Tag: NHL Hart Trophy

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.

Nathan MacKinnon case for the Hart trophy

If this Colorado team gets into the playoffs, is Nathan MacKinnon a shoe-in for the Hart?

How could he not be. Or at least be someone that is in EXTREMELY high consideration. If we think about what MacKinnon has done for this Colorado team, it is hard to not give credit where credit is due.

After Colorado posting a 22-56-4 record of 48 points one of the worst records in the NHL over the last 17 years. The last team to have a worse record were the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999-2000, they recorded 39 points in 82 games. Mind you this was the Thrashers first year as a franchise. The Thrashers never were able to turn it around from that season as they quickly merged to be the Winnipeg Jets. A season so bad, made a team vanished. Now the last time to do that not in their first year as a franchise were the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1997-1998, posting a 17-55-10 record with 41 points. Keep in mind this was the Lightning’s sixth year in the NHL.

Well, fast forward a year and the Avalanche are now ranked 15th in the NHL with a 42-29-9 with 93 points, battling for a wild card spot. All while dealing with starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov missing 32 games, Eric Johnson missing 20 games, Tyson Barrie missing 16 games and Nathan McKinnon himself missing 10-games. Let’s also remember how terrible of a locker room/team the Avalanche were when Matt Duchene was around and MacKinnon had to deal with that for 14 games this season. Plus all of last season. To turn it around that quickly and take this team by storm to lead them into a playoff spot is unreal.

(Look what this guy dealt with this year, for a short time, but still)

Also, the Avalanche did not start out being a top-15 team, they only picked up their play around the month of mid-January. They were only 18-15-5 until they went on their 8-game win streak, which propelled them to 26-15-5. Then to begin the month of March at 33-23-7(if my math is correct, not a numbers guy) and the rest is history. A new found Colorado team and playoff team after one of the worst years in NHL history.

MacKinnon not only has 94 points in 72 games but has done it with a line up consisting of Tyson Jost(20), Mikko Rantanen(21), J.T. Compher(22), Gabriel Borque(27, career total points of 89 points in 309 games), Matt Nieto(25, career total of 105 points in 336 games), are we getting the pattern here. Guys next to MacKinnon either lack experience or have not had a storied career at all.

MacKinnon has been one of the least talked about Hart trophy finalists I feel like because well it is Colorado and they are not really a threat. Sure, they are not as good as New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay or Philadelphia but, the only reason this team is above .500 and within a playoff spot is because of MacKinnon. If you truly believe other wise you my friend are biased. The only player within MacKinnon for points on Colorado is Rantanen(82) a 12 point difference but after Rantanen the next player is Landeskog with 59. Therefore a 35-point difference. The only team with that scenario is the Devils, with Hall and Hischier being a 42 point difference. Mind you, Hischier is also a rookie, did we expect a 70 point season from him? No.

The facts are there, the data is there, the Avalanche clinch a playoff spot tonight, this should not be too hard for those to decide. Credit to Taylor Hall for his career year and unbelievable season but this guy has some better pieces slated next to him, Travis Zajac, Brian Boyle, Patrick Maroon(for short but still), Michael Grabner(yes, I know), Kyle Palmieri, Jesper Brett(you Devils tooted this guys horn so don’t even), Brian Gibbons(same here, don’t even say you didn’t).

(Enjoy (: ) 

Hart Trophy race: Give everyone an award

Hart Trophy race: Who’s the favorite? 

Is the Hart trophy this year going to be one of those awards that literally not one person can agree on. Definitely feels like it. Claude Giroux, no Nathan MacKinnon, no Taylor Hall, no Nikita Kcuherov, no Connor McDavid, no Evgeni Malkin. Make up your mind this isn’t pee-wee soccer not everyone gets a trophy here people. The Hart has to go to someone who is the most valuable player to their team. Yes, Hall is certainly the most valuable to the Devils and without him, that day would be a basement team. Same goes for Claude Giroux although Voracek, Konecny, Ghost, Couturier, and Simmonds are there Giroux really is the mold of this Flyers team. He is a great leader and one hell of a player that the Flyers rely on pretty consistently for a lot of things. For example, Giroux had one of his worst seasons in 2016-17 and the Flyers missed the playoffs, now the guy has a career year and the Flyers are a playoff team. Coincidence? Probably not. Kucherov is the same scenario as Giroux but Stamkos also plays a major role in that team’s success so I could see him not winning it. Malkin in the same sense as Kucherov because without Kessel and Crosby and Malkin performing like this the Penguins would not be as good, the fact that all three chip in and are top 15 players in the league is the main reason the Penguins are successful.

Nathan MacKinnon and Taylor Hall are probably my favorites for the Hart, based on value to a team, these two make or break their teams. Without these two the Avalanche and Devils would be nothing. MacKinnon is posting 1.33 points per game, 92 points in 69 games. Perhaps this guy did not miss 7 games during that time he was posting unreal numbers he may be a lock for the Hart. But, then again Taylor Hall with 86 points in 72 games having a career year and tallying the most wins for the Devils in five years is pretty big. Hall has not only gave hope to the Devils but also to all their fans, this guy is definitely the heart and soul of this organization and without him, the train won’t run. He missed some time this year too, not much but factor in his historic point streak this season and career-high goals and the Devils being a playoff team now, it is tough to not choose this guy. There are still some games left and I think a major component to winning the Hart is if your team is a playoff team or not. That is why I cannot see McDavid winning it, and if the Av’s don’t make the playoffs or Devils don’t make it, it has to go to Giroux. Until then it is a race, people.