Puck Daddy - NHL

Two of the finalists for the Hart Trophy were set in stone heading into Thursday's announcement. The third was more mysterious … until you glanced at the final list of scoring leaders in the NHL for 2010-11, as many of the voters apparently did.

Right wing Corey Perry(notes) of the Anaheim Ducks, left wing Daniel Sedin(notes) of the Vancouver Canucks and right wing Martin St. Louis(notes) of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2010-11 Hart Memorial Trophy, which is awarded " to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted five-player ballots for the Hart Trophy before the start of the playoffs. These were the top three vote-getters.

Who wins the Hart? And, more importantly, who do you feel was the most egregious snub this season for MVP?

Why Corey Perry Deserves the Hart

From the NHL:

Perry won the Maurice Richard Trophy as NHL goal-scoring leader with a late surge of 19 goals in his final 16 games that raised his season total to 50 and helped launch the Ducks from 11th place in the Western Conference to a season-ending fourth. The first-time Hart Trophy finalist shared the League lead in game-winning goals with Washington's Alex Ovechkin(notes) (11), tied for fifth place in power-play goals (14), shared fifth in shorthanded tallies (four) and led all players with 21 third-period goals. Twenty-five of his goals tied the score or put the Ducks ahead.

There are three very compelling reasons to assume Perry got the most support from the voters. First, he's the only 50-goal man in the NHL this season, which is an eye-catching glamour stat. His run from February through the end of the season was remarkable: 46 points in 30 games, including six game-winning goals among his 23 during that span.

Most perhaps most importantly, there are the optics that Perry kept the Ducks afloat while Ryan Getzlaf(notes) missed 15 games this season. Much like Henrik Sedin(notes) garnered support for excelling without injured Daniel in his MVP season, Perry can expect the same.

After we put over Daniel Sedin in a post for the Hart, Anaheim Calling responded with a reasoned argument for Perry. Check it out for an in-depth look at his candidacy.

Why Daniel Sedin Deserves the Hart

From the NHL:

Sedin is in quest of an unprecedented family 'double' -- becoming half of the first brother tandem to win NHL MVP honors in consecutive years after twin Henrik received the award last season. Daniel already has won silverware that Henrik claimed in 2009-10, the Art Ross Trophy, by tallying a League-leading and career-high 104 points (41 goals, 63 assists) to help the Canucks post the NHL's best regular-season record (54-19-9). Daniel sparked the League's top-ranked power play by tallying an NHL-best 18 goals and 42 points with the extra man. He also tied for second place among NHL forwards in plus-minus (+30).

We made our Daniel Sedin case here, and the evidence hasn't changed all that much.

It's all a matter of one's perception of value: Do goals at the start of the game mean just as much as goals at the end? Does a player who was consistent throughout the season mean just as much as player who sprints to the finish with an amazing offensive output? Does being the best, and most important, player on the League's best team mean just as much as helping an underdog make the playoff cut in the last days of the season?

Why Marty St. Louis Deserves the Hart

From the NHL:

St. Louis is a Hart Trophy finalist for the first time since he captured the award in 2004. The 35-year-old wing surged late in the season, tallying points in each of his last nine games and in 15 of his final 17 to finish second in League scoring with 99 points (31 goals, 68 assists). He tied a franchise record for assists in a season and posted the second-highest point total in his 12-year NHL career, helping the Lightning make a 23-point improvement over 2009-10, post the second-best record in franchise history (46-25-11) and earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007.

This would have been Steven Stamkos(notes) had he not gone ice cold in March and April (4 goals). He had been penciled in for most of the season, and especially after Sidney Crosby's(notes) injury.

But the St. Louis nomination is a reminder that even in the most dynamic offensive years for Vinny Lecavalier, Brad Richards(notes) and now Stamkos, it's always been the diminutive winger that's been the Hart, er, heart of this team. For example, as cold as Stamkos was down the stretch, St. Louis was torrid. His 99 points were a hell of a calling card for the voters, too.

Prediction

As much as we suspect our fellow voters would crave the "Twins win MVPs" angle from a headline perspective, Perry was the best player in the NHL during the voting period, and frequently it's how you close out the season that get you the Hart. So it'll be Perry.

Our Ballot

Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Tim Thomas(notes), Boston Bruins
Marty St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Pekka Rinne(notes), Nashville Predators

The lack of clear-cut candidates among the position players opened this up to the keepers.

Thomas appeared in 57 games and was rested down the stretch, but there is absolutely no question that, after the Bruins' playoff disaster, his resolve and stellar play set them on course to a division title.

Rinne … where would Nashville be without him? In the lottery. Sixty-four games played, 33 wins and a 2.12 GAA with six shutouts. Absolutely belongs here, but god luck convincing most writers that goalies should win MVP.

But as we've said before: The mind boggles at what Sidney Crosby could have accomplished this season before his injury. This could have been Sid's in a runaway.

Related Articles

Puck Daddy

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog