NHL: Who Really is This Year's MVP?

Ian ZymarakisSenior Analyst IMarch 18, 2008

With the injury to last year's MVP Sidney Crosby, the NHL is now on pace to award a new player the coveted prize.

Which players are up for the nod, and who should be considered despite playing for a bad team? Let's take a look.

MVP Winner

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Malkin is my MVP right now. Since Crosby went down with his ankle injury, Malkin finally showed what he could do if he was the main attraction on a very young Penguins team.

His 41 goals and 56 assists are up from his already impressive rookie season, and his 97 points is second overall in the NHL behind Alexander Oveckin.

Malkin has put this team on his back and has shown he is the real deal. He doesn't need Crosby to capitalize on goal scoring.

Since the award usually goes to the player who is most valuable to his team, and to a player whose team made the playoffs, Malkin definitely fits the bill.

Other MVP Nominees

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

With the injury to Crosby this season, most eyes have been on Oveckin. He has already proven himself to be the purest goal scorer in the NHL today.

His 57 goals and 99 points are both tops in the NHL. Should he get to 60 goals, he will be the first player to do so in a season since fellow Russian Pavel Bure.

Problem is, the Capitals most likely will not make the playoffs, which automatically hurts his chances of winning MVP. If Washington can make a late push and sneak into the playoffs, I believe the award will go from Malkin to Ovechkin, but I don't see Washington sneaking into the playoffs at this point. 

Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames

Iginla is perceived among many as the most dominant player in the game today. His pure offensive ability along with his tough guy attitude (he fights a lot for a superstar) are what propel him over Crosby as the most dominant player in the league right now.

He currently ranks third in the NHL in total points with 87. If not for the incredible seasons of Malkin and Ovechkin, Iginla would be a sure-fire MVP.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

No player means more to his team then Luongo does to the Canucks.

Due to Vancouver's lack of offense this season, Luongo has had to do it all. He is seen as the best goalie in the world right now, taking the title from fellow Canadian Martin Brodeur, and I can't argue that at all.

He has 33 wins this year, a 2.25 GAA, .922 save percentage, and six shutouts, all of which rank in the top 10 of NHL Goaltenders.

Luongo may not win MVP of the League, but I think if the Canucks go far in the playoffs and somehow get to the Cup Finals on his back, Luongo will be rewarded with the Con Smythe award.

Other Nominees

Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks