The National Hockey League (NHL) will reveal the recipients of its top individual trophies Tuesday night in Tampa, and the most coveted of them all, the Hart, may remain in the hands of Connor McDavid … or not.
The Edmonton Oilers captain is looking for a third most valuable player honor for his team and a second in a row. With 44 goals and 79 assists for 123 points, he displays statistics that are usually worth the title of “MVP”. For the fifth time in his career, he has crossed the 100-point mark and there is no doubt that his selection would be a logical choice in the eyes of many.
However, his two competitors in the fight are not to be denigrated. For the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews enjoyed another stellar campaign, becoming the first player since Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning to reach 60 goals in a season. The striker has never won the Hart, but such net production has elevated him to the ranks of the most deserving.
Then there's goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who is aspiring to become the first Hart and Vezina Trophy winner in the same year since Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens in 2014-15. The New York Rangers color holder was one of his key players: with a 36-13-4 record, a 2.07 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage, he has glowing numbers likely to at the very least earn the Outstanding Doorman award. His two rivals for this award are Jacob Markstrom and Juuse Saros, of the Calgary Flames and the Nashville Predators respectively.
Other trophies in the crosshairs
During the evening, three other prizes will be awarded: the Norris, the Calder and the Ted-Lindsay. In the latter case, McDavid, Matthews and Predators defenseman Roman Josi are vying for the NHL's Most Outstanding Player award. Regarding the Norris, granted to the most deserving guard, Josi is in the running, as are Cale Makar, who is well positioned to win the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche, and Victor Hedman, who is in the opposite camp. in the final.
As for the Calder, awarded to the most outstanding rookie, Trevor Zegras (Anaheim Ducks), Michael Bunting (Maple Leafs) and Moritz Seider (Detroit Red Wings) are in the running for claim it.