There has been a lot of discussion as who the front runner for the Hart trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable player should be this season. With many teams having just under twenty games to go before the end of the NHL season, here are the cases for the top ten candidates for the Hart trophy.
Top 10 Candidates for the 2018 Hart Trophy
- Taylor Hall – New Jersey Devils – we put Hall at the top of our list, simply because if we had a vote, it would go to Hall. He has lead the Devils in all offensive categories and has them poised to be a playoff team in a season when not many pegged them to be in the post season. He should experience his first NHL playoff game this season and he deserves it. He currently has a 26-game consecutive point streak and doesn’t look like he’ll go another game without a point this season. He has been that good. Scoring at a 1.19 Points per Game pace, he is on pace to set career highs in goals and points this season. Ladies and gentlemen your 2018 NHL MVP, Taylor Hall. (Image Credit: Ed Mulholland – USA Today Sports)
- Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers – wait one second what about the greatest player in the game today? McDavid happens to be my favorite player and quite honestly this guy has look amazing every night. Having played ill for most of the oilers first 25 games or so, McDavid has been coming on and has already tied his career high with 30 goals. Currently third in NHL scoring with 80 points in 66 games, look for Connor to surpass the 100-point threshold for a second consecutive year. Brilliant hockey player.
- Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning – what a great comeback season for Stamkos. After a few injury-riddled seasons, Stammer came back with a vengeance and was off to a hot start this season. Steven Stamkos had two goals and three assists for a career-high five points and added a shootout goal as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Philadelphia Flyers 7-6 in a recent game. With 78 points in 67 games (at the time of this writing), Stamkos is on pace for a 90+ point season. He’s been good in Tampa this season.
- Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche – with Matt Duchesne gone, traded to Ottawa, the stage was set for MacKinnon to take over as leader of the Avs. He has done just that. Leading the NHL with an average of 1.34 Points per Game, MacKinnon is set to reach a 90+ point season and might just help the Avs sneak into the post season in the Western conference.
- Patrick Laine – Winnipeg Jets – the second coming of the Finnish Flash continues to light the lamp. This guy is possessed with a great shot that can beat any goalie on a given night. Its no secret that part of the Jets success this season is a result of the strong sophomore play of Laine.
- Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning – you must think that the Lightning might just be a favorite to come out of the East in the playoffs this season. This is a well-rounded team with a lot of young talent. The Lightning got off to a great stat to the season due in part to the efforts of Kucherov. This guy averages nearly twenty minutes a night and currently leads the NHL in scoring with 86 points through 65 games.
- Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins – who has the most points since the turn of the calendar? Connor McDavid? Taylor Hall? Close on both accounts but it is the Pens star Evgeni Malkin. With 37 goals and 82 points, Malkin has quietly put up a great season in Pittsburgh and sits second in NHL points.
- Matt Barzal – New York Islanders – could a Caldar trophy winner take home the Hart trophy in the same season? Probably unlikely, but this rookie should get some consideration for the Hart trophy with 69 points in 67 games for the Islanders. This kid is quite the playmaker (51 assists) and can skate well. Great start to what should be a great career.
- Connor Hellebucyk – Winnipeg Jets – the only goaltender to make our list. Part of the reason the Jets are one of the top teams in the NHL this season is the play of Hellebucyk. With 34 wins he trials only Pekka Rinne and Andrei Vasilevsky. He’s made 1,625 saves so far this season. His .922 save percentage is nothing to sneeze at either. Where would the Jets be without his strong season? MVP type season? We think so.
- Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers – what a bounce back year for Giroux. He currently sits fourth in NHL scoring and is on pace for a 94-point season. Hovering over a 15% shooting percentage, Giroux could hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career. A strong season for the native of Hearst, Ontario.