The Hart Trophy is annually awarded to the NHL player judged most valuable to his team as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
In most cases, the award goes to the league's top superstars, and this season should prove no exception. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks could be among this season's finalists.
There are, however, other players whose performances so far this season are no less worthy of recognition. Here are 10 dark-horse candidates for the Hart Trophy and the reasons why they merit consideration.