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There are many candidates, but who should ultimately win the Hart Trophy?
By Chris Yackel
It seems like there are more worthy MVP candidates than ever this year in the NHL. There are so many players you can make a case for. Each player listed in this article has an impressive enough body of work this season to win the Hart trophy. However, one candidate stands out among the rest.
Stat Line: 67 Games Played, 34 Goals, 54 Assists, 88 Points
Kucherov leads the entire NHL in points this year and has for most of the season. The 24-year-old Russian winger has been one of the key catalysts for the Lighting who currently are the best team in the NHL with 100 points. Kucherov has improved statistically in every season since he came into the league in the 2013-14 season. After a season like this he is now considered to be one of the NHL’s elite as he has become the Lightning’s most dangerous player. Even more dangerous then the captain Steven Stamkos. Kucherov has a great case for the Hart Trophy, but others have great cases as well.
Stat Line: 66 Games Played, 39 Goals, 48 Assists, 87 Points
Malkin is considered one of the best players in the sport, but his impressive season is going pretty unnoticed. Malkin sits in second in the NHL in points and has led the charge offensively for the Penguins this year. This is also the first completely healthy campaign Malkin has had in years as he is on pace to play in 78 games this season. The last time Malkin played in that many games he won the Hart Trophy as he played 75 games in the 2011-12 season. Malkin has a very legitimate case for MVP this year, as this the best he has looked in years. He is a force every single night and is a big reason why the Penguins have a great chance at a 3 peat this year.
Stat Line: 68 Games Played, 33 Goals, 51 Assists, 84 Points
McDavid won the Hart trophy last year and is having an impressive enough season to do it again. Although the Oilers have had a bad year to this point and have not met expectations, McDavid has still been one of the leagues best. The 21-year-old is also responsible for being apart of 75 percent of goals the Oilers have scored this season which is truly astonishing. He may not be considered the best player in the league yet, but in the next few years he will be the guy to take that mantle.
Stat Line: 60 Games Played, 32 Goals, 49 Assists, 81 Points
MacKinnon is having a breakout season for the Avalanche as the former first overall pick has taken the team from the league’s cellar, to competing for a playoff spot. MacKinnon has been absolutely electric this season as is definitely a leader on this Avs team filled with young stars. MacKinnon missed some time due to injury, but his body of work is still there. MacKinnon currently leads the NHL in Points Per Game Average with 1.35 points per game. It’s a stat like that, that really makes MacKinnon’s case a good one.
Stat Line: 69 Games Played, 24 Goals, 57 Assists, 81 Points
Giroux has had a renaissance year for the Flyers as the Captain has put Philadelphia in a firm playoff position in the Metropolitan Division. After a few down seasons including a disappointing 58 point, 14 goal season, many thought Giroux’s best days were behind him. It was understandable due to his decreased production and the fact Giroux turned 30 this year. Giroux is proving the doubters wrong though as he has put himself back into the picture as one of the NHL’s elite players. Giroux is perhaps having his best season yet, as the Hearst, Ontario native is on pace for 96 points, which would be the most in his career. Giroux’s hard work to get back into the game’s elite could earn him a Hart Trophy.
Stat Line: 64 Games Played, 30 Goals, 44 Assists, 74 Points
Hall is another guy who is having a bounce back year after a down year the season prior. Hall is leading the charge offensively for the Devils, who were not even supposed to be in playoff contention this year. The Devils are currently in a playoff position because of Hall’s outstanding play. Hall also hit the 30 goal mark for the first time in his career and had an impressive 26 game point streak as well. If going by the Most Valuable Player to one’s team, one can make the case that Hall has been the most valuable player to the Devils then any players has been for theirs.
Again, there are so many great candidates but, the play of Evgeni Malkin this season has been truly remarkable. I think he has been the most dominant player in the league this season as every night he plays he contributes on the score sheet. Even when he doesn’t which is rare, he makes things happens and creates many chances not only for his teammates, but for himself. Malkin isn’t getting enough credit for the job he’s done this season which is ashame, because in my eyes he is the best candidate for the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP.
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