Top 5 Hart Trophy Candidates

The Hart Memorial Trophy is Awarded to the Player Who is Determined to be Most Valuable to His Team. Coming into the Middle of the Season, the Hart Trophy Conversations Are Taking Flight. See the Top Names in Talks For the Hart Trophy.

The middle of the season is here and the 2016-17 NHL trophy discussions are beginning to take place. We’ve gone over the top five candidates for the Calder and Vezina Trophies, now we will look at the five front-runners for the Hart Trophy.

The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player who is determined to be the most valuable player for his team during the regular season. This player is often a leader in production and heart on the ice and becomes a reliable staple in the team’s roster.

A few players have had their names come up in Hart Trophy discussions, some more than others, as the season continues to progress. Here you’ll see the top five candidate campaigns for the Hart Trophy.

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May 23, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) controls the puck against the San Jose Sharks in the third period in game five of the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center. The Sharks won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

5.  Vladimir Tarasenko – St.Louis Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko has been one of the Blues‘ biggest names this season. The 25-year-old is currently tied for fourth in the NHL in terms of points (44) and has been St.Louis’ best-performing player.

Tarasenko gets better each season and this season he is confidently leading his team to big wins. The 2017 NHL All-Star is the Blues’ biggest star and has been making incredibly important moves for the team this season. It is difficult to imagine where the team would be without their top goal scorer and points leader.

Tarasenko has 44 points this season with 20 goals and 24 assists. At the conclusion of last season, Tarasenko had 40 goals, 34 assists and 74 points. Tarasenko is on a path to at least match last season’s stats and with his strong play, it wouldn’t be surprising if he created a new career high.

Tarasenko has helped the Blues grab third place in the Central Division so far this season. He will continue to help the team succeed as they chase the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tarasenko is definitely St.Louis’ most valuable player and they know it.

It is hard to imagine where the Blues might be without Tarasenko and hopefully they never have to find out. Tarasenko is a motivated leader and a confident player, which makes him an excellent candidate for the Hart Trophy.

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NHL Power Rankings: Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center. The Avalanche beat the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

4. Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild

Devan Dubyk is one of the top goaltenders this season and has been an incredible goaltender for the Minnesota Wild. Dubnyk is very present on the NHL’s goaltending leaderboard and has led the Wild to first place in the Central Division.

Dubnyk leads NHL goalies in GAA (1.78) and for his save percentage (.940) and ranks second for most wins (23) and most shutouts (5). Dubnyk has been performing at an unreal level this season. The goaltender, also in talks for the Vezina, has been an incredibly important asset to his team.

The Wild’s improved play combined with the elite play and leadership of their goaltender have plunged the team into a lot of success. Minnesota will be looking to continue their huge impact as they chase the Stanley Cup.

Dubnyk is definitely Minnesota’s most valued player. Without Dubnyk, the Wild might be in a very different position this season. But Dubnyk is performing incredibly well and has been confidently leading his team, making his Hart Trophy campaign a very persuasive one.

NHL Power Rankings: Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) makes a save in the first period against the Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (not pictured) at Xcel Energy Center. The Blue Jackets beat the Wild 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) makes a save in the first period against the Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (not pictured) at Xcel Energy Center. The Blue Jackets beat the Wild 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

3. Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets

Sergei Bobrovsky has been a driving force for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. The Blue Jackets have come an extremely long way since last season and currently place in second in the Metropolitan Division.

The Blue Jackets have found their niche in their play but a big part of their success has been Bobrovsky’s elite goaltending this season.  Bobrovsky currently leads NHL goalies with the most wins (26) and is posting a .931 save percentage.

The goaltender also posts a 2.00 GAA and has three shutouts so far this season. Bobrovsky has been putting forward elite-level goaltending and, hence, has been Columbus’ rock so far this season. Sure, the Jackets have been demonstrating some great play but they wouldn’t have gotten where they are now without the solid play of their goaltender.

Bobrovsky’s campaign for the Hart Trophy revolves around how elite he has been for the team this season and how he has been a driving force in all of the success the team has found this season.

Mar 22, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) looks on during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 22, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) looks on during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

2. Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid has been a game changer for the Edmonton Oilers. The 20-year-old joined the Oilers last season and lived up to expectations. Through just 45 games last season, McDavid had 16 goals and 32 assists. This season McDavid has two more points in the same amount of games and will be playing the full season.

McDavid currently has 14 goals and 36 assists for a league-leading 50 points. The young forward also leads the NHL with his high 36 assists. He has four more points than Sidney Crosby and three more assists than Patrick Kane.

McDavid is singlehandedly Edmonton’s most valuable player. Not only does the team captain lead his team confidently towards wins good enough for second in the Pacific Division, McDavid is an offensive powerhouse and motivating teammate.

McDavid’s campaign for the Hart Trophy is a strong one, therefore it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 20-year-old leaving the season as the Hart Trophy recipient.

NHL Mid-Season Awards: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks on against the Boston Bruins during the second period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Mid-Season Awards: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks on against the Boston Bruins during the second period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins is arguably the best player in the NHL. The captain has been a leader for his team since his first season and this season has been no different. Crosby is considered a favorite for the Hart Trophy, and the reason why isn’t a secret.

The start of Crosby’s season was delayed because of a concussion he suffered prior to the Penguins’ home opener. Despite the perceived disadvantage Crosby went right to business when he got into the rink.

The captain leads the NHL in goals with 26 goals and ranks third in terms of points with 46 points. Crosby is a scoring machine and is always there to support and lead his team. Season after season the Penguins can rely on Crosby to be there when they need a motivating push.

Therefore, Crosby leads with the best Hart Trophy campaign. Without Crosby, the Penguins would not be the same team they have been since he started his career. Crosby is a staple in the Penguins’ game and he is, by far, the team’s most treasured player.

Crosby has been a favorite for the Hart Trophy so far this season and the value he has is completely in support of this.

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