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The 2023-24 Race for the Hart Trophy Is On: The Candidates

The race for the 2023-24 NHL Hart Trophy is on and here are the top candidates in contention as the season winds down.

The Hart Trophy is the NHL trophy for the most valuable player to their team based on voters. However, this year it has been extremely difficult to figure out who is truly the NHL’s true MVP because this season the stars have been shining brighter than ever before. So many top-notch performances have come out of this 2023-24 NHL season, how will the voters decide who wins the race to the finish?

There is a case to be made for at least three NHL stars, maybe more. With only a couple of games left in the regular season, it’s hard to know who has the edge.

Connor McDavid: 100 Assists for the World’s Best Player

Connor McDavid is the first player since Wayne Gretzky and the fourth all-time player to reach this mark. Even with the Oilers’ horrible start this season because of Connor’s play (32-100-132), being able to help his team jump from the bottom of the Pacific to 2nd in the Pacific only behind the Vancouver Canucks.

McDavid MacKinnon Kucherov

Related: “McDavid’s Magnificent Milestone: 100 Assists in a Single Season”

He reached 100 points on Monday night in a 9-2 spanking of the San Jose Sharks and has two games remaining, which he may or may not play.

Nikita Kucherov: The Russian Machine

Another contender for the Hart Trophy and my pick for this year’s MVP is Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov. He has proven himself to be an elite playmaker and goal scorer, most likely winning the Art Ross Trophy with, as of this writing, 43-99-142 points. He can also hit the 100-assist century mark, which would make him the 5th ever player to do it. He has been so dominant there is a 53-point gap between him and his next teammate, Brayden Point. He has been a one-man machine, and not just on the powerplay but 5 on 5 as well.

Can MacKinnon Finally Win It?

Nathan MacKinnon has been absolutely amazing this season, having a home-point streak of 32 games, which is the first time that has ever happened in 35 years. His sheer dominance on and off the puck has kept the Avalanche on top of the center even with the losses of Valeri Nichushkin, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen, not to mention the full loss of their captain, Gabriel Landeskog. MacKinnon has been extremely consistent, not missing a single game, and having a dominant stat line of 51-87-138.

Matthews: Is 70 Goals Enough to Win the Hart?

Everyone knows Auston Matthews is an elite goal scorer, but this year he has taken it to another level with currently 69 goals. He can hit 70 on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, it’s not that he has this many goals, it’s the fact that 50 of them are in 5-on-5 play.

With injuries to Mitch Marner, the offensive firepower is very Matthews-focused for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s the first player since the Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne, to score 50 5-on-5 goals and being the NHL all-time leader in single-season goals, passing Ovechkin. There is a case for Matthews to be in the Hart voting.

Crosby Not Going Away Quietly

Sidney Crosby has put the Pittsburgh Penguins on his back with the loss of Jake Guentzel this season via trade. He has been a point-per-game player for his entire career, and now he is Top 10 all-time in scoring. He has pushed his game to an even higher level, scoring 40 goals again in his career. He continues his dominance and has a strong case to be Hart Trophy winner.”

The talk of what’s going to happen to Crosby and the Penguins this summer and moving forward hasn’t distracted him. In fact, it’s likely only motivated him to send a message.

Next: “Maple Leafs Provide Updates on Several Player Injuries

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