2010-11 NHL Predictions: Top Hart Trophy Candidates
Will this be a repeat for Henrik Sedin, or just another insert on to Alex Ovechkin’s belt?
I am going to analyze candidates of my choice based upon their past performances and considerations for the Hart Trophy Award. This is in no particular order, besides alphabetizing by team name.
Countless players have come close and others should have better considerations for this season and years to come.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
It was only two seasons ago when Getzlaf drew in 91 points.
Unfortunately, last season he was limited to 66 games. Even with the limitation, Getzlaf still put up 69 points (50 assists).
During preseason, Getzlaf’s ankle seems to be exceptionally healthy. With a full healthy season, Getzlaf is a prime candidate without doubt.
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Last season Miller finished with 2.22 goals against average and .929 save percentage while making the personal achievement of winning 41 games.
The quiet offseason for the Sabres gives Miller the same team to work with.
The success from all sides is necessary. If Miller can pull off the same season or better, then Hart can be as good as his. By the end of the season, he may be trading the Vezina for the Hart.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Everything thrown in Toews’ path seems to be achieved above and beyond expectations.
Since the end of the Blackhawks 2009 season, Toews said he knew 2010 would be his year as well as the team's. Being another exceptional captain in the NHL, Toews has a willpower to succeed that is just as strong as Crosby’s, if not stronger.
After winning a gold medal in the Winter Olympics, Conn Smythe, and the ever-so-cherished Stanley Cup, how could one not give Toews consideration for the Hart Trophy?
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Kopitar has his eye of all prizes from the NHL. After scoring 81 points last season he is a great candidate for this season's Hart.
Being the first-ever Slovenian player to appear in the NHL he sure had a lot to prove. Considering his numbers and style of play, not only has he made his country proud, but also the Los Angeles Kings as well.
Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
Captain Richards led his team all the way to Game Six of the Stanley Cup finals. With a team whose destiny was to not even make the playoffs, Richards found a way.
He may not rack up the points, but his leadership is never questionable.
Above all, with Jeff Carter joining him on his line, it could only lead to more scoring opportunities for Richards.
If he can keep the Flyers on a reliable and victorious path, there is no reason he cannot be considered a candidate.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Sid the Kid is no stranger to the Hart Trophy. He won the award in 2007 and was a finalist this past season and in 2008.
He has been the highlight of the NHL since he started, bringing home the Stanley Cup and being one of the most prominent captains in the NHL.
At a plus-15 and scoring the season-high of 51 goals (tying with Steven Stamkos), he should be included as a finalist for 2011 as well.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
After ending last season with 51 goals (tied with Sidney Crosby) Stamkos should got up on a list with the big boys, Wayne Gretzky and Jimmy Carson.
After being the third youngest player to score at least 50 goals in a season, he also put up 44 assists.
Stamkos racked up a total of 95 points at 20 years old. There is only room for improvement and lots of room on his trophy shelf.
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Sedin was on top of the world with this trophy last season. Question is if he can pull an Ovechkin and do it again.
Sedin busted out with 112 points (league leader). The demand is on Sedin for another Hart Trophy win and the finest reward of all: the Stanley Cup.
We’ll have to wait and see if he can live up to such immense expectations.
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
One of the best players in the NHL has already won the award twice and he was a finalist last season.
Ovechkin has scored 50 goals for the fourth time in five seasons, and accrued over 100 points for the third straight season.
Hart Trophy finalist has his name written all over it. I am sure he is hoping the same goes for the Stanley Cup.