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Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks, and Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers.
No. 1: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings.
No. 2: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins.
No. 3: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning.
A lot of attention is being given to Toews and Giroux early on this year, and it's well deserved. They're among the most dynamic young playmaking forwards in the game today, and they're leading their teams in a playoff chase.
But there are three names that, unlike some of the others awards we've talked about, are more household names that should be considered for the Hart.
Is there a player in the game today that is taken for granted more than Datsyuk? It's hard to think of a player that's more deserving of more individual honors than he's received than Datsyuk, and he's on pace for arguably the best season of his Hall-of-Fame career.
Malkin, meanwhile, has been forced to step into the scoring void created by, first, Sidney Crosby and then Kris Letang. He's among the league's leaders in scoring, and he might be the most important player impacting his team's playoff chances.
Stamkos is absolutely on fire to start the year; he will be impossible to ignore if he pushes 60 goals.