Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and New York's Henrik Lundqvist are all in contention for the individual who was most valuable to his team.
No one stepped up more for the Pittsburgh Penguins while Sidney Crosby was out with injury than Evgeni Malkin. The 25-year-old Russian superstar notched 109 points (50 goals, 59 assists) in 75 games, helping Pittsburgh to be one of the top teams in the East while Crosby was absent.
While the Penguins are exceptionally coached and incredibly deep in talent, no one can take away what Malkin meant to his team. Without him, Pittsburgh would have struggled to make the playoffs.
Despite his team finishing eight points out of a playoff spot in the East, Tampa Bay would not have been in that position without Steven Stamkos.
The 22-year-old sniper finished with his best statistical season yet with 97 points and 60 goals—tops in the league and will earn him the Rocket Richard trophy. This is also Stamkos' third-consecutive 90-point season. Stamkos was also clutch as well as flashy, scoring 12 game-winning goals—first in the NHL.
The Lightning have a long way to go before being contenders in the East again, but are in good hands with GM Steve Yzerman, who has a gifted goal-scorer in Steven Stamkos to build around for years.
It's been a magical season for Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. No. 1 in the East since December 30, the Blueshirts can thank their exceptional goaltender for being a key reason for this season's rise to the top.
Who wins the Hart trophy for league MVP this year?
Also up for the Vezina, Lundqvist's play in net this season has not only frustrated opposing would-be goal scorers all year long, it's given him national recognition as arguably the league's best goalie.
The King has a chance to take home some serious hardware.
Only three goalies in NHL history have ever won both the Hart and Vezina trophies in the same season: Jacques Plante, Dominik Hasek and Jose Theodore—the last to do so during the 2001-2002 season.
It'll be a tough vote to cast, but who do you see winning the Hart Trophy?
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