I guess I want to be disliked by Edmonton sports fans this week. It is a pain to say it but I have no real problem with Taylor Hall winning the Hart Trophy. Yes, I think Connor McDavid should have been in the running BUT I will not disagree with the call of Hall winning it.
❣️ Congrats, @Hallsy09! ❣️
Taylor Hall is the 2018 Hart Memorial Trophy winner and the first-ever recipient in #NJDevils franchise history! #NHLAwards https://t.co/FrJnLQWpfh pic.twitter.com/xCacie0Bmk
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) June 21, 2018
Let’s be clear the Hart Trophy isn’t the best player in the league as so many people seem to think it is. It is the Most Valuable to their team. In other words, it is being the single biggest asset the team has. The Ted Lindsay Award is league’s most outstanding player and for the second year in a row, McDavid took home that honor. That’s a trophy that should get used to having McDavid’s name carved on it.
Hall vs. McDavid
I am not a Hall fan. Let’s be honest, I think half of Edmonton heard he was kind of a jerk. But, let’s also forget all that and stick strictly to facts; the Devils went from being in the bottom four of the NHL to a top-eight team in the Eastern Conference. It was on Taylor Hall’s back that they were able to do so.
Two years ago, when the Oilers went from the dumps to the playoffs McDavid won the Hart and Hall was 6th in the league in scoring that year, 39 points above the next closest Devil. One could make an argument McDavid was 38 points ahead of the next Oiler this season but overall, the Oilers as a team amassed more points and I would take the second-highest Oiler (Leon Drasaitl) over the second Devil (Nico Hischier) almost any day. Also while Connor was a 100-point-plus player, the Oil managed to miss the playoffs. This shouldn’t be blamed on McDavid as hockey is a team sport; however, Hall improved his own totals by 40 points and the Devils finally made the postseason. That has to count for something when looking who is the most valuable to their team, again not best player in the league.
Based solely on what they did for their teams, yes I can support Hall winning. I know we are going to get those who say the Oilers would be much worse without McDavid crowd. Yes, of course, they would! That’s not at all the point. The fact was, the Oilers were only eight points above the worst team in the West and that’s not good. With that mentality, the best player on a poor team should always win. And with that mentality, Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes should have won the Hart because he was the best on the worst. It isn’t about how much worse a team could be but about how much better that player made the team.
Should McDavid have been on the ballot for Hart? Yes, without question. Is Hall winning it a legit choice? Yes to that too. I think the big issue people have is they think the Hart is the “best” player in the league. It isn’t; quit confusing it. I mean if you’re looking for a silver lining, The Hart and the Ted Lindsay have been won by Oiler first overalls for the last two years.
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