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Leading up to the Awards show on June 22nd, we will be making a case for each nominee for the major awards as to why they should take home the hardware. Today, we continue with the Hart, given to the top MVP.
By Ryan Porth
Yes, the Ducks have a lot of weapons on offense. Yes, their Hart candidate only took off in the last month and a half. With that being said, of these three nominees, who was the player most valuable to his team (as the Hart is officially defined)? Corey Perry.
Perry was the only NHLer to reach the 50-goal mark this season; 11 of those goals were of the game-winning variety, tied for the league lead. Furthermore, Perry scored 21 times in the third period, proving how important he was late in games.
With the Ducks hovering around the playoff bubble, Perry raised his game to an unstoppable level. From Mar. 9 to Apr. 6 – a 14-game stretch – the 6-foot-3 right winger accumulated a staggering 19 goals and 29 points and scored five game-winners. Perry had five games where he tallied three points or more, while the Ducks went 10-3-1 in that span.
Usually, MVP’s have those memorable stand-out performances; Perry had his fair share. On Apr. 6, he scored a hat trick against San Jose as Anaheim closed in on a playoff berth. In Chicago in late March, Perry scored both Ducks goals in a 2-1 comeback victory, which was a momentous win in the team’s late-season push.
In that month-long span, Perry went from having a solid season to a great one.
We all know what Perry is capable of offensively, but he can also play well on the other end of the ice. He saw a decent amount of time on the penalty kill this season, scored a career-high four shorthanded goals and boasted a +9 rating, better than Martin St. Louis.
A lot of voters like to give the MVP trophy (in this case, the Hart) to the best player on the best team. Under those terms, Daniel Sedin may be your guy. But of these three finalists, Corey Perry was the most valuable to his team.
By Patrick Hoffman
Looking at the Hart Trophy candidates this season, it is easy to see why Corey Perry, Martin St. Louis and Daniel Sedin are all deserving of the league’s most valuable player trophy.
With that said, one stands out a bit more than the other two finalists and that is Daniel Sedin. While Perry’s and St. Louis's statistics do not fall far behind Sedin’s, there are other reasons why Sedin should be this year’s Hart Trophy winner.
For starters, Sedin scored 10 game-winning goals this season. When the game was on the line and the Canucks needed someone to put the puck in the net, it was Sedin that stepped up time and time again throughout the regular season.
When the team needed someone get the winner, Sedin was there. When the team needed someone to tie up the game, Sedin was there. And when the team needed someone to jumpstart the offense, Sedin was there. For the Canucks, Daniel Sedin was simply Mr. Clutch.
Secondly, Sedin was one of the league’s most consistent players during the regular season. There were only a few times this season where Sedin went more than two games without a point and when that did happen, he would come back in following games and put up points on a consistent basis.
For Sedin, this was also a comeback year of sorts for him. Last season, he played in 63 games because he broke his foot in the second week of the season. He still went on to post 85 points but this season, he took it to a whole new level and established career highs in goals, assists, and points.
Sedin was a very big part of the Canucks’ success this season. He was there for them when it mattered the most and he stepped up whenever the team needed someone to produce.
When all is said and done, the Hart Trophy should go to Vancouver Canucks forward, Daniel Sedin.
Martin St. Louis
By Erika Schnure
In a league of big bodies, Martin St. Louis is constant proof that size doesn’t matter. Generously listed at 5’8”, the diminutive winger began his career as a teammate of Tim Thomas at the University of Vermont.
St. Louis’ route to the NHL was less circuitous than Thomas’, and he’s been settled in Tampa Bay playing with the Lightning since the 2000-2001 season. In 2004, he won his first Hart trophy and his first Stanley Cup. Through his seasons in the NHL, St. Louis has showed that he doesn’t let his size get in the way of his game.
He had yet another memorable season this year. He racked up 99 points (31 goals, 68 assists) in 82 games. His number of assists tied a franchise record for assists in one season. He topped off those statistics with just 12 penalty minutes for the entire season (a reason he has won the Lady Byng in the past).
Fast, phenomenal with the puck, and not afraid to match up against the biggest guys in the league, he’s the perfect candidate for the Hart this year. St. Louis has had a lot to do with the astonishing development of line-mate Steven Stamkos, through his leadership and skill. But his play was beneficial to the rest of the team as well. He helped the Lightning to post the second-best win total in franchise history, and his late-season scoring touch took them to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
The Hart Trophy, according to the NHL, is awarded to the player who is “judged to be the most valuable to his team.” With the big boost St. Louis gave the Lightning this year, the award should be all his.
Photos credit: Getty Images
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