Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howie, Mario Lemieux, Alexander Ovechkin, the list goes on and on. What list exactly am I talking about? Well its simple, I’m talking about the Hart Memorial Trophy. For those of you who don’t know what the Hart Memorial Trophy is, it’s simple, it is the trophy that is annually awarded to the league’s most valuable player of the league. This awarded is given to the most elite player in the league. This year is no different. The top three nominees’ for this year’s award are, Steven Stamkos, Henrik Lundqvist, and Evgeni Malkin. These three players have all exemplified what it takes to be great.
Unfortunately, not all three of these players can win the trophy. Even though only one can win, all three deserve to be victorious. I am now going to list the three nominees and why they have the chance to be awarded the leagues “oldest and most prestigious trophy”, I will then name who I believe will be named the 2011-2012 Hart Memorial Trophy winner. Whoever the winner is this year, it will be the first time they have been given the award.
Number One: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
GP (Games Played): 82
G (Goals): 60
A (Assist): 37
P (Points): 97
GW (Game Winning Goals): 12
Steven Stamkos, I don’t even know where to start. Should I start with him scoring 60 goals this past season? Or how about the fact that he is only 22? Or maybe the fact that without him, the Lightning could have been in an even worse position that they are already in? No matter where I begin with Steven Stamkos, it will be a remarkable heard. This past season he did something that is not only incredibly hard, but also very rare. During the 2011-2012 campaign, Stamkos scored an amazing 60 goals. Not too many players have been able to reach this feat during their entire career; Stamkos is only 22 years old. This was only his 4th season in the NHL. In three out of his four seasons, he has scored over 90 points. Now just because he scored 60 goals last year doesn’t exactly guarantee him a Hart Trophy. The Tampa Bay Lightning failed to make the playoffs. Clearly it isn’t his fault that they failed to miss the postseason as he did everything he could have to help the team reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even though this is an individual award, the fact that the Lightning failed to make the playoffs does in fact hurt his chances to win the award. Despite having a tremendous season, I do not believe that Steven Stamkos will be crowned the MVP of the season. Even though he will not be your winner of the Hart Trophy this year, Stamkos had a fantastic season and there is tons of chances for him to be crowned MVP in the future, in fact, it would surprise no one if he becomes a multiple time league MVP.
Number Two: Henrik Lundqvuist, New York Rangers
GP (Games Played): 62
W (Wins): 39
L (Loses): 18
OTL (Overtime Loses): 5
GAA (Goals Against Average): 1.97
SV PCT (Save Percentage): .930
Henrik Lundqvist was definitely a huge part of the New York Rangers success this past season. The Rangers were back on top in the east as they became the first team in the NHL to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This past season was easily one of Lundqvist greatest seasons as he won a career best 39 games. Without Lundvquist, who knows where the Rangers would have been in the standings. He also had a career high in goal against average. Despite having a great season, I don’t believe that Lundqvist will win the Hart Trophy. However, his play from last season will give him an excellent opportunity to earn him the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender, as he had an absolutely fabulous season in between the pipes for the New York Rangers. The future is indeed looking bright in New York and with Lundvquist in the net for them; the Rangers and Henrik certainly possess the right tools to continue to be successful in the National Hockey League.
Number Three: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
GP (Games Played): 75
G (Goals): 50
A (Assist): 59
P (Points): 109
GW (Game Winning Goals): 9
Evgeni Malkin had a tremendous season. Normally Malkin takes a back seat to superstar Sidney Crosby. But this year is different. Ever since Crosby had his concussion during the Winter Classic two years ago, things haven’t been the same in Pittsburgh. The team has underperformed and different players have stepped up to help the team get through the era without their superstar. However during this time a new superstar has emerged in Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin. Now don’t get me wrong, while Crosby was playing in Pittsburgh, Malkin was definitely a star. However, ever since Crosby went down, Malkin has taken this team over and this past season, he showed the league what he can do by himself. This wasn’t the first time that he scored over 100 points in a season, but this past season was Malkin’s most balanced season as he scored career high 50 goals to go with 59 assist. Even though the Penguins failed to get out of the first round, Malkin’s previous season was definitely a tremendous one. He led the league in points, was second in goals, and was third in assist. Normally it is Crosby that is in the top three in all of the major offensive categories, however this year it was Malkin. The future for Malkin is definitely bright as he is only 25 years old and with Crosby finally coming back from his injuries and the rise of James Neal, the future in Pittsburgh looks bright as well. But for now, we have to give credit to Evgeni Malkin for being the best player in the NHL this past season.
Just because I believe Malkin will win the Hart Trophy doesn’t mean he will as you guys all know. Some people will have different opinions on who they believe will win. I would love to hear your opinions, so voice them in the comments below!
The NHL awards will take place June 20th in Las Vegas.
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Tags: Alexander Ovechkin Awards Booby Orr Evgeni Malkin Gordie Howie Hart Trophy Henrik Lundqvist Mario Lemieux New York Rangers Nhl Pittsburgh Pengiuns Sidney Crosby Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightnin Vezina Trophy Wayne Gretzky