Crosby, McDavid, Kucherov finalists for Hart Trophy

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The three finalists for the NHL’s biggest regular season individual award were released on Sunday, with a trio of the biggest names in the sport vying for the Hart Trophy.

Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid, and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov are the top three names on the list to be named league MVP.

At 31-years-old, Crosby had his sixth 100-point season. Already a two-time Hart winner, he scored 35 goals and had 65 assists in his 14th year in the league. It was a renaissance year of sorts for the Penguins captain, who reached 100 points for the first time since 2013-14. He was still a point-per-game player in between, but this season was a reminder that he remains among the league’s elite even as he reaches the middle of his second decade in the league.

It’s safe to say that as long as he remains healthy, McDavid will find himself at least being named a finalist for this award more often than not. With a tumultuous team swirling around him, he turned in a business-as-usual career-high 116 points. He tied a career high with 41 goals and added 75 assists, chalking up multi-point nights with routine ease while playing nearly 23 minutes per night. Still just 22-years old, McDavid has already won the Hart once, and if he doesn’t take it home this year he’ll be the early odds on favourite for 2020.

Kucherov’s argument will be a simple “numbers don’t lie.” The 25-year old put up a massive 128 points in his 6th season in the league, the most by anyone in a single season since Mario Lemiuex in 1995-96, cruising to the Art Ross Trophy. Tampa Bay’s dominance was the story of the regular season in the NHL, and Kucherov was front-and-centre leading the way every night. He put up an absurd 87 assists, a mark that hadn’t been hit since Joe Thornton surpassed 90 in 2006-07.

The Hart Trophy winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 19th.

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