The NHL Awards are something every hockey fan looks forward to. Fans, commentators, and players spend weeks discussing what players they think should take home the highest accolades, and it gives fans something to look forward to when their teams have been eliminated from the postseason. This year, starting June 1, the NHL announced one award winner per day over the course of seven days in order to build further excitement for the one-hour ceremony that took place on June 21 featuring the five most prestigious awards. Here are some of the most noticeable moments of the big night.
1. Auston Matthews Wins Two Awards
Auston took home both the Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player and the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player. The Toronto center tallied sixty goals during the 2021-22 season, leading the league in addition to tying for sixth in the league for overall points. Additionally, the sixty goals he scored were the most scored by a single player in Maple Leafs history as well as the most scored by an American-born player in a season. Because of this, it’s no surprise he earned the right to be recognized as both the most outstanding and valuable player. Kenan Thompson, the night’s host, poked fun at Toronto’s infamous reputation for being eliminated from the first round of playoffs by commenting, “Congrats to Auston Matthews, it's nice to see the Leafs winning something in June,” before wrapping up the show.
2. Connor McDavid’s Absence
The Oilers superstar was up for the Ted Lindsay Award and the Hart memorial Trophy, the same two awards Matthews ended up winning. While McDavid has won these awards in previous years, it was a bit of a shock to some that he did not attend this year's ceremony. His absence may be because of cheating rumors circulating after a video of him with a girl other than his current girlfriend appeared on Twitter. Thus, perhaps McDavid decided to opt out of this year's awards in order to minimize negative press.
3. Moritz Seider wins the Calder Trophy
While many hockey blogs were expecting either Anaheim center Trevor Zegras or left wing Michael Bunting to win, Seider was named Rookie of the Year. The young defenseman tallied 1,853 points in voting over Zegras’ 1,191 and Bunting’s 877. Slight controversy surrounded Bunting because some people didn’t want to classify him as a rookie. He made his NHL debut with the Arizona Coyotes back in 2018 and played his first full NHL season during 2020-21. Trevor Zegras was also heavily discussed because of the massive amounts of attention he has brought to the league from his jaw dropping goals. I think we all remember the “Anaheim Alleyoop.” Seider was mentioned in Calder discussions with 43 assists during the regular season and 50 overall points; he certainly has a bright future ahead of him.
Now that this year's awards are over, hockey fans can look forward to watching the Stanley Cup Finals. Will Tampa Bay be the first team since the 1980-83 New York Islanders to three-peat? Or will Colorado win the Stanley Cup for the third time in franchise history? We’ll just have to wait and see.