Only three players, Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur, and Bobby Orr, have won the Conn Smythe and Hart Trophy in the same season since the award for best playoff performer was introduced in 1965.
NHL betting lines for 2022-23 Hart Trophy candidates were recently released, and just three of the top 20 favorites – Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin – have previously won both awards.
None of those superstars, however, accomplished the feat in the same campaign.
Winning the Conn Smythe or Hart Trophy is an accomplishment reserved for elite players performing at the peak of their ability.
Both trophies often represent career-defining moments, with only a select few winning either acclaimed honor more than once. Even fewer still get the opportunity to win both prestigious awards.
Winning both in the same season is almost unheard of, elevating unquantifiably the gravitas of what Gretzky, Lafleur and Orr accomplished.
In a salary cap era with widespread parity and an increased number of teams (32) vying for Lord Stanley, the chances of seeing another player win both trophies in the same season seemingly diminishes with each passing year.
All five 2022-23 Hart Trophy favorites are in with a chance at some point in their careers of joining the triumvirate’s prestigious group. As he hasn’t won either, Nathan MacKinnon has some catching up to do.
Bobby Orr – 1970 & 1972
Bobby Orr managed to win the double twice, in 1970 and 1972. His probability of winning both coveted individual trophies in the same season were automatically higher given the diminished number of teams, 12 and 14 NHL, respectively, during his double-winning campaigns. While the lack of teams benefitted Orr, nobody can discount his unparalleled achievement.
NHL odds for any current player to replicate the feat would be astronomically long.
Orr dominated both the regular season and playoffs in 1969-70, leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup triumph in almost 30 years. The defenseman scored 120 points in 76 games and finished with a plus-54.
He followed that Hart Trophy-winning season with 20 points in 14 playoff games to secure the Conn Smythe. Orr also won the Hart Trophy in the following campaign, his second of three straight.
Orr doubled down in 1971-72, winning his third Hart Trophy on the bounce and second Conn Smythe in three seasons.
After Orr led them to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons, the Bruins were forced to wait until 2010-11, a 39-year gap, to lift the Holy Grail again.
Guy Lafleur – 1977
Two-time Hart Trophy winner Guy Lafleur did the double with the Montreal Canadiens in 1976-77. Lafleur’s only Conn Smythe came after the Habs swept the Boston Bruins in what turned out to be the club’s second of four straight Stanley Cups.
Lafleur scored 56 goals and 136 points in 80 games leading into the playoffs, where he notched 26 points in 14 games. During the regular season, Lafleur finished with an outrageous plus-89.
There were 18 NHL teams when Lafleur did the double, and it was the first and only time a French Canadian has won both illustrious awards in the same season.
Wayne Gretzky – 1985
Despite winning the Hart Trophy an unprecedented and never-to-be-surpassed eight years running (1980-87), Gretzky only accomplished the double once, in 1985. Mario Lemieux snatched the Hart Trophy from the Great One in 1988, the only other time No. 99 won the Conn Smythe. There were 21 NHL teams when Gretzky accomplished the double.
Gretzky enjoyed his third-highest scoring campaign in 1985, scoring 208 points (73 goals, 135 assists) in 80 games, which equates to a baffling 2.6 points per game. He bettered that point total in two other seasons, which is even more staggering.
The Great One continued his utter dominance in the 1985 postseason, leading the Oilers to their second successive Stanley Cup. He scored 47 points in 18 games, the best points per game rate (2.6) in NHL postseason history, completing the double as emphatically as possible.