John Tavares left the NHL Awards empty-handed again, but the Islanders captain's status around the league continues to grow.
Nashville captain Shea Weber took home the Mark Messier Leadership Award, with Tavares and Washington captain Alex Ovechkin as runners-up. The league didn't post any voting results, so I'm just gonna go ahead and assume that Tavares was a close second.
He also looked damn good.
It was the first Messier Award nomination for Tavares, a two-time finalist for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. While it seems weird to name a leadership award after a guy best known for stalking Connor McDavid on the telephone, the list of winners is a prestigious one that includes names like Chris Chelios, Zdeno Chara, Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby. Some guys who played with Messier can see the non-stalking similarities between he and Tavares.
Regardless of whether he won the hardware or not, Tavares is unquestionably the Islanders' leader on and off the ice and the man on whom the franchise is built. He's carried the team to a station they haven't seen in decades, including back-to-back 100 point seasons. This year, he became the first Islanders captain to see the second round of the playoffs since Patrick Flatley in 1993, and basically did it all by himself.
As I've written time and again: Cherish this man.