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!