The NHL MVP race is one of the tightest it has been in a long time. There is an argument for at least five-to-six players to win the Hart Trophy, including Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon.
MacKinnon has 35 goals and recorded 50 assists, in 62 games played so far this season. He is one of the reasons why the Colorado Avalanche have a 38-28-4 record with 84 points so far this season. Colorado is currently in fourth place in the Central Division and they are one point back of the Minnesota Wild for the third spot in the Central Division.
The Avalanche are currently in the first wild-card spot in the western conference and Colorado has 12 games remaining. MacKinnon has astronomically put the team on his back. The Avalanche were porous in the 2016-2017 season and ever since Matt Duchene has been traded from Colorado on November 2, MacKinnon has been a totally locked in player.
Nathan MacKinnon is fourth in the NHL in points. Connor McDavid (86, Edmonton Oilers), Evgeni Malkin (89, Pittsburgh Penguins), and Nikita Kucherov (91, Tampa Bay Lightning) are all ahead of him. Kucherov and Malkin will be finalist for the Hart Trophy because Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh will be in the playoffs.
The case for MacKinnon to be the third finalist will depend on a couple of things: 1.) Will the Colorado Avalanche make it to the playoffs? If they make it to the playoffs, then he deserves to be on it.
2.) It depends what Connor McDavid does from now until the end of the season. If McDavid continues to light it up, he might be a finalist because McDavid won the award last season and even though the Edmonton Oilers won’t make it to the playoffs, his reputation alone will get him on the ballot.
3.) Will MacKinnon actually be favored to be on the ballot with Connor McDavid and Nikita Kucherov over Evgeni Malkin? In Malkin’s career, he has been over looked many times and this could be another case here. MacKinnon has carried a team on his back and Malkin has Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel on his team.
This should be a year that the NHL allows four candidates for the Hart Trophy instead of three. MacKinnon belongs to be a Hart Trophy finalist, but the right dominoes have to fall in place.