Tag: Hart Memorial Trophy

Patrick Kane’s Case For The Hart Memorial Trophy

As many of you are aware, Patrick Kane is one if not the best U.S. born hockey player. He continues to tear the NHL apart year after year and as of now is on a 18-game point streak, totaling 40 points over this 18-point streak. Kane has 36 goals and 90 points in 59 games this season. Aside from his close to record setting point streak, close to 40-goal mark and on pace for 123 points this season. Kane has made Alex Debrincat a 30-goal scorer, Dylan Strome resurge his career and has helped Jonathan Toews get back his game this season. Along with rejuvenating the Blackhawks season in recent weeks and pushing them into playoff contention.

The Hart is a trophy that is awarded to the most valuable player to their team. I definitely can see why some people reading his may say Nikita Kucherov is the sure Hart Memorial Trophy winner this season. But I am here to disagree and would like to hear others view points. Kucherov is without a doubt one of the bets players in the NHL he has 29 goals, 70 assists and 99 points in 60 games this season on pace for well over 120 points, 90 assists and 40 goals but Kucherov does have a lot more help around him. Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos are pretty much pure goal scorers dishing them the puck for one-timers or dishing it off and letting them do the shooting is not always the hardest.

Take a look at what Kucherov did Monday night vs Columbus, aside from his second goal that was a very nice move under the defense’s stick for a tuck under the sprawling goaltender. Kucherov’s assist to Stamkos I think anyone in the NHL can make, same with Brayden Point’s goal, he stood there and made a one-touch pass to a streaking Point. I am not discrediting Kucherov. He puts himself in these positions he has a knack for scoring and unreal vision that allows him to anticipates plays and be one-step ahead of everyone else. Yeah, sure, most of his goals and assists are unreal but for example the power play assists one touch passing it to Hedman or Stamkos is not some kind of superstar caliber play.

With that said, Kane is hands down the Blackhawks most valuable player and most valuable player to HIS team this season. Kane creates so much open space, opens up the ice for everyone, draws 2-3 players to him 5 on 5, on the power play and is hands down the best passer in the NHL. His deception with the puck on the power play or even 5 on 5 is like no other. Along with his shooting ability, to stick handle 2-3 times, make it look like he is going to pass and quickly shoot low glove or blocker has beaten almost every NHL goaltender this season.

Kane is second in points with 90, nine behind Kucherov. 2nd in goals with 36, seven ahead of Kucherov. Tied 2nd in assists with 54, sixteen behind Kucherov. Second in the NHL in points per game (1.53) 0.12 behind Kucherov. Kane has 9 power play goals, making that twenty-seven 5-on-5 goals. Kucherov has 11 power play goals, leaving him with eighteen 5-on-5 goals. Kane leads Kucherov by nine 5-on-5 goals. Kane has 29 power play points compared to Kucherov’s 39 power play points. Therefore Kane has 61 even strength points, Kucherov has 60 even strength points. The two are tied with five game-winning goals. Kane has 240 shots compared to Kucherov’s 168 shots. Kane has a 15.0 percent shooting percentage compared to Kucherov’s 17.3 percent. Meanwhile Kane has shot the puck 72 times more than Kucherov there shooting percentage only varies by 2.3 percent. Kane is averaging 22:16 minutes per game vs Kucherov’s 19:30 minutes. Some would say Kane should be more productive with that much ice time but as a forward 22 minutes is nearly unheard of, Kane is one of the four NHL forwards who plays 22+ minutes a game. The Lightning have two other players within the top-10 in points the next Blackhawk among the “top” point scorers is Alex Debrincat with 60 points (T-30). Lightning’s Point (78) and Stamkos (72) the difference from Kucherov to the next point scorer is 21 and 27. While Kane to Debrincat the difference is 30 points. The next in line after Debrincat is Jonathan Toews with also 60 points.

Look I am not saying Kucherov is only good because of Stamkos and Point do not twist my words people or put words in my mouth. The guy is a generational talent and one of the best goal-scoring play-making forwards in the NHL but when it comes to the Hart Memorial, Patrick Kane needs to be a BIG candidate. Kane has been in the league for 11 years and when he has played 80+ games in a season he has produced 70+ points in five of those six seasons. He is a 7-time 20+ goal scorer, 4-time 30+ goal scorer and one of the most consistent and top difference makers in the league. At least give the conversation some thought!

