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CHL Alumni Battling to Keep Up in Hart Trophy Race

By HockeyNow on January 25, 2019

The six-year stretch from 2008-2013 saw Canadians relinquish our stranglehold on the NHL’s second-most coveted piece of hardware, the Hart Trophy. The only Canadian to be named NHL MVP in that span was former London Knight Corey Perry (2011). Russians won the award four times -- Alex Ovechkin won three (2008, ’09, ’13) and Evgeni Malkin won one (2012) -- while Henrik Sedin took the Hart back to Sweden in 2010.

However, Canadians have answered back in the ensuring years, winning four of the next five:

·         Sidney Crosby in 2014 (Rimouski Oceanic, 2003-05)
·         Carey Price in 2015 (Tri-City Americans, 2003-07)
·         Connor McDavid in 2017 (Erie Otters, 2012-15)
·         Taylor Hall in 2018 (Windsor Spitfires, 2007-10)

When you add a 2016 win for Patrick Kane, another London Knights alum, CHL products have won five in a row.

Prior to the 2018-19 season, three Canadians had the best chance to win the Hart Trophy according to the odds at the online sportsbooks.

·         Connor McDavid (+300)
·         Sidney Crosby (+700)
·         John Tavares (+1000)

But the way the first half of the season has played out and the recent shift in Stanley Cups odds has affected all of the major award contenders including the Hart. We all know the teams that don’t make the playoffs are hard-pressed to produce an MVP winner.

 

The Canadian Contenders

Connor McDavid (Edmonton)

McDavid set an NHL record by scoring or assisting on every one of Edmonton’s first nine goals this season. He isn’t just key to the Oiler offense, he is the Oiler offense. There’s no way Edmonton is even close to a Wild-Card spot without McDavid’s offensive contributions. His 73 points are 12 more than any other Oiler player.
The Oilers’ end-of-season point total might be the biggest detractor to McDavid’s MVP case.

Nathan Mackinnon (Colorado)

Last year’s Hart Trophy runner-up has picked up right where he left off, piling up 71 points before the All-Star break. That’s helped Colorado remain in the playoff hunt, building on a surprise post-season berth last year.
The biggest threat to Mackinnon’s MVP case may be the man that resides on his right wing. Still just 22 years old and getting better almost by the day, Mikko Rantanen is 3 points ahead of Mackinnon right now and the pair figure to be in on most of each other’s goals.
Gabe Landeskog is right behind them, as well, with 29 goals and 54 points to go along with a +14 rating.
The last forward to win the Hart without leading his team in scoring was Bobby Hull in 1965, when he finished 16 points behind Chicago teammate Stan Mikita (in nine fewer games).

Mitch Marner (Toronto)

Marner has been nothing short of solid in the final season of his entry-level contract with Toronto. Racking up twenty goals and 62 points after 49 games played he’s currently the Leafs’ leading scorer at the age of 21. He’ll be hard-pressed to push for MVP with such a strong supporting cast surrounding him but it’s clear that the Toronto offense flows through him.

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By HockeyNow| January 25, 2019
Categories:  Major Junior

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