All-You-Can-Eat Buffet: 2007-08 Hart Trophy Race

Francois GendronSenior Writer IMarch 7, 2008

With only four weeks of regular season hockey to go, the voting members could have a very difficult decision to make.

Who REALLY is the most valuable player for his team this season?

In many occasions, the player ending the season with the most points takes away the honor. Mainly, because the Hart Trophy recipient leads his team into the playoffs while dominating the score sheets all season long.

This season, with the equity of the forces all around the National Hockey League and the timely injuries to star players of the caliber of Sidney Crosby, Dany Heatley, Paul Stastny, Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson, the decision is not carved in stone just yet.

Let's make a scan of who's in line for the Hart Trophy this year:

Alexander Ovechkin. An obvious top three nominee for the Hart trophy this season. He's the only player with more than fifty goals this far. There is only a small detail: The Washington Capitals must make the playoffs for him to attract a majority of votes from the panel. End of the discussion.

But what if the Capitals don't finish in first place of their division and fail to make the cut?

Daniel Alfredsson. Fifth in scoring despite missing eight games to injury this season. Ottawa is an explosive unit with Alfredsson on top of his game.

Joe Thornton. This season, the San Jose Sharks' forward leads the league in passing and has always been one of the most prolific in this department.

Alex Kovalev. Nobody expected the Habs into the playoffs in October. Against all odds, the Canadiens lead their own division this far, all because of him. Kovalev currently leads the league in power play points as Montreal has the deadliest power play of the league this season.

Evgeni Malkin. Truly a breakout year for Malkin. When his teammate Sidney Crosby fell for a long term injury, many analysts predicted a Pittsburgh Penguins' difficult slump. He elevated his, kept the Penguins afloat towards a playoff qualification. Malkin currently ranks second in scoring.

Jarome Iginla. The veteran forward of the Calgary Flames has added another forty goal season to his collection. Without Iginla, the Flames are not playoff material.

So, the next four weeks could very well tip the balance in favor of one of these six players—especially with the Capitals' playoff life in the balance.