(Reuters) - Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid was named the Most Valuable Player in the National Hockey League on Wednesday after the 20-year-old’s points-scoring exploits helped carry his team into the post-season.
McDavid overcame Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to become the third youngest winner of the prestigious Hart Trophy award.
Crosby and nine-time winner Wayne Gretzky were both 19 when they picked up the award for the first time.
“It’s amazing to receive this from Wayne, the greatest player of all-time,” McDavid said when presented the award by ‘The Great One’ at a post-season presentation ceremony at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
In his second season in the NHL, McDavid was the league’s top scorer with 100 points (30 goals and 70 assists) in 82 games as Edmonton returned to the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons.
“I’m so proud to play in Edmonton, so proud to be an Oiler, and so proud to play with the guys,” said the Ontario-born center, who also won the Ted Lindsay award for best player in the league, in a vote of his peers.
He was an overwhelming choice for the Hart Trophy of the 167-person voting panel of ice hockey writers, receiving 147 first place votes.
Russian Bobrovsky did not leave the awards ceremony empty-handed, though, as he was named the Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s best goalie for the second time in four years.
He had the league’s best goals-against average of 2.06.
The Jack Adams award for best coach also went to the Blue Jackets, with John Tortorella taking home the trophy, while Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie.
Along with the awards ceremony, the first expansion draft picks by the Vegas Golden Knights were revealed with veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forward James Neal perhaps the two biggest names acquired by the new franchise.
The duo make the move barely a week after being on opposing teams in the Stanley Cup Final.
“Really excited to get this started,” said former number one overall draft pick Fleury, who won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Neal joins the Knights from Nashville after scoring at least 20 goals in each of his nine NHL seasons, the last three with the Predators.
Under the draft expansion rules, Las Vegas picked one available player from each of the other 30 NHL teams.
“We had two objectives,” general manager George McPhee said.
“The first was to put a team on the ice that was entertaining and competitive, and one that the NHL and Las Vegas can be proud of.
“The second objective was to acquire prospects and surplus draft picks that can help us draft our way to success.”
The Knights will play their first NHL game on Oct. 10.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by John O'Brien