Frozen Pool Forensics: Analyzing Hart Trophy Candidates

Chris Liggio

2018-05-25

Last week we covered the candidates for the Selke Trophy along with some names that needed their piece. In the same fashion this week we are taking a look at the named candidates for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the player who is most valuable to their squad’s success, along with a couple names that could use some acknowledgement despite not making the cut. To start, we look to Nova Scotia’s second-most loved son next to Sidney Crosby. We’ve all waited some time for this youngster to ascend to the elite territory and 2017-18 is hopefully but one of many productive seasons to come.

 

Nathan MacKinnon

Everyone knew the talent and ability was there but the three years following his rookie campaign were disappointing. Though much of those mediocre seasons can be attested to the meager Avalanche squad he found himself on, this is a player that was expected to carry a franchise coming out of the draft. Improvement of the squad overall, a second season with coach Jared Bednar, and elevation of his own game led to career marks for the Halifax Mooseheads alum. Scoring 97 points total (39G, 58A), MacKinnon was an elite fantasy option for owners lucky enough to snag him in drafts. MacKinnon’s fading fantasy hope over the years allowed him to go in the 13th round in my redraft league and, to say the least, the owner was quite pleased with his investment.

A career season in shots for MacKinnon with 284 put him amongst the tops in the league. MacKinnon led the league in goals created per game at 0.50, tied for first with Brayden Point with 12 game winning goals, and was second to Connor McDavid by 0.01 in points per game (1.31). Colorado is not the deepest of squads at forward, relying heavily on the top unit (MacKinnon/Mikko Rantanen/Gabriel Landeskog) to provide the offense. The top line’s combined 243 points is the main reason they found themselves in the playoffs. Beyond them and Tyson Barrie, no other Avalanche player produced any astounding offensive numbers. Regardless this team had ten players with ten goals or more in 2017-18 so the future is bright. MacKinnon deserves heavy consideration regardless of the team’s first-round exit.

 

Taylor Hall

Much like MacKinnon above, Taylor Hall also needs heavy consideration for MVP hardware because the Devils would not have made the postseason without his career year. Any of us who owned Hall for his 80-point campaign in 2013-14 have always held out hope he’d produce in the same light again someday. Hal