Connor McDavid extended his prize case at the 2023 NHL Grants at Bridgestone Field on Monday, winning the Hart Prize for the third time and the Ted Lindsay Grant for the fourth.
The 26-year-old captain of the Edmonton Oilers isn’t taking his individual success for granted, even though he still hasn’t won the Stanley Cup, the trophy he most wants.
McDavid stated, “Certainly, it’s not lost on me what these trophies mean in the grand scheme of our game.” “To do it a number of times, it means a lot to me. Obviously, it’s not the motivating factor, but it’s special still. I know the 5-year-old me would be [upset] if I was taking it for granted or something like that, because I’m not. It’s special.”
McDavid’s receiving the Hart Trophy from Ben Stelter’s family, an avid Oilers fan who passed away in August from glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, made the evening even more special.
McDavid was unaware that he would be receiving the award from the Stelter family, which included Mike, Lea, and their daughters Dylan, who is 15 years old, and Emmy, who is 5 years old.
“It really was a surprise and obviously emotional seeing them there,” McDavid said. “Everything they’ve been through, we obviously miss our buddy Ben, but the Ben Stelter Fund is doing such great things keeping his memory alive.”
McDavid won the Hart Trophy, which is given to the NHL’s most valuable player, with 195 of 196 first-place votes, or 1,951 points. Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak, who got the other ahead of everyone else vote, completed second with 1,053 places, and Florida Jaguars forward Matthew Tkachuk was third with 741 places.
Over Pastrnak and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, McDavid won the Ted Lindsay Award, which is presented annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player as selected by members of the NHL Players’ Association.
According to McDavid, “I really feel that (the Ted Lindsay) is the most prestigious award that is given out here tonight in terms of hockey awards.” “To have your peers recognize you, they’re the ones you go to battle with every night, and for them to single you out, obviously, it’s really, really special.”
After a remarkable season, McDavid received recognition. He won the Workmanship Ross Prize as the NHL’s driving scorer with 153 places, the most since Mario Lemieux had 161 for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96. In addition, McDavid won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer with 64 goals and 89 assists, becoming the fifth player in NHL history to achieve this feat in a single season. The others were Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings (1950-51, 1952-53), Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins (1972-73), Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers (1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87), and Howie Morenz of the Montreal Canadiens (1927-28).
McDavid’s three totals were career highs for the Oilers, who selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. McDavid couldn’t help but think back on his career thus far as he looked at a banner in the Bridgestone Arena interview area that featured a picture of him on his draft day.
“That makes me think about my teammates, that makes me think about my past teammates as well, everybody that I’ve played with or I continue to play with,” McDavid said. “It just as easily could have been [Leon Draisaitl] standing on the stage as well, he’s that good. Obviously, playing with a special power-play unit, I think about those guys and just the entire group. I wouldn’t be standing up there without each and every single one of them, and I truly mean that, because everybody brings something to that group and has brought something to me as a person, and that’s players past and present.”
The Stanley Cup is the next trophy McDavid wants to win right now, and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos, who won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award on Monday, thinks he will win it soon.
“He has that desire and that drive,” said Stamkos, who won the Cup in 2020 and 2021. “Those individual awards are great in the trophy case, but he’ll be the first one to tell you winning a championship is the one you want. Those individual awards become a little nicer when you put the Stanley Cup beside them, and that’s how I’ve looked at it.
This season, Edmonton fell short of that goal, falling to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Second Round in six games. The eventual Stanley Cup champion eliminated the Oilers from the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season. They were cleared by the Colorado Torrential slide in the Western Meeting Last in 2022.
McDavid and the rest of the team will be motivated by those disappointing results throughout the summer and training camp, but that can wait until tomorrow.
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