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Avalanche's MacKinnon wins Hart Trophy as NHL's MVP


LAS VEGAS — Nathan MacKinnon finally has his Hart Trophy.

After close calls in both 2018 and 2020, the Colorado Avalanche centre was voted the NHL's most valuable player for the 2023-24 season Thursday at the league's annual awards show.

MacKinnon also won the Ted Lindsay Award, which honours the most outstanding player in a poll of the NHLPA's membership.

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes took the Norris Trophy as the league's top blueliner, while Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck claimed Vezina Trophy honours as the best netminder.

Chicago Blackhawks centre Connor Bedard secured the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year at the sprawling Fontainebleau hotel and casino.

MacKinnon finished second to Taylor Hall, then of the New Jersey Devils, in the Hart vote six years ago and was runner-up again — this time to Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl — in 2020. He also finished third in the voting in 2021.

The 29-year-old was asked back in September 2022 if winning MVP honours was still important to him after the past disappointment.

"There was a time when I cared about it a lot," he told reporters at the NHL/NHLPA player media tour. "But I realize I can't put my faith in how 'Jimmy from Philly' or whoever votes."

MacKinnon topped Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov and Oilers star Connor McDavid in this season's Hart vote. He bested Kucherov and Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews in the Ted Lindsay race.

Hellebuyck, who grabbed his first Vezina in 2020 after that season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, beat out Vancouver's Thatcher Demko and Florida Panthers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.

Hughes won his first Norris over two previous winners — Colorado's Cale Makar and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators.

Bedard took the Calder over Minnesota Wild defenceman Brock Faber and New Jersey Devils blueliner Luke Hughes.

The NHL announced its other winners throughout the playoffs. Vancouver's Rick Tocchet secured the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach, while Florida captain Aleksander Barkov of the Stanley Cup champion Panthers took the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward.

Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Jaccob Slavin won the Lady Byng Trophy, which goes to the player judged to have exhibited both sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability, for a second time.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

New York Rangers captain Jacob Trouba got the nod for the Mark Messier Leadership Award. Islanders counterpart Anders Lee won the King Clancy Trophy for leadership on and off the ice, as well as contributions in the community.

And Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars won the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

Kucherov secured the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer in the regular season for the second time with 144 points. Matthews claimed the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the leading goal-scorer for a third time with 69.

The Hart, Norris, Calder, Selke, Lady Byng and Masterton trophies are voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

The Jack Adams is chosen by the NHL Broadcasters Association and the Vezina is selected by league GMs.

The NHL draft goes Friday and Saturday at Sin City's glitzy Sphere auditorium.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2024.