My take on the Hart Trophy going to a player on a team that didn’t make the playoffs? I’m fine with it as long as the team is close. If the team is nowhere near the playoffs (ahem, Edmonton) then I don’t think that player can be the player judged to be most valuable to his team. Because a team near last place in the league, without that “valuable” player, would…what, be even worse? Thank goodness Edmonton had Conner McDavid because instead of being 26th in the league they would have been…all the way down to 29th? Wow. Valuable.
Meanwhile, New Jersey isn’t a great team. Better than I thought and far exceeding everyone’s expectations, but not a great team at all. And while they may just barely miss the playoffs (that’s what I predict, anyway), without Taylor Hall this team would have been out of it in January. Nathan MacKinnon would get my first-place vote though, with Hall next and then my next three picks are tough. Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy are both equally valuable to Tampa Bay, and most of the other top teams have similar MVP vote splits (Subban/Rinne, Malkin/Kessel, Winnipeg/Everybody, Barkov/Huberdeau/Trocheck). If Brad Marchand didn’t get so many fines and suspensions this year he would have gotten my third-place vote, but that’s obviously out the window now. I’d probably look very closely at Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Marchessault and Eric Staal as my other three votes. Where do you stand on this whole “only vote for players on playoff teams” thing?
The next generation of