Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid were named finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award on Wednesday.
The award is given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players’ Association. The winner will be announced as part of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone during the Stanley Cup Semifinals or Stanley Cup Final.
Crosby was 10th in the NHL with 62 points (24 goals, 38 assists) in 55 regular-season games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who finished first in the MassMutual East Division and qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 15th straight season. The center led Pittsburgh in points per game (1.13), even-strength points (39; 18 goals, 21 assists), power-play points (22; five goals, 17 assists) and shots on goal (159), and he ranked first among its forwards in ice time per game (20:24). Crosby became the first player in Penguins history to score at least 20 goals in 13 NHL seasons and averaged at least one point per game for the 16th straight season to start his NHL career. Only Wayne Gretzky started his NHL career with more consecutive point-per-game seasons (19), and Gretzky (19) and Gordie Howe (17) are the only players who have more point-per-game seasons than Crosby.
Crosby has won the award three times (2006-07, 2012-13, 2013-14) and would be the third player to win it at least four times, joining Gretzky (five times) and Mario Lemieux (four times). In addition to Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr (two times) and Evgeni Malkin (once) have also won the award with the Penguins.
Matthews led the NHL with 41 goals in 52 games to become the first Toronto Maple Leafs player to do so in 75 years (Gaye Stewart, 37 goals; 1945-46) and the first United States-born player to do so in 24 years (Keith Tkachuk, 52; 1996-97). The center led the NHL in game-winning goals (12) and shots on goal (222), was second in even-strength points (53; 31 goals, 22 assists), and finished tied for fifth with 66 points.
Matthews helped Toronto finish first in the Scotia North Division and qualify for the playoffs for the fifth straight season. He is a first-time finalist and would be the first Maple Leafs player to win the award.
McDavid led the NHL with 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists), finishing 21 ahead of Edmonton Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl, who was second with 84. The center led the NHL in assists, even-strength points (68; 24 goals, 44 assists) and power-play points (37; nine goals, 28 assists), and was second in goals and game-winning goals (11) behind Matthews. McDavid scored at least one point in 45 of 56 games and had 33 multipoint games, including 18 with at least three points. It was the third time he led the NHL in scoring (100 points in 2016-17; 108 points in 2017-18).
McDavid helped the Oilers to a second-place finish in the North to qualify for the playoffs. He has won the award twice (2016-17, 2017-18) and would be the second straight Oilers player to win it (Draisaitl last season). He can become the seventh player to win the Ted Lindsay Award at least three times. In addition to Gretzky, Lemieux and Crosby, Jagr, Guy Lafleur and Alex Ovechkin each is a three-time winner.