Edmonton’s Draisaitl takes Hart Trophy as MVP

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl won the NHL MVP award on Monday after leading the league in scoring.

Draisaitl is the first German player to win the Hart Trophy. The league announced its most prominent award winners Tuesday night prior to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton, Alberta.

The 24-year-old Draisaitl had 110 points in 71 games for Edmonton, playing home games in the arena that hosted the Western Conference playoffs and is currently where the Cup Final is being played. He also won the Ted Lindsay Award as the most outstanding player, an NHLPA honor that is voted upon by the players.

Draisaitl — awarded the Hart in a virtual presentation given by Hall of Famer and former Oilers center Wayne Gretzky — had 43 goals, including 16 on the power play.

Draisaitl joins Dirk Nowitzki in the NBA as the only German players to earn MVP honors in one of the four major North American professional sports leagues.

He finished ahead of Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin in voting by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Draisaitl’s 67 assists — like his goal total — were a career high despite the regular season being cut short amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Edmonton advanced to the NHL qualifying round, where it was eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks. Playoff performances do not count for these awards, but Draisaitl had three goals and six points in that series vs. the Blackhawks.

Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck won the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender, Nashville’s Roman Josi took home the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman, and Cale Makar was awarded the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

Makar, a defenseman and MacKinnon’s teammate in Colorado, was a first-round pick out of UMass. The 21-year-old led all first-year defensemen in goals (12) and ranked second in assists (38) and points (50) to help lead the Avalanche to the second-best record in the West.

The Oilers have had connections to three of the last four Hart Trophy winners. Draisaitl’s teammate, Connor McDavid, won the award in 2017, and former Oiler, Taylor Hall, won the Hart while with the New Jersey Devils in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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