MacKinnon, Matthews, McDavid Named Finalists for 2021 Hart Memorial Trophy

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 10, 2021

Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

Three of the NHL's most dynamic offensive players were named finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy on Thursday.

The NHL announced that Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews are up for the honor.

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

Nathan MacKinnon (@Avalanche), Auston Matthews (@MapleLeafs) and Connor McDavid (@EdmontonOilers) are the finalists for the 2020-21 Hart Memorial Trophy. https://t.co/78c6pDAmtm #NHLAwards #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/K9UFGAWw01

The Hart Trophy is given annually to the NHL player who is deemed to be most valuable to his team.

Of the three finalists, only McDavid won the Hart Trophy, his award coming in 2017.

He may be the favorite to win the award for a second time this year, which would make him the second consecutive Oilers player to take the trophy, as teammate Leon Draisaitl was MVP last season.

McDavid's numbers jump off the page, as he led the NHL with 105 points in just 56 games, which is 21 points more than Draisaitl, who finished second in the NHL with 84 points.

The 24-year-old McDavid also led the NHL in assists with 72 and finished second in goals with 33 behind only Matthews' 41.

MacKinnon is a three-time Hart Trophy finalist, and he has twice finished second in the voting, including last season.

Although injuries limited him to 48 games, MacKinnon still finished with 65 points, which was the eighth-most in the NHL this season. He also scored 20 goals and was fifth in the league with 45 assists.

Perhaps most importantly, MacKinnon was the best player on the NHL's best team, as Colorado won the Presidents' Trophy by virtue of having the league's best record.

Matthews is a first-time Hart Trophy finalist, and he has gotten to this point thanks largely to his goal-scoring prowess.

The American led the NHL with 41 goals this season, earning him the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy for the first time in his career as well.

In addition to leading the NHL in goal scoring, Matthews tallied 25 assists and finished tied for fifth in the NHL in points with 66.

MacKinnon is looking to become the first Avalanche player to win the Hart Trophy since Peter Forsberg in 2003, while Matthews would be the first Leafs player to win it since Ted Kennedy in 1955.

The winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy and the NHL's other awards will be announced throughout the Stanley Cup Playoff Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final in the coming weeks.


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