As the NHL season prepares to embark on its lengthy, post Olympic break stretch, there are plenty of heavy contenders for individual trophies; including The Hart Memorial Trophy. This trophy is awarded annually to the player who is judged most valuable to his team in the NHL. The Hart Memorial Trophy has been awarded 89 times to 54 different players since its appearance back in 1924.
Read the full list of Hart Trophy recipients since its induction here.
Historically, only one Anaheim Duck has received this award, as you may have noticed. The afore-mentioned player is none other than Corey Perry, who won in 2011.
Here is an article that was written by Jonathan Willis, an NHL National Columnist on January 24, 2014 that brings forth the statistics and breakdown for the top 10 contenders.
Of the top 10 most deserving men in the NHL listed, Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane is currently tied with our very own Ryan Getzlaf for the top point-producers in the Western Conference. However, Getzlaf is the leading scorer and the captain of the NHL’s current number one team, with 25 goals and 59 points in 49 games and a plus 23 rating. Getzlaf earned Willis’ number two out of ten ranking for the best candidates for this award. The number one contender, according to Willis of course, is the Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby who has 27 goals and 72 points in 51 games, with a plus 11 rating. It is really no surprise to me that he is the number one choice though for the Hart Memorial Trophy. I do admit that I am certainly biased and want Getzlaf to win this award based on his numbers and performances with the Ducks’, given their continuation in the NHL’s number one slot, and despite their past few home game hiccups just before the Olympic break, of which I would like to completely erase from my memory.
Even though the Hart Trophy does not include Olympic performance and is strictly basing the vote on the NHL season performance of the players, I have heard some chatter across the internet that Toronto Maple Leafs‘ Phil Kessel needs to be added to this list. Yes, Kessel did phenomenal work for Team USA, yet has been leading the Maple Leafs all season long with 31 goals scored. This total is the second highest number in the entire NHL. I know that Willis’ report was from January 2014 and that the second half of the season will continue in the last week of February and there aren’t any other updated reports on this particular trophy race. However, looking at Kessel’s statistics and what he has done for the Maple Leafs this season, I do have to agree that he could give Getzlaf and Crosby a run for their money and for their reputations.
Here is another great link to check out to see how the other trophy races are shaping up.