Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

McDavid joins Gretzky as second player in NHL history with unanimous Hart Trophy win

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid joins Wayne Gretzky as just the second unanimous Hart Trophy winner in the 97-year history of the award, edging out Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews and Avalanche's Nathan MacKinnon.

After making history with 105 points in just 56 games, Oilers superstar Connor McDavid won the 2021 Hart Trophy. McDavid also took home the Ted Lindsay Award on Tuesday. (McDavid also won the Art Ross Trophy as the points leader in 2020-21.)

Last season, McDavid’s Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl also won the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. Draisaitl ended up presenting both awards to McDavid this time around.

Speaking of making history, McDavid joined Wayne Gretzky as just the second unanimous Hart Trophy winner in the 97-year history of the award. More on that, from the NHL:

“He is just the second unanimous Hart Trophy winner in the 97-year history of the award, which was first presented in 1923-24. McDavid joins another Oilers center, Wayne Gretzky, who was the top choice of all 63 voters following his 92-goal, 212-point season in 1981-82.”

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for First and Second All-Star Team results, too.

Connor McDavid wins 2021 Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award

McDavid won the Hart Trophy, while Auston Matthews and Nathan MacKinnon were the other two finalists. In the case of the Ted Lindsay Award, Matthews and Sidney Crosby joined McDavid as finalists.

The Professional Hockey Writers vote on the Hart Trophy, awarded to the “the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.” Meanwhile, the NHLPA votes on the Ted Lindsay Award, given “to the most outstanding player in the NHL.”

As the 2020-21 season went along, McDavid progressed from having an outside chance at scoring 100 points in 56 games, to looking like he could actually do it, and then blowing past that milestone. He made it to 100 in 53 games, ending up with 105 in 56.

Beyond scoring at that historic rate, McDavid also improved defensively.

In 2019-20, one of the knocks on both McDavid and Draisaitl was that they gave up on defense almost as much as they generated on offense. You could see the good and bad of McDavid in resources like his RAPM chart at Evolving Hockey:


Maybe McDavid spent the summer reading about these criticisms, and possibly hearing a lot about how Nathan MacKinnon might instead be the best player in the world. Whatever the case may be, McDavid was off the charts offensively (literally, you need to adjust the y-axis to reflect his scoring supremacy), while being a positive influence on defense.


Extremely impressive.


Many years, there’s some room for Hart Trophy debate. In 2020-21, the only questions were:

  • Will Connor McDavid win the Hart Trophy unanimously?
  • And, how does McDavid’s season compare to the peak years of superstars such as Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux?

Here’s how the 2021 Hart Trophy voting panned out. Again, McDavid joined Gretzky as the only NHL players to earn unanimous Hart Trophy wins:


For McDavid, the next frontier is going on deep playoff runs. While he’s part of the Oilers lineage like Gretzky, his path may instead parallel Lemieux: a superstar who had to endure some turmoil and hardship on poorly managed teams before breaking through at a championship level.

McDavid winning the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award completes a big day for the Oilers, who also signed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a fascinating eight-year contract. It’s also an anniversary of a not-so-great day for the Oilers, as Edmonton traded Taylor Hall in the ill-fated deal for Adam Larsson five years ago.

McDavid, Vasilevskiy headline 2021 NHL First All-Star Team

Interestingly, Marc-Andre Fleury won the 2021 Vezina Trophy, but Andrei Vasilevskiy finished as the goalie on the 2021 NHL First All-Star Team:


(Adam Fox also won the 2021 Norris Trophy.)

The Second All-Star Team presented some intriguing results:


Click here for more on the results.

The following award NHL winners were announced earlier in the playoffs:

King Clancy: Pekka Rinne
Jack Adams Award: Rod Brind’Amour
Selke Trophy: Aleksander Barkov
Masterton Trophy: Oskar Lindblom
Jim Gregory GM of the Year Award: Lou Lamoriello
Lady Byng Trophy: Jaccob Slavin
Mark Messier Leadership Award: Patrice Bergeron
Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award: Kevin Hodgson

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.