TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov has been named a finalist for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the league MVP, as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Kucherov was named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, which is similar, Thursday. The Ted Lindsay goes to the league’s most outstanding player and is voted on by the players. Kucherov is the favorite for both awards.
The NHL Awards will be held on June 19, in Las Vegas.
Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby are the other two finalists, both have won the award previously.
Kucherov won the Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the regular-season scoring leader, with 128 points. He had more than anyone since Mario Lemieux in 1996, and set the single-season record among Russians this year.
Kucherov led the league in multi-point games (38), points per game (1.56), power-play points (48) and assists (87). He tied for second in even-strength points (80); McDavid had 81. Kucherov recorded a point in 75.6 percent of the Lightning’s games.
He is a first-time finalist and would be the second Lightning player to win the Hart Trophy (Martin St. Louis, 2004).
McDavid had a hand in 50.7 percent of Edmonton’s goals. He was second in points (116) and first in even-strength points (81). He tied Kucherov (and four others) for sixth in goals scored (41). He would be the first ever three-time recipient. He won the award in 2017.
Crosby notched his fifth 100-point season, finishing sixth in the league at 100. He scored 35 goals in 79 games played. Crosby has been nominated for the Hart seven times and won it in 2007 and 2014.