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NHL Hart Memorial Trophy Nominees

This is usually an award that goes to someone who makes the biggest impact to their team but is also one of the top point scorers in the league. Last years nominees were Taylor Hall Hart TrophyClaude Giroux, Taylor Hall and Nathan MacKinnon. Giroux bounced back big time in 2017-18 to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a playoff match up. Giroux tallied 102 points (34G, 68A) in 82 games after only scoring 58 points in 82 games during the 2016-17 campaign. Nathan MacKinnon played a major role in why the Avalanche went from being the worst team in the NHL in 2016-17 to being a playoff team last season. The 23-year-old tenured forward tallied 97 points in 74 games last season, if it were not for missing eight games this award may have been his last season. MacKinnon bounced back from 53 points in 82 games to 97 in 74 games last season. The winner Taylor Hall lead the underrated, unskilled, inexperienced New Jersey Devils team to a playoff spot for the first time in almost ten years. Hall shook up the NHL with his record setting point streak last season but more importantly led the Devils in every facet of the game. Hall had 93 points in 73 games, in just his second year on the team, Hall helped put the Devils back on the map.

This years nominees are different than last years, which is a good thing. It would be hard to not mention at least the top five considerations for this trophy. Based off what last years nominees did for their club last year and what the winner Taylor Hall did for the Devils last season, we can all realize as to why these players below are being nominated for one of the more prestigious NHL awards.

  1. Mikko Rantanen (18G, 43A, 59 points in 37 games) 
  2. Connor McDavid (19G, 33A, 52 points in 35 games)
  3. Nikta Kucherov (16G, 41A, 57 points in 37 games) 
  4. Johnny Gaudreau (16G, 32A, 48 points in 37 games)
  5. Mark Scheifele (22G, 27A, 49 points in 36 games)

Mikko Rantanen has been a freak of nature this year, he has been apart of almost every Colorado win, a major reason the Avalanche are back in a playoff spot right now and continues to do it night in and night out. Sure he has Nathan MacKinnon so his accreditation is a little less valuable. But Rantanen being at 1.56 points per game is incredible.

Johnny Gaudreau has single handily (with the help of Sean Monahan) turned this Flames team around if you ever watched a Flames game, Gaudreau is by far the most impactful player on the ice for Calgary, his ability to take control of the game, create separation and just constantly be involved in every play when he is out there shows his importance to Calgary.

Connor McDavid we all know his significance to Edmonton, he has no one around him besides Leon Draisaitl (they do not always play together) but McDavid has consistently been the one of the biggest reasons all year the Oilers are hanging and fighting for a playoff spot right now. Not to mention he plays upwards of 22 minutes a game, which is unheard of from a forward.

Mark Scheifele, the Jets have tools around him but Scheifele’s presence is definitely known when he is out there and not out there. He is always scoring big goals, plays the best two way game among most centers in the league and is not just a one-sided player. Aside from his leadership Scheifele is one of the most underrated forwards in the game today.

Mid-Season NHL awards: UPDATED

Hart Memorial Trophy: A few months back we did this same exact thing and not much has changed for this trophy. We have a very close race on our hands and unfortunately, since the league goes by basically who has the most points, Nikita Kucherov could win this one. But, I would not sleep on Nathan MacKinnon, MacKinnon is my choice for this trophy and should easily win it, due to the impact he has on this Colorado team. Without him they are toast. MacKinnon trails Kucherov by four points, in 48 games this season McKinnon has 24 goals, 36 assists, and 60 points. Over the last month, he has 8 goals, 9 assists as well. While Colorado was expected to be yet again a basement team this season, MacKinnon has single handily made this team playoff contenders hope the NHL comes to their senses when they make this selection.

James Norris Memorial Trophy: My nomination is John Klingberg, yet we won’t see that because his name isn’t Drew Doughty. The way this award will go down is probably a win by Drew Doughty, which should not happen. Klingberg leads all defenseman for points 5-on-5 with 32 points, while Doughty has 22. Klingberg leads all defenseman with 48 points. If we are going to choose based on numbers then Klingberg is a clear choice. After the season he had last year and being able to bounce like this is amazing. Give it to the guy.

Calder Memorial Trophy: This one is tough because Matt Barzal and Brock Boeser are putting on absolute shows right now. Barzal is a game changer on the ice and has certainly made the biggest impact on his team’s roster, he is the player on the ice that all five opposing guys need to keep an eye on and at any point can blow by any player on the ice. He is producing amazing numbers and has changed this Islanders offense, in 50 games he has 51 points, 16 goals 35 assists. While Brock Boeser has 43 points in 46 games with 24 goals and 19 assists. One guy is up there for most assists in the league while the other is up there for the Rocket trophy. Boeser has certainly made an impact on his team, but Barzal definitely has made the Islanders a playoff contending team. Both players control the game and it is not like they are feeding off veteran players they are the ones making the opportunities and sometimes even doing it alone. My choice though as much as it hurts would have to be Barzal.

