Connor McDavid is unquestionably the best hockey player on the planet, and the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association confirmed this notion during their midseason awards on Thursday.
Although the full voting tally wasn’t released, McDavid is the leading candidate for the Hart Trophy, with Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon placing in second, while Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak was ranked third.
McDavid leads the NHL with 76 points ahead of the All-Star break, despite having to carry the entire offense alongside fellow Edmonton Oilers star, Leon Draisaitl. At this point, anyone counting his relative lack of team success when it comes to the world’s best player argument against him is simply doing so to be contrarian.
This isn’t the only midseason tally McDavid leads, as he topped The Athletic’s poll, comprised of 392 current NHL players.
“We’re proud of the work our members put in throughout the entire season, crunching numbers, following trends and speaking to sources to gather the best ballot possible,” PHWA president Frank Seravalli said via TSN.
“The Midseason Awards are the latest example of that, beginning an independent evaluation process in January that won’t conclude until early April when the real ballots are returned.”
In the hotly-contested Calder Trophy race, Colorado Avalanche defenceman - and favourite of Yahoo Sports NHL staff - Cale Makar edged out Vancouver Canucks blueliner Quinn Hughes.
So, how does this affect the Maple Leafs? To the chagrin of 30 other fan bases and some mainstream media outlets, William Nylander was named as the Comeback Player of the Year through the midway mark, besting Ottawa Senators forward Anthony Duclair for the superlative.
Auston Matthews also ranked second in the Lady Byng Trophy midseason vote, behind MacKinnon, who might be the only person who can stake a reasonable challenge to McDavid’s individual supremacy.
There’s still another half of the season to go, but expect McDavid to walk off with a handful of individual hardware this summer, while the Maple Leafs and Avalanche’s stars continue to push for marquee honours.
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