The Hart Memorial Trophy Goes To...

Who really is the Hart Trophy leader this season? The discussion was all but over by January 1st, when Sidney Crosby decided to put up points at a pace not seen since the 90’s. But a few bad luck hits left Crosby out and re-opened the Hart Trophy talk. Currently there are a few guys on the list that do not typically get the recognition that they should. Heading my list is a player that has been great all season, but just recently started to receive notoriety for the trophy. I will be listing the top 5 candidates, my personal opinion of course, in order and why they deserve the trophy.

1. Corey Perry – The right winger of the Anaheim Ducks is the current leader in the NHL for goals with 44. His 85 points put him at 5th in the league and first on his respected team. Perry has a 15-point lead on Teemu Selanne and a 17-point lead on Ryan Getzlaf. His three shorthanded goals and 10 game-winning goals rank him among the more clutch players in today’s game. Perry typically has Getzlaf and Ryan to aid him, but Getzlaf is having a subpar season. If the season were to end now, I would have to give the Hart Memorial Trophy to Corey Perry.

2. Daniel Sedin – The NHL leader in points is Daniel Sedin. His 40 goals place him 3rd in the league. While Daniel does lead the league in points, I have him second on my list for one reason; he has a twin who is second in the league in points. I know it is a typical cop out to choose the NHL leader in points, but when line mates are producing at a certain level; I find it hard to choose either one of them for league MVP. Daniel has had a career year and looks to be the only guy who might break 100 points, but unfortunately having a brother/line mate right there with you will cut down on your chances of being the Hart Trophy winner.

3. Pekka Rinne – The goaltender of the Nashville Predators might be the least known superstar in this league. Although he is second in the league in save percentage and goals against average (behind only Tim Thomas), I feel that he should be ahead of Timmy in the Hart talk. Nashville does not have a single 20-goal scorer, and their leading point scorers are Martin Erat and Shea Weber (with 46 points). Pekka has proven his worth in past seasons, but this season is one to remember.

4. Martin St.Louis – The 35-year-old playmaker is still at it. He is tied with Henrik Sedin for the second-most points in the NHL with 89. A constant for the ever shaky Lightning, St.Louis is one of the most dangerous players in the game. He feeds the shot machine that is Steven Stamkos and can puck-handle with the best in the game (Crosby and Pavel Datsyuk by the way). With the very streaky Stamkos next to him, St.Louis has managed to consistently put up points and even more consistently does not take penalties.

5. Tim Thomas – With stats like Thomas’s there is no doubt he was going to be on the list. Tim leads the league in goals against average and save percentage. His team is currently third in the East in the standings and first in the East in goals allowed. The only reason that Thomas is behind Rinne on this list is the defense that Thomas has in front of him, as well as the offense that Boston provides. Both of which are better than those of Nashville, so even though Thomas’s stats will win him a Vezina, Pekka’s situation gives him a slight edge in the Hart Trophy discussion.

Players that missed the cut

1. Steven Stamkos – The NHL’s next superstar is Steven Stamkos. With 43 goals and 86 points, Stamkos is one of the top offensive producers in the league. The reason he isn’t in the discussion is his lackluster faceoff percentage and his streaky play. The kid has a lot of growing up to do before he can be considered and elite player like Ovechkin, Crosby, or Datsyuk.

2. Henrik Lundqvist - With top five goalie numbers and 11 shutouts, the King will once again be in the conversation for the Vezina, but will most likely not win it. Henrik has had a rotation of young defenders in front of him all season but has still put up some of the best numbers in the league.

The NHL has offered plenty of talent over the years and this season is no different. Even without Crosby, Ovechkin, and Datsyuk, there is no shortage of great players to choose from. If you have any other candidates or don’t like the order, please leave a comment below.

10 Comments

George Prax's picture

Corey Perry - I agree with him on the list, but not at number one.

Daniel Sedin - Also agree, would put him in 1st place.

Rinne - I definitely think he could be top 5, but not nominated. There's something he has that other teams don't: Shea Weber and a good defensive system.

Martin St. Louis - No argument here, he likely makes my top 3.

Thomas - Same as Rinne. Boston has one of the best defensemen in the league in Big Bad Zdeno Chara. I don't know if his sub-par offensive season and the whole incident in Montreal will take him out of the Norris race, but in my opinion you can't have such a big name experienced defenseman and declare your goalie the most valuable player in the league at the same time.

Call me a homer, but Carey Price should be on your list. The Canadiens top two defensemen have been out for most of the year with injuries, leaving the top guys for most of the season three 35 year olds (Hamrlik, Gill and Spacek, the latter two have battled injuries) and a rookie who only really broke out in the second half. The Canadiens GA/game is nearly equal to their GF/game, but they're an above .500 team currently sitting in the playoffs. Price himself has 35 wins, more than any goalie on your list, and is ties for most games played, five more than Lunqvist, 9 more than Rinne and FIFTEEN more than Thomas. His GAA and SVP aren't as good as the rest, but consider the team he's playing for and he has to get a boost for that. I see absolutely no way Price doesn't get nominated for the Hart, unless the Canadiens play the last six games of the season the way they played the last three.

I would also put Jonathan Quick over Thomas and possibly even Rinne.

Phil T's picture

No Carey Price? The habs would probably be dead last in the NHL without him

Jason Pietroniro's picture

K, crazy for not having Price on the team.

