NHL Announces This Year’s NHL Hart Trophy Finalists
The NHL has announced the three finalists for the MVP trophy.
Sidney Crosby, a two time winner, finished third in the league with 85 points in 80 games, including a league-high 58 points in 44 games in 2016.
After a slow start to the season, the coaching change to Mike Sullivan sparked the team and rejuvenated the Penguins’ star. If he wins, he’ll be just the 9th player to win the award three times, joining the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Alexander Ovechkin.
The only two players to score more points than Crosby were the two players he is in competition with for the award. Fellow Canadian star, Jamie Benn, finished the season second in the league with 89 points in 82 games and scored the third highest goal total with 41. It was the first 40 goal season by a Star since Mike Modano in 1993-1994.
The third candidate — and most likely to win — is Patrick Kane. Who would’ve expected the season he had considering the offseason he had just prior. After a sexual assault allegation over the summer, many “experts” in the media debated whether or not the Blackhawks should release their star and $10 million man. The specifics of the situation may not be clear, but the bottom line is that the charges were dropped and he was exonerated.
The Hawks did not decide to move their star and they were rewarded handsomely for it. He got off to the hottest start in recent memory and went on a franchise-record 26-game point streak. It was also the longest such streak in 23 years. He created such a cushion in the scoring race and was able to maintain pace throughout the rest of the year that the winner of the Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the league’s top point scorer, was never really in doubt.
Kane finished with 106 points to become the first United States-born player to ever win the award. That’s pretty incredible considering the numbers that were put up by players like Modano, Brett Hull, and Jeremy Roenick. He also finished second in the league with 46 goals. This is unknown territory for American-born players and further proof that the United States is catching up in terms of player development.
After a few solid showings at the Olympics, the U.S. will have a chance to battle for some hardware at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
(NHL Hart Trophy Finalists)