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Nathan MacKinnon joins list of Ted Lindsay Finalists

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MacKinnon gets his first awards nomination of the abbreviated season with his Ted Lindsay finalist nomination

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has joined forwards Artemi Panarin and Leon Draisaitl as the three finalists for the 2019-20 season’s Ted Lindsay Award, as voted by the NHL players themselves:

The Ted Lindsay award is given to “the National Hockey League’s most outstanding player in the regular season as judged by the members of the NHL Players’ Association”. Similar to the Hart Trophy, the Ted Lindsay has an air of MVP status surrounding it; prior year winners include Connor McDavid, Nikita Kucherov, and Carey Price.

All three in the trio, as mentioned by the NHLPA in their official announcement of the finalists, are looking for their first official win of the prize - but for MacKinnon, this isn’t his first time sitting on the ballot. He was nominated in 2018 as well, following a 97-point season that also saw him finish second in Hart voting and earn a vote in the Lady Byng race.

It’s the first time since 2016 that Connor McDavid hasn’t been a finalist for the award, getting ousted by his own teammate in Leon Draisaitl.

MacKinnon has some stiff competition for the hardware. Although he finished the abbreviated regular season with 93 points in a nice 69-game stint, logging over 21 minutes of ice time each night and boasting positive relative possession numbers for Colorado, he’s up against Draisaitl’s 110-point season — which topped the points totals for even McDavid in Edmonton — and Artemi Panarin’s MVP-esque leadership dragging the New York Rangers into play-in series contention. MacKinnon and Draisaitl posted similar possession numbers, albeit with McDavid skating alongside Draisaitl for the slight majority of his shifts at even strength to give him a little bit of an extra edge. And Panarin had the best relative numbers when looking at his success compared to the talent around him, but plays as a wing — which may come into consideration when looking at how MacKinnon and Draisaitl fared against him overall.

As confirmed by the NHLPA, the 2019-20 TLA recipient will be announced during the Conference Finals (exact date TBD).