Top 25 NHL MVP Candidates For 2013 Season

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Top 25 NHL MVP Candidates For 2013 Season

Top 25 NHL MVP Candidates For 2013 Season
Rob Grabowski - USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the 2013 NHL season is now in the books, and a handful of teams have jumped to the front of the pack, thanks to strong performances from their star players. With scoring at even more of a premium in a season where every point matters, it’s no surprise that most early candidates for the Hart Trophy as league MVP are offensive players. Other teams have seen the stellar play of their goaltenders help them win games by a slim margin, adding more names into the mix for the MVP dicsussion.

The 6-0 start of the Chicago Blackhawks lands two of their players (Marian Hossa and Corey Crawford) on this list, even though more could be considered as the season continues. The San Jose Sharks are also off to a great start, led by the barrage of offense they have received from Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Pittsburgh Penguins stars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby can’t ever be counted out of an MVP discussion, and neither can Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. No matter how slow of a start their teams are off to, all three of these players have won the award before and have the skill set to add another trophy at any time. Young players like Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche and Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues continue to impress, and could find their names in the mix for the Hart if they continue to lead their teams the rest of the season.

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Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

Vladimir Tarasenko is the early frontrunner for the Calder Trophy and would be a long shot to win the Hart as well. If he can keep up his scoring pace for the St. Louis Blues (four goals, eight points in six games), he could have a shot at it.

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Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators

Craig Anderson
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Craig Anderson has been the most valuable player for the Ottawa Senators so far this season. He is 3-0-1 with a 0.73 GAA, keeping the Senators in the hunt for the Northeast Division title.

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Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

Ryan Getzlaf
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After a disappointing 2011-12 season, Ryan Getzlaf is hoping to rebound this season. His two goals and four points in four games are a good sign he's back on track and ready to lead the Anaheim Ducks.

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Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Tuukka Rask
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Tuukka Rask is doing his best to help Boston Bruins fans put the Tim Thomas debacle behind them. He is 3-0-1 with a 1.96 GAA so far this season.

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Jaromir Jagr, Dallas Stars

Jaromir Jagr
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Jaromir Jagr sits just one goal away from moving into 10th place all-time in goals scored. He signed with the Dallas Stars for this season, and started the season with a two-goal effort. Back issues kept him out during the last week, but if he can stay healthy this could be a banner year for him.

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Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

Eric Staal
Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

Eric Staal's hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres led the Carolina Hurricanes to their first win of the season. He added another goal Monday against the Boston Bruins, giving him four goals and six points in five games. If the Hurricanes are going to have success, they will need Staal to lead the way. The additions of Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal should help him have a great season.

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Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche

Matt Duchene
Chris Humphreys - USA TODAY Sports

Early-season injuries to Steve Downie and Gabriel Landeskog make the play of Matt Duchene even more important to the success of the Colorado Avalanche this season. The talented young center already has two goals and five points through five games, and will benefit from playing with P.A. Parentau.

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Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild

Zach Parise
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild are already seeing great returns from their signing of Zach Parise. Through five games, the talented center has five goals and nine points.

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John Tavares, New York Islanders

John Tavares
Bruce Fedyck - USA TODAY Sports

John Tavares continues to lead the way for the New York Islanders, and has seven points through their first five games.

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Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers

Marian Gaborik
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Rick Nash's signing with the New York Rangers may have grabbed all the headlines this summer, but so far it's Marian Gaborik leading the way. He has five goals and eight points through five games.

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Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings

Jimmy Howard
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings have struggled early on this season, and it has been Jimmy Howard giving them a chance to win almost every game so far. If the Wings do keep their playoff streak alive this season, it will be largely in part to Howard's performance. He has started all five games for Detroit so far this season.

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Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks

Joe Pavelski
Kelley L. Cox - USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks are off to a great start, and the continually improving play of center Joe Pavelski has been a big part of their hot start. He has two goals and 10 points in just five games.

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Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues

Jaroslav Halak
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues are off to a great start this season, and are once again being led by the goaltending of Jaroslav Halak. In three starts, he has two shutouts, a 1.69 GAA and three wins.

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Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Martin Brodeur
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Martin Brodeur has won the Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy and William M. Jennings Trophy during his NHL career with the New Jersey Devils, but never the Hart Trophy. Off to a 3-0-1 start with a 1.69 GAA, he looks ready to take the Devils back to the playoffs and add to his trophy collection.

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Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

Anze Kopitar
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The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings got off to a rough start this season, losing their first three games. Anze Kopitar is now healthy and back on the ice, and the Kings have reeled off two straight wins. Kopitar has two goals in four games and is second on the team in scoring.

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Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin
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Alexander Ovechkin may be off to a slow start this season, but if new Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates' system really does work he could collect a third Hart Trophy this season.

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Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Evgeni Malkin
Bruce Fedyck - USA TODAY Sports

The reigning MVP, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, can't be left out of this year's discussion either. He has six points through five games and racked up 65 points in 37 games in the KHL during the lockout.

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Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby
Bruce Fedyck - USA TODAY Sports

If Sidney Crosby can stay healthy for the entire shortened season, the Pittsburgh Penguins should have no problem making the playoffs. Crosby already has three goals and five points through five games and would love to add a second Hart Trophy to his collection.

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Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

Claude Giroux
Jeff Griffith - USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers will need a big season from Claude Giroux if they want to make the playoffs. Their new captain put up 93 points last season, and in six games this season has two goals and four points.

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Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos
Jeff Griffith - USA TODAY Sports

After a 2011-12 campaign that saw him score 60 goals and 97 points, Steven Stamkos has earned a place in the Hart Trophy discussion for at least the next few years. He already has three goals and 10 points for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season.

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Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils

Ilya Kovalchuk
Ed Mulholland - USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off an appearance in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, the New Jersey Devils are off to a 3-0-1 start this season. Ilya Kovalchuk has two goals and five points through four games and his offensive output will be as important to the team as Martin Brodeur's performance in net if they hope to make another deep playoff run.

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Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks

Joe Thornton
Kelley L. Cox - USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks have rolled out to a 5-0 start, and center Joe Thornton is tied for the team lead with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists).

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Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

Corey Crawford
Rob Grabowski - USA TODAY Sports

Goaltending was a major question mark for the Chicago Blackhawks heading into the 2013 season. Corey Crawford has proved doubters wrong with a 5-0 start, a 1.78 GAA and four straight wins by a one-goal margin.

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Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks

Patrick Marleau
Bob Stanton - USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Marleau's league-leading nine goals and 13 points through five games has helped the San Jose Sharks get off to a 5-0 start. With the strong play of Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski also helping lead the team, this could be the season the Sharks finally put it all together.

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Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

Marian Hossa
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a franchise-best 6-0 start, and Marian Hossa is leading the way with five goals. He seems to have shaken off the effects of a concussion suffered during the 2012 playoffs, and looks ready to lead the Blackhawks back to the postseason.