On the Ice: Top 5 MVP Candidates

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On the Ice: Top 5 MVP Candidates

"Tavares (left) has been unstoppable all season and he is just one of two players in the NHL who are top 10 in goals and top 15 in assists." Photo courtesy of TNS.

"Tavares (left) has been unstoppable all season and he is just one of two players in the NHL who are top 10 in goals and top 15 in assists." Photo courtesy of TNS.

"Tavares (left) has been unstoppable all season and he is just one of two players in the NHL who are top 10 in goals and top 15 in assists." Photo courtesy of TNS.

Jordan Ball

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The NHL has been gifted with many surprises and disappointments this season and with the regular season coming to a close, so are the award races. There are an abundance of players who deserve recognition for their outstanding play this season, but these five players are deserving of MVP consideration. Here are the five Hart Trophy favorites:

5. Alexander Ovechkin (RW)

Ovechkin has hit the 50 goal mark for the sixth time in his career, placing him in all-time elite company. He currently has 77 points on the season, which is second in the NHL, and he’s 10 goals ahead of the two players tied for second so it’s safe to say Ovechkin will win another Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy for being the top goal scorer. He’s always been a lethal goal scorer, but last season he struggled to lead his Washington Capitals to a playoff berth. This year, the Capitals are sitting in 6th place in the Easter Conference with the potential to reach 4th and Ovechkin’s MVP-type play is carrying this turn around. His main argument for the Hart Trophy is in his eye popping numbers.

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“He currently has 77 points on the season, which is second in the NHL, and he’s 10 goals ahead of the two players tied for second so it’s safe to say Ovechkin will win another Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy for being the top goal scorer.”
Photo courtesy of TNS.

4. Sidney Crosby (C)

Sidney Crosby has the title of best player in the world and is a perennial Hart Trophy favorite. This season Crosby is leading the NHL in points (79) and is third in assists (54) with the league leader at 55. Though Crosby has missed five games this season, he’s still dominant when he’s on the ice. Playing five and six less games then the next two point leaders, Ovechkin and Tavares, he has two more points than both of them. He’s one goal away from reaching the 300 goal mark for his career, putting him in elite company. His Pittsburgh Penguins are sitting in 4th place but the Capitals and Islanders are not far behind, so these last five games are significant. For Crosby this could be considered a down year compared to what we’re used to seeing him produce, but his consistency cannot be ignored which is why he’s in the MVP discussion.

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“For Crosby this could be considered a down year compared to what we’re used to seeing him produce, but his consistency cannot be ignored which is why he’s in the MVP discussion.”
Photo courtesy of TNS.

3. Pekka Rinne (G)

Last season the Nashville Predators were 38-32 and eliminated from playoff contention, but this year they’re 47-22 sitting 2nd in the west having already clinched a playoff berth. Goalie Pekka Rinne has a big hand in this turn around. He’s always been one of the best goalies in the NHL, but this year he has been undoubtedly the second best. Rinne is tied for first in wins (41), he’s third in goals against average (2.13), sixth in save percentage (.925) and has four shutouts which is 15th amongst all goalies. These numbers should clearly make Rinne a Hart Trophy nominee and if this was any other year he might actually be the best goalie because he’s definitely playing like an MVP.

2. John Tavares (C)

After a torn MCL and torn meniscus derailed the New York Islanders captain last year, Tavares has made a strong case for the Hart trophy this season. Despite not having the talent around him that the other players on this list may have, he’s currently positioned the Islanders as the 5th seed in a tough Eastern Conference. They are tied with the 4th seeded Penguins in points, but with five games left, the Islanders could potentially take the Penguins spot and their captain has a lot to do with it. Tavares has been unstoppable all season and he is just one of two players in the NHL who are top 10 in goals and top 15 in assists. Win the award or not, the 24-year-old Tavares has proven he’s more than deserving of real MVP consideration.

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“First in save percentage with .936. League average is .914 Tied for first in wins with 41. League average 12.9. Tied for first in shutouts with nine. League average 1.7.”
Photo courtesy of TNS.

 

1. Carey Price (G)

The only way to explain 27-year-old goalie Carey Price’s play this season is to say he was dropped from Krypton as a Superman clone, because that’s how out of this world he’s been. The Montreal Canadiens are currently in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference with a chance to regain 1st place by the time the season ends, behind an overpowering Price. Carey Price is either leading or tied for first in every major statistical goalie category and here’s a glimpse of his dominance compared to the league averages:

First in goals against average with a 1.92 GAA. League average is 2.53 and second is 2.05.

First in save percentage with .936. League average is .914

Tied for first in wins with 41. League average 12.9.

Tied for first in shutouts with nine. League average 1.7.

His level of consistency and captivating play in net this season should definitely garner Price his first Vezina trophy, as the best goalie in the regular season. Though he will certainly see more of those in his career, Price has not been just the best goalie this year but the best player. You could not find a more deserving and worthy player for the MVP then Carey Price.

Honorable mentions: (RW) Patrick Kane, (G) Devan Dubnyk, (C) Ryan Getzlaf, (C) Steven Stamkos, (LW) Max Pacioretty, (LW) Rick Nash