The Ted Lindsay Award is presented annually to the “Most Outstanding Player” in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA. It remains the only award voted on by the players themselves, carrying on the tradition established by the Lester B. Pearson Award dating back to the 1970-71 season. The Ted Lindsay Award recipient is chosen by his peers as the “most outstanding player” for the regular season, representing the highest level of respect and the ultimate peer review. The Award honours Ted Lindsay, an All-Star forward known for his skill, tenacity, leadership, and for his role in establishing the original Players' Association.
The Ted Lindsay Award is named in honour of former Detroit Red Wings great Ted Lindsay, a member of the Hall of Fame and four-time Stanley Cup champion. Lindsay’s competitive nature, focus on players’ rights, and pioneering work as president of the original Players’ Association laid the groundwork for the current NHLPA.
The “most outstanding player” Award was first introduced as the Lester B. Pearson Award following the 1970-71 National Hockey League (NHL) season. The Award was named after the 14th Prime Minister of Canada and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The Lester B. Pearson Award was presented to 22 different players over 38 seasons. Some of the most decorated names in hockey history have been voted “most outstanding player,” including Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur and Alex Ovechkin.
Wayne Gretzky was the most decorated Award recipient during the Pearson era, taking home the honour on five occasions, including four consecutive years. Mario Lemieux captured the Award four times but never in back-to-back seasons. In 1993-94, Sergei Fedorov became the first non-Canadian born player to receive the Award, opening the door for other European players to receive the coveted prize, representing the international flavor of modern hockey.
2008-09 marked the final presentation of the Lester B. Pearson Award, as the Players would choose to honour one of the legends of the game and the Association by re-naming the award after Ted Lindsay. While the name has changed, the history of the Award and its significance for NHLPA members remains as strong as ever.
The inaugural recipient of the Ted Lindsay Award was Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin in 2009-10. After receiving the final two Awards of the Lester B. Pearson Award era, the Russian superstar became the first player since Wayne Gretzky in the 1980s to be named “Most Outstanding Player” in three consecutive seasons.
Kane (United States) played in 81 regular-season games for the Chicago Blackhawks as he led his team in goals (44), assists (66) and points (110) to set career highs in the latter two categories. The native of Buffalo, New York, matched Kucherov for the second-most even-strength points (80) in the league, and he placed third in NHL scoring and points per game (1.36) – trailing only the other two TLA finalists – while his personal-best average ice time (22:29) ranked third among league forwards. Kane’s 2018-19 campaign marked the second time the forward eclipsed each of the 40-goal, 60-assist and 100-point marks in a single season, having previously done so in 2015-16 when he received the Ted Lindsay Award. Kane is the only player in Blackhawks franchise history to ever receive the TLA, and he is seeking to become only the 10th recipient at 30 years of age or older in the award’s 48-season history.
Kucherov (Russia) played in all 82 regular-season games to help the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning tie a league-best record of 62 wins, while capturing his first Art Ross Trophy. The 25-year-old from Maykop scored a career-high 128 points to set a new single-season scoring record for the most by a Russian-born player, besting Alexander Mogilny’s 127 points from 1992-93. Kucherov led the league in multi-point games (38), points per game (1.56) and power-play points (48). His 87 assists also led the league and, in addition to establishing a personal best, tied the single-season record for the most by a winger (Jaromir Jagr, 1995-96). The right-winger’s 41 goals were good for a share of second-most on his team and sixth in the league, while his even-strength points (80) placed him in a tie with Kane for second in the NHL. A first-time TLA finalist, Kucherov looks to become the first Lightning player to receive the award since Martin St. Louis (2003-04).
McDavid (Canada) played in 78 regular-season games for the Edmonton Oilers as he led his team in scoring (116 points) to establish a personal best in the category. The centre from Richmond Hill, Ontario, paced all NHL scorers in even-strength points (81) – one more than the two other TLA finalists. He matched his goal total (41) from last season to earn a share of sixth place in the NHL, while his 75 assists ranked second in the league and set a new career-high mark. McDavid led all NHL forwards in average ice time (22:50), tied for second overall in game-winning goals (9) and placed third in takeaways (99). He also ranked second in the league in points, points per game (1.49) and multi-point games (36). McDavid looks to become the first three-time recipient before the age of 23, and the first player to be deemed most outstanding by his peers in three consecutive seasons since Alexander Ovechkin (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10).