There was plenty of debate about who should be considered, but Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, and Igor Shesterkin are the three finalists for the 2021-22 Hart Memorial Trophy. The trophy is awarded “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team,” and there are people on all sides arguing reasons for each.
Auston Matthews (@MapleLeafs), Connor McDavid (@EdmontonOilers) and Igor Shesterkin (@NYRangers) are the three finalists for the 2021‑22 Hart Memorial Trophy. https://t.co/NlPWkf07jH #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/zPW7zb5van
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 12, 2022
Matthews became the first player in a decade to score 60 goals in a season. The watch was on most of the season as he went on a torrid pace, many wanting to see if he could break Rick Vaive’s Maple Leafs franchise record for goals (54) first, then the record for most goals by an American-born player (55 by Jimmy Carson), then the 60-goal plateau. He did and that alone might make him the favorite.
At the same time, McDavid has now been nominated four times and deservedly so. He was, once again, the league’s top point-getter this season with 123 points. He had career highs in goals (44), and added 79 assists. He was a much better all-around player and he didn’t have an elite assist man on his line for most of the season (although he did play some with Leon Draisaitl).
Igor Shesterkin was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy (likely a show-in for that award) as top goaltender in the league earlier this week. He’s also a finalist. He was 36-13-4 with an NHL-best 2.07 goals-against average and .935 save percentage this season. His name wasn’t mentioned as often in the Hart Trophy conversation towards the end of the campaign, likely based on the accomplishments of McDavid and Matthews (among other 100-point players), but he absolutely deserves to be recognized. If not for Shesterkin, the Rangers don’t have nearly the season they did and he stole a lot of wins for that team.
Who Should Win the Hart Trophy?
The favorite seems to be Matthews based on his 60 goals, something many are saying is an unbelievable feat in today’s game. Others are arguing it should be McDavid again and he’s only not getting the consideration he should because he’s won it so often before and the amazing things he can do have become the norm.
Can Shesterkin sneak in there and steal it from one of these two? The trophy is supposed to go to the player deemed most valuable to his team. With how many points Shesterkin earned for the Rangers, it would be easy to argue he’s the guy.
The post Who Should Win the Hart Trophy: McDavid, Matthews, or Shesterkin? appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.
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