It’s time for the big one. The NHL has announced the finalists for the Hart Trophy, given annually to the “player judged most valuable to his team.” Last year’s award went to Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, his second win after taking it home in 2017 as well.
This year’s finalists are McDavid, Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers.
There’s not much to be said about the Oilers captain that hasn’t already been mentioned a million times. One of the most dynamic offensive players to ever grace the NHL, he reached new highs in goals and points this year with 44 and 123. It was the fourth time he has led the league in points, and this will be the fourth time he is a Hart finalist. With 697 points in his career already, he sits fourth in points/game among those who have played at least 450. Only Wayne Gretzky (1.92), Mario Lemieux (1.88), and the late Mike Bossy (1.50) sit ahead of McDavid’s 1.43 mark, an incredible accomplishment in this era.
Matthews, meanwhile, is a finalist for the second time after being the runner-up last season. Now the two-time Rocket Richard winner, the Maple Leafs forward is the best goal scorer in the league and reached a mark very rarely seen in today’s game. His 60 goals were the most since Steven Stamkos hit the same mark in 2011-12, and he became only the third player in the salary cap era to reach the mark (Alex Ovechkin has the top spot with 65 in 2007-08). More than just his goals though, it was Matthews’ overall production that skyrocketed this season, with the big center hitting 106 points in just 73 games.
Shesterkin is a first-time finalist, but if he continues to play at the level he established this season this certainly won’t be the last time he’s up for major awards. The 26-year-old netminder posted a .935 save percentage in 53 appearances and is the front-runner for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best netminder. Moreover, the Rangers were routinely critiqued for their defensive zone breakdowns this season as a young team, breakdowns that Shesterkin regularly rescued them from with incredible saves. The Hart hasn’t been won by a goaltender since Carey Price in 2015, when he nearly swept the field, taking home the Jennings, Vezina, and Lindsay as well. Price’s save percentage that season was actually .933, just a few points below what Shesterkin did this year.
Gee, I wonder if this hints at who might win the Vezina.
I gotta be honest here..
That’s what you’d think, but as an Avs fan, I remember in 2014 Varlamov was 4th in Hart voting so he barely missed out on being a finalist with 3 FORWARDS, and somehow he ended up being in third place for the Vezina once the votes were tallied. I still to this day scratch my head at that one
Edit: obviously I think Igor is an absolute shoe-in for the vezina this year. Just comparing the Hart trophy/Vezina trophy situation
Personally, I think no goalies should be nominated for the Hart Trophy. They already have one major award in the Vezina and another minor/shared award with the Jennings. I feel the same about pitchers in baseball being nominated for MVP when they also have the Cy Young.
oh, it happens to be sure, but I think it’s not something that’s likely.
So you don’t want all players to be eligible to win the Most Valuable Player award? That does not seem to be logic based.
That doesn’t seem to make sense for me either…defensemen can win Art Ross, Rocket Richard (these aren’t likely but they still could), Calder, Norris, and Hart trophy.
Forwards can win all of those too except replace Norris with Selke. I think goalie is the most important position in hockey as there is only one of you back there. So if you can nominated for the MVP at that position, that’s a tremendous accomplishment and would be well deserved
They’re too dumb to play with themselves
forwards and dmen should be eligible for the jennings and vezina
Goaltender is an important position, that’s why they have their own award for the best one. The Art Ross and Rocket Richard are exclusively statistic based and not subjective like the MVP is. In theory, there could be 3 goalies nominated for the Hart Trophy, which takes away from the best performers in the game. Only one goalie has won the Hart in the last 20 years.
As for the Calder, that has its own issues. Kaprizov last year and Panarin in 15/16 were both 24 year olds competing against 18 and 19 year olds for the same award.
There is also the Ted Lindsay Award for the most outstanding player. The NHL is turning into grade school and giving everyone a trophy for something. With so many awards given out, it’s really diluted the meaning of winning one.
No, nominating three goalies doesn’t “take away” from the “best performers in the game.” It establishes that the best performers in the game in that season are — surprise surprise — the three goalies.
No surprises here.