Centers Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche were named Thursday as finalists for the 2020-21 Hart Memorial Trophy.
Voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, the award is presented “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”
The NHL award winners will be revealed during the Stanley Cup semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.
McDavid, 24, won the Hart Trophy in 2016-17 and is seeking to become the fifth player to win it multiple times before his 25th birthday, joining Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and Alex Ovechkin.
McDavid led the NHL with 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in just 56 games — 21 more points than his nearest competitor, Oilers teammate and reigning Hart Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl.
Matthews, 23, is Toronto’s first Hart Trophy finalist since Doug Gilmour finished second in 1992-93. The only Maple Leafs players to win the award are Babe Pratt (1943-44) and Ted Kennedy (1954-55).
Matthews scored an NHL-leading 41 goals in 52 games and added 25 assists, leading Toronto to the top seed in its division for the first time since 1999-2000.
MacKinnon, 25, is a finalist for the second straight season and third time overall (also 2017-18). Only two players for the Avalanche have won the Hart Trophy: Joe Sakic (2000-01) and Peter Forsberg (2002-03).
MacKinnon was fourth in the NHL with a career-high 1.35 points per game, tallying 65 points (20 goals, 45 assists) in 48 games and leading Colorado to the Presidents’ Trophy.