The finalists for the Hart Trophy, which is given to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team, as voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, were announced. These three choices are great candidates. They are Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby, Washington Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin, and New York Islanders’ center John Tavares. All three of these players have led their teams into the playoffs, which is another boost for their nominations. This also marks the first time in the NHL that the three Hart Trophy nominees were all first overall draft picks.
Sidney Crosby has participated in 36 of the 48 regular season games, missing 12 due to an injury he sustained during a game against the Islanders. In this 36 game run, he managed to score 15 goals and 41 assists. If he hadn’t missed the 12 games, it is debatable to say that he could have won the Art Ross Trophy instead of Martin St. Louis. He was ranked 2nd in the league with assists. He had three power play goals and 124 shots in his 36 games. His passing has definitely helped them get into the playoffs. Of course, the mass movement the Pens GM enforced before the trade deadline helped, too. Crosby, along with the whole Penguins’ squad, has mashed well with the acquired Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and Douglas Murray. With Sidney Crosby playing this way, it’s hard to say he isn’t Hart Trophy material.
Alex Ovechkin is one of the favorites this year in the playoffs. I feel he deserves to finally win the Stanley Cup, but that’s neither here nor there. Ovechkin had probably the best season in the NHL. In the beginning of the season, he looked dead as a corpse. He wasn’t playing well, but he turned it around. He rallied a total of 32 goals and 24 assists, which most of them came in the second half of the season. He was in first place in the NHL in goals. His four game-winning goals helped him notch his way to the playoffs, and he was 1st in the NHL in shots, with 220 shots. Alex Ovechkin has played well every year, and last year people thought it was his year to terrorize the playoffs and win it all. This year is looking a lot more promising, and he really wants it now. He has a goal and an assist in his four games this post-season, and he is looking to add a lot more of each.
John Tavares has been one of the faces of the New York Islanders. Tavares led the Islanders in scoring for the fourth-straight season, recording 47 points (28 goals and 19 assists) in 48 games. He finished third in goals, scoring 28 goals, including a league-high 19 even-strength goals and a team leading five game-winning goals. The Islanders finished 15-6-2 when Tavares scored a goal and 20-7-2 when he recorded a point. He led team forwards in average TOI at 20:46. With these stats, John Tavares has led the team to the playoffs. I personally don’t understand why he isn’t the Isles’ captain, but I don’t know how Mark Streit is on and off the ice.
All three players are well qualified for this award, and I think this will be a close vote. It’s hard to tell, but what do you think?