It’s time for the big one. The NHL has announced the finalists for the Hart Trophy, given each year to the “player judged the most valuable to his team.” Last year’s winner, Leon Draisitl, he also took home the Ted Lindsay and u Art Ross in an impressive trifecta.
McDavid could complete the same triumph his teammate did a year ago after putting together one of the most impressive regular seasons in recent history. The Oilers captain scored 105 points in 56 games, a scoring rate that puts him in rare company. Since 1980-81, 40 years ago, only Wayne Gretzky, Mario lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Bernie Nicholls and Adam Oates they ended up with a higher point / game in a whole season. Each of the last three names on this list has done it only once, and each was just ahead of the best offensive player in the game today. There was no doubt that McDavid would be a finalist for the third time in his career. He previously took Hart home 2016-17, his second year.
Matthews is the first finalist after winning the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top scorer. Surprisingly, he had an eight-goal lead over second-place McDavid despite playing in four games less. Matthews has been a marvelous marker this season, totaling 41 in 52 games for the Maple Leafs, continuing to develop his strong defensive game. In fact, he was tied for fifth place, but still 39th behind McDavid’s 105.
MacKinnon, the oldest of the three to 25-year-olds, is Hart’s finalist for the third time in his career. Still a bridesmaid, the Avalanche star finished second in her first two races at the award. Unfortunately – for MacKinnon and hockey fans – he played in just 48 games this season so his total score of 65 put him in eighth place in the entire league. On a per game basis, though, he has only dragged McDavid, Draisaitl and the New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin. Even if MacKinnon becomes a runner-up again, it would be difficult to find someone who disagrees with his position as one of the best players in the world.