But Prax, I can't agree with Sedin. He's amazing, no question. However, the Canucks would work without him. Perhaps not as well, but they would still be explosive without him.

Hands down Corey Perry should win the Hart this season. With the injuries Getzlaf has had, and the up and down Ryan has gone through, Perry has been nothing short than AMAZING every game this season. Played through injuries, new linemates, you name it. Corey Perry is the iron man this season, and deserves wayyyy more credit that he gets. 40 goals scorer, 100+ pims and his TOI is above impressive. He's a jack of all trades and he is playing on a team that would not be where they are without him. IMO him and Price are perfect candidates for the Hart. Lundqvist a very close 3rd.

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

Wow, forgot about all the Canadiens fans on the site. The only reason I left off Carey Price was his stats. He has been fantastic with alot of injuries to the defense. Carey's numbers are not as good as others. He really has shouldered a massive amount of games this season, but he is right there with Marc-Andre Fleury. They have similar stats, they have battled through multiple injuries on their respected clubs, and have come through in tough times. Unfortunately stats mean alot in this game and both of them are just barely cracking the top ten. I knew as soon as this was posted people would be talking about Price not being on the list, but I just couldn't place them on the list when a guy like Pekka Rinne holds up a club that literally has no offense.

I also considered Keith Yandle of Phoenix who is just about everything to his club, but he just didn't cut it.

George Prax's picture
Chuck Gaston Jr wrote:

Wow, forgot about all the Canadiens fans on the site. The only reason I left off Carey Price was his stats. He has been fantastic with alot of injuries to the defense. Carey's numbers are not as good as others. He really has shouldered a massive amount of games this season, but he is right there with Marc-Andre Fleury. They have similar stats, they have battled through multiple injuries on their respected clubs, and have come through in tough times. Unfortunately stats mean alot in this game and both of them are just barely cracking the top ten. I knew as soon as this was posted people would be talking about Price not being on the list, but I just couldn't place them on the list when a guy like Pekka Rinne holds up a club that literally has no offense.

I also considered Keith Yandle of Phoenix who is just about everything to his club, but he just didn't cut it.

You forgot about the Canadiens fans on the site, or that the site is run by Canadiens fans? Wink

haha

No, I kinda get why he may be overlooked because of some of those stats, but honestly, when you really look into the Canadiens injuries and what Price has done despite that, it's almost a no contest between him and the other goalies.

If you're comparing him to Fleury, look at the fact that he's had most of his top defensemen all year. Letang, who's in Norris contention, and Martin, who's been solid. Michalek's played 70 games, Orpik only missed 13, not to mention Goligoski/Niskanen. While Crosby and Malkin have been out, it's not exactly as if they have been devasted.

I agree that stats mean a lot, but when it comes to the Hart you have to put those stats up relative to the rest of the player's team, because it's the most valuable player TO HIS TEAM, not in the league in general. And every goalie on your last either has a Norris-contending defenseman in front of them, or their team hasn't had significant defensive injuries. You say Rinne is there because his team has no offense, well, goaltending isn't about offense, it's about not letting the puck go through your own net. Hell, the Canadiens haven't scored a goal in three games, and Price kept them in two of those, and had no fault in the third Wink

I will make a bold prediction here. Carey Price WILL be nominated for the Hart, so long as he doesn't lose his next 5-6 games.

Jason Pietroniro's picture

Shit, I forgot Yandle as well. Really doesn't matter though, Perry takes it.

Jason Pietroniro's picture

I think he'll be nominated as well. Out of respect more than anything.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

To be honest I don't think he'll be nominated at all. If there's three I have to choose it's both the Sedin's and St. Louis. Stamkos doesn't get those goals without Marty.

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

Come on George, if you keep going im going to have to change my list. Price has been one of the best goaltender's this season, but his value to the Canadiens really is impossible to judge. I will definately be considering him for my final article in a few weeks when the season is over.

The fact that Price was losing defensemen to injury while pittsburgh was mostly losing forwards does have a different feel. But then again, without Crosby and Malkin we lost over 1 goal per game of offensive production so Fleury did have to crack down to get us here. Still I will definately be checking in on Price, I think the last couple losses kind of pushed him off my list undeservedly.

The only other defensemen that has been dealing with a rotating defense is Henrik Lunqvist and he is also a top guy for the Vezina.
And yes I forgot Canadiens Fans ran the site.

George Prax's picture

haha, your opinion is your opinion and you're entitled to it, I just see it differently when it comes to handing out these awards. When it comes to the MVP award, IMO more often than not it shouldn't be given to someone who has a player on his team who arguably contributes just as much to the team as he does. And that's why I sort of knock off Rinne and Thomas. Boston is just a great team overall. And Sure, Nashville doesn't score many goals, and as much as goalies need players to score in order for them to win games, it's not like the Preds don't know that they don't have a legit top forward. Teams adjust to that sort of thing. I just feel like Price's success has been in spite of the system, in spite of the injuries and the other players.

I guess we'll see what happens in a couple of weeks. I still think his nomination is dependent on the last few weeks of the season, because like you said his stats aren't spectacular like Thomas's for instance, and that last week of three shutouts against really leaves its mark, no matter how little Price was a factor in them. I definitely think Rinne, Thomas and Lunqvist should be in the discussion though, for sure.