Ted Lindsay Award: Give the Hart to MacKinnon and the Ted Lindsay to Kucherov, vice a versa. MacKinnon has to receive an award and get some recognition for what he has accomplished this year. If Kucheorv wins both the Hart and Ted Lindsay the NHL is no fun.

Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy: Alex Ovechkin, the guy is unreal right now. 30 goals in 49 games, 53 points, and the scary part is, as we known Ovechkin for his power play dominance. He only has 9 power play goals, which means 21 come even strength. I don’t see this guy falling off and losing the race this year. But, let’s note that Anders Lee, William Karlsson and Kucherov only trail Ovechkin by three goals, will be an interesting race.

Vezina Trophy: This is going to be a clear choice, based off numbers alone, Andre Vasailevsky will win it. in 40 games started he has a 29-9-2 record with a .931 save percentage, 2.18 goals against and 7 shutouts. Yes, he plays for the best team in the league but this has these awards work. Connor Hellebyuck should definitely get some consideration for what he has done this year, coming in cold, beginning the year as a backup goaltender and stealing the job from a veteran, and then leading his team to a  divisional lead is something special.

Jack Adams Award: Gerard Gallant (Vegas Golden Knights). No further comment. Don’t even have to discuss this one. Simple as this, the Golden Knights are one point away from being the #1 team in the NHL, lead the Pacific by nine points. Oh, not to mention this is their first year as a franchise.

NHL Mid-Season Awards

We are currently 40-42 games into the season and the NHL is at its halfway point. We’ve seen some amazing surprises this season, as well as some teams surprise us in the wrong way. Some players continue to dominate while some unforeseen names have emerged their way onto the list of mid-season awards.

Hart Memorial Trophy:

Nikita Kucherov: Kucherov has started where he left off last season, dominating the goal column, leading the Bolts to leagues best and tallying 60 points in 43 games. Kucherov has 27 goals and 33 assists. Between last seasons 74 games plus this seasons 43 games(117 games) he has totaled 145 points and 67 goals. Kucherov is a favorite for the Hart at this moment.

Some honorable mentions, Nathan McKinnon(52 points), John Tavares(52 points), Claude Giroux(52 points).

Norris Trophy: 

John Klingberg: Maybe some may disagree with this and continue to tout Drew Doughty’s horn, but Klingberg is my Norris favorite at this point. The Stars had a terrible season last season and Klingberg surrounded by a blueline filled with young players and Marc Methot, Klingberg has propelled this blue line. In 43 games Klingberg has 39 points, 33 assists, and 6 goals, with a +12 and 14 power play points. Klingberg continues this production and Stars make the playoffs it will be hard to not recognize Klingberg.

Honorable Mentions: Victor Hedman(33 points), John Carlson(34 points), Alex Pietrangelo(30 points).

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy: 

Alex Ovechkin: For a 33-year-old forward, who has been scoring consistently for the past seven years, for Ovechkin to come out like this season and score 27 goals in 43 games is hard to not say this guy deserves the Rocket plus he has 46 points. He’s also already six goals from his goal total last season. Of the Capitals 132 goals, Ovechkin has 27 of them, that’s pretty impressive. Ovechkin will continue this pace and I think he has to be a favorite for the Rocket.

Honorable Mention: Nikita Kucherov(27 goals), Anders Lee(25 goals), Sean Couturier(23 goals).

Calder Memorial Trophy: 

Brock Boeser: At this point with how much Boeser has contributed to the Canucks offense and what he has accomplished at this point is amazing. Rookie of the month, 40 points in 40 games and since Bo Horvat has been out he has contributed 49.6 percent of the points (goals/assists). Boeser is absolutely unbelievable and one of the most exciting players to watch. With the environment, he is in one of the worst teams among the other rookie nominees Boeser is my Calder favorite.

Honorable Mention: Matt Barzal(39 points), Clayton Keller(32 points), Yanni Gourde(30 points).

Vezina Trophy:

Andrei Vasilevskiy: Now obviously it is not too hard to be the best goalie in the league when the team in front of you plays so dominantly but Vasailevskiy leads the league in goals-against average(2.10), save percentage(.933) and wins(27), no matter what the team as a whole does, those stats you cannot overlook. Vasailevskiy has stood tall in net for the Lightning and has given them the confidence to be this successful. It’s tough to consider anyone else for this award.

Honorable Mention: Tuukka Rask(14 wins, 2.23 GAA), Jonathan Quick(19 wins, 2.31 GAA), Connor Hellebuyck(23 wins, 2.36 GAA).