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.
|Lester B. Pearson Award||1984-85 Wayne Gretzky||1999-00 Jaromir Jagr|
|1970-71 Phil Esposito||1985-86 Mario Lemieux||2000-01 Joe Sakic|
|1971-72 Jean Ratelle||1986-87 Wayne Gretzky||2001-02 Jarome Iginla|
|1972-73 Bobby Clarke||1987-88 Mario Lemieux||2002-03 Markus Naslund|
|1973-74 Phil Esposito||1988-89 Steve Yzerman||2003-04 Martin St. Louis|
|1974-75 Bobby Orr||1989-90 Mark Messier||2005-06 Jaromir Jagr|
|1975-76 Guy Lafleur||1990-91 Brett Hull||2006-07 Sidney Crosby|
|1976-77 Guy Lafleur||1991-92 Mark Messier||2007-08 Alexander Ovechkin|
|1977-78 Guy Lafleur||1992-93 Mario Lemieux||2008-09 Alexander Ovechkin|
|1978-79 Marcel Dionne||1993-94 Sergei Fedorov||Ted Lindsay Award|
|1979-80 Marcel Dionne||1994-95 Eric Lindros||2009-10 Alexander Ovechkin|
|1980-81 Mike Liut||1995-96 Mario Lemieux||2010-11 Daniel Sedin|
|1981-82 Wayne Gretzky||1996-97 Dominik Hasek||2011-12 Evgeni Malkin|
|1982-83 Wayne Gretzky||1997-98 Dominik Hasek||2012-13 Sidney Crosby|
|1983-84 Wayne Gretzky||1998-99 Jaromir Jagr||2013-14 Sidney Crosby|