Nikita Kucherov has been named the winner of the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award as the Most Valuable Player and Most Outstanding Player in the NHL. This was Kucherov’s first time as finalist for both awards. In addition to the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award, Kucherov was presented with the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer for the 2018-19 season giving him three trophies on the night.
In his acceptance speech for both awards, in his typical fashion, Kucherov kept it short and sweet. He thanked the people that needed to be thanked, including his family, his wife, and his son, as well as his teammates and coaches. It was just the kind of speech that you’d expect of a player that is as humble about his individual accomplishments as Kucherov is.
Kucherov is the second Tampa Bay Lightning player to ever win the Hart Trophy, joining Martin St. Louis’s 2003-04 win. He also joins St. Louis, the 2003-04 winner, as the only players in Lightning history to win the Ted Lindsay Award. He is also the fourth Russian to win the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay, joining Sergei Fedorov and Evgeni Malkin who have won both trophies once each, and Alex Ovechkin who has won both trophies three times.
Kucherov was up against Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid for the Hart Trophy. Joining Kucherov as finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award were Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane, the second and third leading scorers in the NHL this year.
The Ted Lindsay Award is special as it is voted on by the members of the NHLPA. It is a great honor to be recognized by your peers in the NHL as the best player. While the Hart Trophy and Lindsay Award voting often are mirrored, there is a little less politics involved as the media votes on the Hart Trophy. For McDavid and Kane, their teams did not make the playoffs which often disqualifies a player in the eyes of the media for the Hart Trophy. Even with that, McDavid still finished as a finalist in the Hart voting.
The voting for the Hart Trophy though was not particularly close with Kucherov winning by a large margin. He garnered 1,677 points to Crosby’s 739 and McDavid’s 465. He received 164 first place votes, three seconds, two thirds, and two fourths. Croby received three first place votes, McDavid one, Johnny Gaudreau two, and Nathan MacKinnon one. Kucherov got 98.07% of the vote, which is the most since Evgeni Malkin won in 2011-12 with 98.86% of the vote. It is the second highest vote percentage since Mario Lemieux won with 99.2% of the vote in 1992-93.
Crosby finished the season with an even 100 points with 35 goals to finish tied for 5th in the NHL in points. He, along with Brad Marchand who tied him with 100 points, was the second highest point scorer among players that qualified for the playoffs behind Kucherov. Crosby had an outstanding season. He has won the Hart Trophy twice and has been a finalist a total of seven times.
McDavid finished second in scoring behind Kucherov with 116 points. His 41 goals tied him with Kucherov and four other players for 6th in the NHL. McDavid’s 75 assists came in second in the NHL behind Kucherov. McDavid has won the Ted Lindsay award the past two seasons. He also won the Hart Trophy in 2016-17 and this was his second time as a Hart Trophy finalist.
Patrick Kane came in third in the NHL in scoring with 110 points. He also scored 44 goals good for 5th in the NHL. His 66 assists ranked 6th in the NHL and fifth among forwards. Despite being past the prime years for NHL players, Kane has continued to produce offensively in the NHL. He previously won the Ted Lindsay Award in 2015-16.
For Kucherov, this is the perfect cap on a dominant season that saw him get the attention he’s deserved from the mainstream media for years. Thanks to his eye popping scoring totals, he’s now permanently on the map as one of the very best players in the NHL.