With the NHL season now having come to a close, there have been some clear players deserving the title of “MVP” for their team and among the league. Each of these four candidates has a strong case for themselves to win the Hart Memorial Trophy, and most have yet to win the award during their NHL careers. Without any more lead-up, here are the top candidates for the Hart Memorial Trophy 2022.
Auston Matthews: Toronto Maple Leafs, Center
The first player in 10 years to get to 60 goals in a season, the league leader in takeaways, and a 56.2% faceoff winner, Matthews has had an amazing season. The Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner would certainly make this list with just his goal-scoring prowess, however when taking into consideration the number of assists and opportunities he set up for his teammates, as well as the sheer number of wins he secured for his team, it is safe to say he has been one of the most valuable players offensively among the league. Defensively Matthews has elevated his game, stepping up and earning himself a position in the top 10 for blocked shots among centerman with 62 blocked shots this season, as well as the league leader in takeaways from a center, and only behind Alex Pietrangelo by one take away to have the most among any player in the league. Overall the star centerman and former Calder Memorial Trophy winner has had an absolutely amazing season and certainly has shown that he is deserving of the title “MVP” that Leafs’ fans shout whenever the player takes the ice.
Connor McDavid: Edmonton Oilers, Center
The league leader in points, Art Ross Trophy winner and Edmonton Oilers Captain, as well as a two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner, McDavid certainly makes a large case for himself in terms of being the league MVP. One factor towards this is how many assists the player put up during the season, seemingly being able to elevate any player that was on his line to be able to put up points on a week-to-week basis. The chances that McDavid creates for his teammates are hard to pass up on, and if it weren’t for this centerman, it is doubtable that the Oilers would have qualified for the playoffs this season. McDavid is also the powerplay point leader of the league, with the majority of his points being from assists to Leon Draisaitl. McDavid certainly has a chance at getting his third Hart this season, but he definitely has some tough competition.
Roman Josi: Nashville Predators, Defenseman
Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi has had an amazing season, being the highest point scorer in defence, and has exemplified the idea of a cornerstone player for his team throughout the 2021-22 season. The captain has played a great game this season, playing on every possible unit for his team, managing a stellar offensive season with 96 points, and being second in the league among defensemen in power-play points. On top of this, the player leads the league in assists from a defenceman and is second in goals scored for his position. Defensively Josi has managed 133 blocked shots, 48 takeaways, and 66 hits. Overall the player has heavily helped his team to narrowly capture a playoff spot by motivating and rallying his teammates, while also being a pillar of consistency for his team to grab inspiration from. The player also goes into the record books for the Predators, putting up the most points and assists in the team’s history. The defenseman certainly belongs on this list as he is not only his team’s MVP but also one of the best in his position this season.
Jonathan Huberdeau: Florida Panthers, Left Wing
Jonathan Huberdeau has had a stellar career thus far, and this season is no exception, especially considering that he leads the league in assists, beating McDavid by six on the season. The winger helped his team to the President’s Trophy this season, helping to create points no matter what situation he is put in. His passing game is top-notch, and it seems like whenever the puck touches his stick, it will result in a play that will end up in the back of the net. He has been a solid paragon of leadership among his team as an alternate captain, taking on the lead position whenever captain Aleksander Barkov was out for a game due to injury. The Canadian player has been able to move up and down the lines continually, filling whatever position he is required in, as well as playing on the first line of every special team’s unit, and helping his team to a number of victories, including helping them to be the league leaders in OT wins. Overall, Huberdeau has managed to land himself as one of the top players in the league, and as the key contributor to the team that won the President’s Trophy, he certainly has earned a large consideration for the Hart.
With the season over, each of these players is now in the playoffs and are up for multiple other awards in the NHL. For playoff coverage and more cup candidates, keep reading here at OTH Hockey.
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