NHL awards: Avs' Nathan MacKinnon wins first Hart Trophy

League: NHL

Posted on: 28 Jun, 2024 at 03:46 AM

Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche star forward Nathan MacKinnon won his first career Hart Memorial Trophy for the NHL's Most Valuable Player on Thursday.

MacKinnon, 28, beat Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the honor, one of five major awards handed out at Thursday night's NHL Awards.

Connor Bedard of the Chicago Blackhawks won the Calder Trophy for outstanding rookie, Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks ran away with the Norris Trophy for outstanding defenseman, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets won his second Vezina Trophy for the league's top goaltender and MacKinnon also received of the Ted Lindsay Award, voted most outstanding player by his peers in the NHLPA.

MacKinnon was a top-three finalist for the Hart three times (2018, 2020, 2021) before finally breaking through.

"Congrats to Kuch and Connor, it could easily be any of you guys," MacKinnon said in his acceptance speech. "I think everyone knows it was such a toss-up this year. I'd like to thank the writers. I'm truly honored."

In his 11th NHL season, MacKinnon powered Colorado with career highs of 51 goals, 89 assists and 140 points in playing all 82 games.

Bedard, still just 18, lived up to the hype that surrounded him when the Blackhawks selected him No. 1 overall in last year's draft. Despite missing 14 games due to a fractured jaw, he led all rookies in goal (22) and points (61) while tying for first among rookies with 39 assists. His 61 points also led Chicago.

"It's a cool honor, for sure," Bedard said. "There's a lot of people who go into it. Obviously, it's an individual award but it's cool to celebrate it almost with your teammates and family, just with the help they've put toward it."

Bedard had 152 first-place votes, the other 42 going to Minnesota's Brock Faber. New Jersey's Luke Hughes took third.

Hughes, 24, set career highs with 17 goals, 75 assists and 92 points while playing in all 82 games for Vancouver. He became the first member of the Canucks to win the award.

"It's surreal and probably hasn't sunk in yet," Hughes said. "It was a great season for me and for our team. Took a lot of steps forward individually and as a group, so really proud of the year."

Hughes won 172 of 194 first-place votes. Roman Josi of Nashville and Cale Makar of Colorado finished a distant second and third in voting, respectively.

Hellebuyck, 31, also won the Vezina in 2020. He went 37-19-4 with a 2.39 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and five shutouts in 60 games. He also won the William M. Jennings Trophy, presented to the qualifying goalie for allowing the fewest goals during the regular season.

"I think we made really big strides this year," Hellebuyck said of the Jets. "We changed our identity a little bit and we brought a solid, winning philosophy to Winnipeg, and I think our fans and I think our team bought in. And just that all-around buy-in, I'm pretty proud of that."

Hellebuyck beat Vancouver's Thatcher Demko and Florida's Sergei Bobrovsky, who placed second and third, respectively, in voting.

--Field Level Media