It might fall into the category of things we’re not ready to hear about or celebrate, but Auston Matthews is one of the three finalist for the most outstanding player in the NHL.
Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Sidney Crosby are finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, as voted on by their @NHLPA peers.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 2, 2021
Auston’s Rocket Richard winning year and 40+ goal season in 56 games is why we’re seeing his name up there for sure. In addition, Matthews has begun playing a much more complete game, and can be dominant in his own zone as well. He’s been consistent throughout the regular season, when the voting takes place, and only had a brief lull as he recovered from a wrist injury. The playoffs don’t factor into this, and while they were statistically underwhelming, we can certainly see where Matthews was playing a competitive game, but not getting the results we needed.
Now, here’s the catch. He’s nominated for the same award as Connor McDavid. Connor McDavid who had an absolutely mammoth finish to the season, where he put up over 100 points in a 56 game season. It’s an uphill battle. Also that Crosby guy is pretty good.
In a bizarre coincidence, all three finalists were bounced in the first round of the playoffs, which may speak to the league’s problem with putting their stars at center stage. The fact that Nathan MacKinnon wasn’t a finalist will be a point of contention for many now that he is without a doubt the most electrifying player left in the playoffs.
While we’ll be rooting for Auston, we are very grounded in reality, and are prepared for Oilers fans planning a parade to celebrate another individual award win.