Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, May 27, 2024

In the Crease: Hart Memorial Trophy predictions

Edition Six: NHL Awards predictions.

FIXED graphic for Zach Gerson's column "In The Crease"

Graphic by Richie Han Kyaw

This week’s focus is on the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s most valuable player. The MVP is the player who is determined to be the most important to their team’s success through outstanding on-ice performance.

Hart Memorial Trophy Winner: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche center has put up an extremely impressive case for Most Valuable Player, and in doing so he should be the favorite for the award. He currently leads all skaters with 113 points, demonstrating his elite all-around play and domination. This point total consists of 41 goals and 72 assists, which shows how he is making both scoring and making plays. He also has a +28 plus-minus rating, meaning he has been on the ice for 28 more even-strength goals scored than even-strength goals scored against. As he always has, MacKinnon continues to dominate on the powerplay as well. He has been so dominant in all facets of the game this season that he is currently in third place for the longest home-point streak of all time. Without MacKinnon, the Avalanche would likely not be the top tier, elite team that they have been throughout the season, and that combined with MacKinnon’s spectacular performance is why he’s the front-runner for this season’s Hart Memorial trophy.

Hart Memorial Trophy Runner-Up: Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

Matthews has continued his simply unbelievable scoring ways this season. He overwhelmingly leads the NHL in goals scored with 54. He is on pace for a hair under 70 goals for the entirety of the regular season, which is an incredible number of goals to score in a single season. Matthews has multiple hat tricks this season, which in many instances is the sole reason the Leafs won its game on that given night. He is arguably just as valuable to his team as MacKinnon is to his team. However, the reason why MacKinnon has the edge is that while they both have high goals scored, MacKinnon’s 71 assists blow Matthews’ 26 assists out of the water. Matthews has been incredible, but MacKinnon has been the ultimate all-around team player. This takes nothing away, though, from Matthews’ incredible performance and his deserving case to be in the conversation for the Hart Memorial Trophy.

Hart Memorial Trophy Third Place: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov has had an elite season that has flown under the radar because of the performances of MacKinnon and Matthews. Trailing only MacKinnon in points, Kucherov’s 107 are amongst the best in the league, and he has continually shown up game-in and game-out. Just like MacKinnon, Kucherov has been extremely well-rounded in his play, racking up 38 goals and 69 assists. It is really difficult to tell where the Lightning would be without his MVP-like performances. When others on his team may not have been performing at their best, he has been there to pick up the slack, which is precisely why he is in the Hart Memorial Trophy contention.