendous work with special-needs children and is an official spokesman for the American Special Hockey Association that hosts nearly 60 children and adolescents during a skating session in October.

Shawn P. Roarke, Director of Editorial

John Tavares: Tavares did it all for the Islanders this season, playing almost 20 minutes per game and leading them in scoring with 70 points. In the playoffs, he was a point-per-game player (11 points in 11 games) and has helped the Islanders make the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since a three-season run from 2002-04.

Dan Rosen, Senior Writer

Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin is a leader by example. He became a better 200-foot player because Trotz told him it would help him and the team. It worked. Ovechkin scored 50 goals, but also finished with a plus-21 rating and the Capitals won the Presidents' Trophy with 120 points. He also has developed a relationship with special needs children in the D.C. area and has become a pseudo-ambassador for the American Special Hockey Association.

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