Award History

The Ted Lindsay Award is presented annually to the “Most Outstanding Player” in the NHL for that season, as voted by the members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association. The Players take part in a secret ballot to select the player who best represents exceptional performance and leadership.

The Award is named in honour of former Detroit Red Wings great Ted Lindsay, a Hall of Famer 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 Pearson Years

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. Only two goaltenders have ever walked away with the Award; Mike Liut and two-time winner, Dominik Hasek. 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, representingthe international flavor of modern hockey.

Reconnecting with history

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, beginning with the 2009-10 recipient. 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. 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.

Past Recipients

Evgeni Malkin


Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins

Daniel Sedin


Daniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks

Alexander Ovechkin


Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals

Alexander Ovechkin


Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals

Alexander Ovechkin


Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals

Sidney Crosby


Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby


Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins

Jaromir Jagr


Jaromir Jagr New Jersey Devils

2003-04 Martin St. Louis
2002-03 Markus Naslund
2001-02 Jarome Iginla
2000-01 Joe Sakic
1999-00 Jaromir Jagr
1998-99 Jaromir Jagr
1997-98 Dominik Hasek
1996-97 Dominik Hasek
1995-96 Mario Lemieux
1994-95 Eric Lindros
1993-94 Sergei Fedorov
1992-93 Mario Lemieux
1991-92 Mark Messier
1990-91 Brett Hull
1989-90 Mark Messier
1988-89 Steve Yzerman
1987-88 Mario Lemieux
1986-87 Wayne Gretzky
1985-86 Mario Lemieux
1984-85 Wayne Gretzky
1983-84 Wayne Gretzky
1982-83 Wayne Gretzky
1981-82 Wayne Gretzky
1980-81 Mike Liut
1979-80 Marcel Dionne
1978-79 Marcel Dionne
1977-78 Guy Lafleur
1976-77 Guy Lafleur
1975-76 Guy Lafleur
1974-75 Bobby Orr
1973-74 Phil Esposito
1972-73 Bobby Clarke
1971-72 Jean Ratelle
1970-71 Phil Esposito

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