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A Closer Look at the Hart Memorial Finalists

Draisaitl Leon, Nathan MacKinnon and Artemi Panarin were named finalists for the 2019-2020 Hart Memorial Trophy. The award is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team and voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The victor will be announced during the Conference Finals, with more details to be announced later on. 

Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers 

Leon Draisaitl, 24, played a more significant role on the Oilers this season than he did the last. This is especially evident in how well the center played. Draisaitl is also in the running for the Ted Lindsay Award, the league’s other MVP award voted on by members of the NHL Players’ Association. He is the first native German player to be awarded the Art Ross Trophy, with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) in 71 games. He outranks both other suitors in points scored. 

Image courtesy of the Edmonton Journal

“I think I’ve always been more of the pass-first type of guy but I knew early on in my career in the NHL that I have to be a threat to shoot once in a while, too, otherwise I’m too predictable,” Draisaitl said.

This is Draisaitl’s second season reaching 100 points, having had 105 points in the 2018-19 NHL season. Draisaitl outscored all 2019-20 players in assists, power-play points and game-winning goals. 

 

Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche 

Nathan MacKinnon, 24, ranked fifth in the NHL with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists) in 69 games, leading an injured Avalanche team for the third time into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, placing second in the western conference. He has also been named a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, as well as the Ted Lindsay Award earlier this month. MacKinnon finished first in shots on goal (318) against all other NHL players.

Image courtesy of NHL.com

This is the second time that MacKinnon has been named a finalist for the Hart Trophy, coming second to Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils in 2018. MacKinnon is hoping to be the third Avalanche player to win the Hart Memorial trophy, previously awarded to Joe Sakic (2000-01) and Peter Frosberg (2002-03). Previously, MacKinnon had been awarded the 2014 Calder Trophy. 

 

Artemi Panarin, LW, New York Rangers

Artemi Panarin, 28, established his career in New York after playing his first season with the Rangers, in which he scored 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists), being ranked fourth in the NHL. The Russian forward is also named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award. Previously, Panarin had been awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy in the 2015-16 NHL season. Panarin led the league in even-strength assists (46) and even-strength points (71). 

Image courtesy of The New York Times

“Artemi has had a special season, and it’s not a surprise,’’ Rangers coach David Quinn told reporters on a Zoom call after the team’s practice. “I think everybody knows how we feel about him here; he’s a guy that leads the league in plus/minus (plus-36) for forwards; he’s third in the league in scoring; he’s first in five-on-five play — he’s injected us with an awful lot of passion, enthusiasm, on top of what you see on the ice. There’s no more of a deserving player than him to be in that conversation.’’

The 2020 NHL Awards had been scheduled to happen on June 25 in Las Vegas but is postponed to March 25 due to the ongoing pandemic.

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