With the National Hockey League officially abandoning its 2019-20 regular season on Tuesday amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl secured his claim to the league’s Art Ross Trophy.
The award is given annually to the player who leads the NHL in points at the end of the regular season, and Draisaitl’s 110 points in 71 games will see him become the first German-born player to win the trophy.
“Massive congrats to Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on winning the 2019-20 Art Ross Trophy,” the Edmonton Oilers tweeted on Tuesday.
“He and Connor McDavid are the first teammates to finish first and second in scoring since 2013.”
McDavid, the Oilers’ captain, finished second in scoring with 97 points in 64 games. In the 2012-13 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos finished first and second in points scored in what was also an abbreviated regular season. That NHL season’s start was delayed when the teams’ owners locked out players after the league’s collective bargaining agreement had expired.
Jack Michaels, the play-by-play radio announcer for Oilers games on 630 CHED, noted on Twitter Draisaitl and McDavid’s one-two finish marks the first time in a non-lockout season that teammates have finished first and second in scoring since the Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr did so with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96.
The Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders and The American Hockey Leagues’ Bakersfield Condors, a pair of teams Draisaitl has played for in the past, tweeted their congratulations on the 24-year-old’s achievement.
The NHL suspended its regular season on March 12 as public health concerns grew about the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league and the NHL Players’ Association have agreed on a return-to-play format in the event the 2019-20 season can resume.
The 24-team plan would see the top four clubs in the league’s Eastern and Western Conference play two mini round-robin tournaments to determine seeding for the playoffs.
If that scenario proceeds, the Oilers would face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in a best-of-five series.
Bettman said the NHL would like to see two cities be hubs for each conference and added that Edmonton is among the cities on the shortlist to be one of those hubs.
–With files from The Canadian Press’ Joshua Clipperton
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