Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews has won the Hart Trophy, becoming just the the third player in franchise history to take home the NHL's MVP award and the first since Ted Kennedy in 1955.
Matthews beat out finalists Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers for the Hart at the NHL Awards on Tuesday night in Tampa, Fla.
"Congrats to Igor, Connor on amazing seasons," Matthews said in his Hart acceptance speech. "Like I said before, so much respect for you guys, you guys are incredible at what you do."
Matthews, who was a Hart Trophy finalist for the second straight year after finishing second in voting in 2020-21, was the overwhelming choice this season. He secured 119 first-place votes and 49 second-place tallies, collecting 1,630 points.
McDavid, the two-time and defending Hart Trophy winner, received 29 first-place votes and 1,111 points to finish second in voting. Shesterkin, who earlier in the night won the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender, finished third with 738 points.
The Hart Trophy marked the second honour of Matthews' night, having been named the Ted Lindsay Award winner as the league's most outstanding player according to his peers.
"My family, it means the world to me to have you guys here with me, thank you guys for just your unwavering support, I can't thank you guys enough," Matthews said in his acceptance speech for the Ted Lindsay Award. "It just means a lot to be recognized by my fellow peers and the guys that I compete against every single night, battle against, it just means a lot."
Matthews, who played in 73 of Toronto's regular season-games, was instrumental in helping the Maple Leafs secure a franchise-best 115-point season.
"I want to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs, from top to bottom," Matthews said. "Management, ownership, coaches, all the staff, every single one of my teammates — this doesn't happen without you guys, so thank you."
In addition to leading the Leafs in points this season with 106, Matthews led the league in goals with 60 — setting a franchise record which also earned him his second Rocket Richard Trophy in a row.
"All the fans, Toronto Maple Leafs fans, Leaf Nation, there's nobody like you guys," Matthews said. "My family, again, love you guys so much. It means the world to me to have you guys here. I know Father's Day was a couple days ago, but Brian, this one's for you."