Leon Draisaitl Wins N.H.L. M.V.P. Award

Leon Draisaitl Wins N.H.L. M.V.P. Award


Connor Hellebuyck was chosen by the N.H.L.’s general managers as the league’s top goalie. He was the foundation of a Winnipeg Jets team that had massive turnover in its defense corps. He faced — and stopped — more shots than any other goalie, led the N.H.L. in shutouts and finished second in wins despite his team being a fringe playoff club that was eliminated in the qualifying round.

“This year was just such a mental grind, but was also so fun,” Hellebuyck said, adding that he looked forward to greater team success in the future.

Hellebuyck finished sixth in Hart Trophy voting. The last goaltender to win the Hart was Carey Price, with whom Hellebuyck tied for the league high in games played among goaltenders this season. Tuukka Rask finished second, posting the best goals-against average while anchoring a goalie tandem for the league’s best team by record, the Boston Bruins. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who won the Vezina last year and has his Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup finals, finished third.

The Nashville Predators’ Roman Josi was voted as the league’s best all-around defenseman. Josi overtook the Washington Capitals’ John Carlson, who was an early-season favorite, with a blend of skill, flair, headiness and consistency. Opposing players gave him votes of confidence throughout the season, and so did the writers on Monday. Josi finished second in every major offensive category and seventh in the M.V.P. voting. The last Hart winner on the blue line was Chris Pronger in 2000.

Like Draisaitl, Josi headlines a blossoming hockey program, that of Switzerland. He is the first Swiss player to win the award. Mark Streit’s eighth-place finish in 2009 had been the highest finish for a Swiss defender.

“I was looking at some of the names who have won it, and those are all names you’ve idolized,” Josi said. “When I was younger, Scott Niedermayer was a guy I looked up to. I really loved his game. Chris Pronger, Chris Chelios, so many guys. Obviously, Bobby Orr, it was long ago, but to be next to those guys is pretty cool. Growing up in Switzerland, they always seemed to be so far away; it’s unbelievable my name is on there beside so many greats who have won it before.”

Carlson, the top scoring defenseman this season, was the second-place finisher ahead of Victor Hedman of the Lightning. Hedman is currently in pursuit of the Stanley Cup and possibly the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason M.V.P.


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