NHL Hart Trophy: Everything You Need to Know About the Finalists

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Last season, Alex Ovechkin won his third Hart Memorial Trophy (the league’s regular-season MVP award) of his career. As he has been one of the best players in the National Hockey League for most of his career, this wasn’t a real surprise — just look at his stat line during the years that he won (2008, 2009, and a year ago). But he won’t be repeating again this year; he finished with 79 points on 51 goals and 28 assists. While his 51 goals led the entire league, his point total was just too low.

The Hart Trophy has become one of the most prestigious awards given out. When you look at the list of past winners, it’s a toned-back list of Hall of Famers — minus current players, that is. But it’s not the most coveted trophy in the league, either. Obviously, the Stanley Cup is number one, and the Conn Smythe — the trophy given to the best player in the playoffs — is probably number two. A factor that tends to have influence in the voters’ ballots is whether a player’s team is in the playoffs. While that might not have any effect on how valuable that person was to his respective team, it’s rare to see somebody win the Hart Trophy and not appear in the playoffs.

And that’s where it gets interesting. Because the vote was taken prior to the commencement of the playoffs, the voters (the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association) can’t be swayed by playoff performances or how the teams finish in the postseason. The NHL on Thursday announced the three finalists for the award, which shockingly had all three players earning playoff berths. Along with listing them, here’s a look at what they did during the regular season to find their name listed as one of the three finalists.

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