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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our midseason picks for the Hart Trophy.
Across all game states, he ranks 1st in points (65), points per 60 (5.13) and game score per 60 (4.59). He is a threat as a shooter and a playmaker. He can drive play and is dynamic through the neutral zone, too.
Kucherov is as productive as anyone in the league and is the best player on a team that sits 1st in the NHL by 10 points and 16 goals. He has a great supporting cast, of course, but he shouldn't be punished for taking advantage of a good situation.
Though there are a lot of great candidates, I think Kucherov has done enough to emerge as the leader.
The mid season Hart Trophy is a tough call because no one is really running away with it.
Nikita Kucherov leads the league in scoring, his team never loses and he'd be a great choice. Joe Pavelski is insanely underrated, he leads the NHL in WAR (corsica) and has 24 goals. Johnny Gaudreau is a great choice too, he's got 59 points gets 11 breakaways every game and is one of the most fun players in the league to watch.
But the only real choice is Connor McDavid, he's so far ahead of anyone else in the game that it's ridiculous. Lemieux was at least close to Gretzky. McDavid is a mile ahead of his competitors and it only seems like there might be someone close because his team is the laughingstock of the NHL. McDavid is his whole team. Every other player you could conceivably pick for this award has the advantage that teams can't solely focus on them. Edmonton's got Draisaitl, but he doesn't scare anyone by himself, and then what - Kyle Brodziak hahahaha. If McDavid had say Mackinnon, Stamkos, Tavares or Couture playing behind him, he'd be leading the NHL by 40 points. Hell, he led it by 20 last year and was robbed by the stupidest vote history (OK, second stupidest).
Yes, this is a homer pick but I go with Scheifele. However, there are many good choices and any of Gaudreau, Kucherov or Freddy Anderson work for me.
Now Anderson is in their simply because he's holding the Leafs up in some many ways and with his injury we are about to find out what they are without him, but goalies get a Vezina nod.
Between the three skaters above though Scheifele sits below the other two in underlying numbers and in fairness to Gaudreau and Kucherov they are having outstanding seasons. I still take Scheifele because he never gets the press outside of Winnipeg and given his contract value he's getting my vote until there is reason not to. Yeah, it's a homer pick but he should at the very least be in the conversation.
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