Hart Memorial Trophy Preview
The NHL’s Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player who is thought to be the most valuable player to his team during the regular season. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks’ Captain, was awarded the trophy last year. This year’s Hart Trophy finalists consist of Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Anaheim’s Corey Perry played all 82 games of the regular season the past two years, however, he scored just 27 goals in the 2009-10 season compared to his league leading 50 this year. Perry tallied the third most points in the league with 98, and he trailed fellow Hart Trophy finalists Daniel Sedin (104) and Martin St. Louis (99). Perry’s clutch playmaking ability throughout the 2011 season earned his team the fourth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs after the Ducks failed to make the postseason in 2010.
Canucks’ forward Daniel Sedin is attempting to keep the Hart Memorial Trophy in the family for a second year following his brother’s acceptance of the award last year. Daniel was, arguably, the NHL’s most productive forward this year tallying 104 points and 41 goals while earning a plus/minus rating of 30. Sedin played all 82 regular season games and, with the help of his teammates, earned the Canucks the top-seed in the Western Conference, in addition to winning this year’s President’s Trophy.
Lightning winger Martin St. Louis, 2004 Hart Memorial Trophy winner, is seeking his second Hart Trophy of his career. St. Louis buried the puck 31 times this year, and he tallied an additional 68 assists in an effort that earned him to be a finalist for this year’s Hart Trophy. St. Louis lead the 2011 Bolts to their first postseason appearance since the 2007 season. If the Hart Memorial Trophy was awarded to the best pound-for-pound player in the NHL St. Louis’ 176 pound body would take home the trophy unanimously.
All three of the Hart Memorial Trophy finalists deserve to be considered for the award, however, one of the finalists is by far the most valuable to their team compared to the other two being considered.
Daniel Sedin plays for the best team in hockey. Not only is he linemates with last year’s Hart Memorial Trophy winner, Henrik Sedin, but his goalie, Roberto Luongo is, arguably, the best netminder in the world. Not to mention that Henrik lead the NHL in assists this year with 75 of them. Daniel was extremely productive throughout the 2011 regular season and deserves to be considered for the award, but he is not the NHL’s most valuable player to his team when he skates on the same line as last year’s MVP and has one of the best goalies in the game in-between-the-pipes. Daniel Sedin and Lebron James are in very similar situations this year. Both produced numbers that are worthy of being considered for an MVP, however, both play alongside too many superstars to win the award.
Martin St. Louis was not as productive as Daniel Sedin this year, but he did not have nearly as much help on the offensive and defensive ends. However, St. Louis did not lead his Bolts to the Eastern Conference’s fifth-seed by himself. Tampa Bay’s 21-year-old superstar, Steven Stamkos was the fifth leading scorer in the NHL with 91 points, and he scored the second most goals in the league with 45 of them. Yes, it seems like St. Louis never ages by the way he plays year-after-year on the ice, but he is not the NHL’s most valuable player to his team.
Corey Perry, the 6′ 3″ 200 pound winger, could not have wished to receive the offensive assistance that the other two Hart Trophy finalists had throughout the 2011 season. Anaheim’s second leading scorer behind Perry was 40-year-old veteran Teemu Selanne who finished 18 points behind Perry. Perry netted 16 more goals than the Ducks’ second leading goal scorer (Bobby Ryan), and he finished just nine assists behind the Ducks’ assists leader Ryan Getzlaf (57). Perry was one of two Ducks who played all 82 regular season games, Bobby Ryan being the other. Anaheim finished the season as the Western Conference’s fourth seed with 99 points, just two points ahead of the eighth-seeded Chicago Blackhawks. The Ducks would not have made the playoffs if Corey Perry did not perform the way he did throughout the 2011 season, especially with the injuries many Ducks suffered this season.
Corey Perry sealed the deal on the 2011 Hart Memorial Trophy on March 26 when he netted two third period goals (43, 44) to beat the Blackhawks 2-1 at the United Center in Chicago.
An Anaheim Duck has never won the Hart Memorial Trophy.
The last time two different players from the same organization won the Hart Trophy back-to-back years was the 1969 and ’70 seasons. Boston Bruins’ Phil Esposito won the Hart Trophy in ’69 and Bobby Orr won it in ’70.
Bobby Hull (’65, ’66) and Brett Hull (’91) are the only family members to both win the Hart Trophy.
Martin St. Louis (’04) is the only Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Hart Trophy.
History will be made.