The NHL came out on Tuesday with the three nominees for the elusive Hart Trophy. Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers were nominated by the PHWA, better known as the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Leon Draisaitl led the NHL with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) and was the first German player to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league leader in points.
He had 56 points in 71 games and had 33 multi point games this past season. The Cologne, Germany native led the NHL in assists and points on the power play. He led all forwards in ice time and average ice time with 1,605 minutes and 22:37 respectively. If he wins, he will be the fourth Oiler to win the award after Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Connor McDavid. Gretzky, better known as “The Great One,” was awarded the Hart Trophy a record eight times.
Nathan Mackinnon finished the season with 93 points ( 35 goals, 58 assists) in 69 games played. He started the season on fire with a 13 game point streak which helped him a lot.
Artemi Panarin had a breakout first year with the Rangers, finishing with 932 goals and 63 assists for 95 points. He also had a career year when it came to ice time with an average of 20:36 per game. This included being used on the man advantage for 3:44 and a career low in penalty minutes with 20.
Panarin is the second Ranger in history to be nominated for the award after Henrik Lundqvist was was previously voted back in 2011-2012. He also won the Calder Trophy back in 2015-16 when he competed with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Funny enough, these are also the three players nominated for the Ted Lindsay Award for the most outstanding player. In my opinion, I have to give it to Leon Draisaitl who had a career year in Edmonton. I feel this is only the beginning of what could be the growth of an exceptional player. That would be thanks to both his skill as well as goal scoring potential. He could be as big as Connor McDavid and that’s why my Hart Trophy vote goes to him.
As cited by the National Hockey League, the Hart Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged most valuable player to their team.