As most New York/Metro area hockey fans know by now, John Tavares is the best player on the New York Islanders and is quickly becoming a star in the NHL. This past year, he was nominated for the Hart Trophy, awarded every year to the NHL’s MVP. Tavares finished thirdin voting for the award, behind Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the winner of the award, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
The big question here is, did the sports writers get the voting for the trophy right? I personally say yes and no. I feel Ovechkin did deserve it because he helped get the Capitals a division title when they looked too far out of it a month into hockey season. Ovechkin was able to finish third in the entire league in scoring as well, which is why I feel he should have won the award. He was the best player in the league last year.
But how Crosby got more votes that Tavares is a little bit puzzling. To me at least, it is. Yes, I understand that both Crosby and Ovechkin had more points than Tavares, but it seemed clear that Tavares had more of an impact on his team than Crosby did. I know the Penguins had the best record in the East, and the Islanders were only the eighth seed in the east, but think of it this way. If you take Sidney Crosby out of the Penguins lineup, they are still talent heavy. The Penguins still have enough talent on their hockey club to be a playoff team and go for a run at the Stanley Cup. If you do the same thing to the Islanders, and take Tavares out of their lineup, I really don’t think they would be as good. In fact, I feel with Tavares out of the lineup, the Islanders would have missed the playoffs alltogether.
Statistically speaking, both guys had the same exact impact on their hockey clubs. Tavares and Crosby each accounted for about 34% of theit teams total goal output during the season. Crosby also missed a good chunk of time during the year due to an injury, but because the Penguins are so talent heavy, they just kept moving right along. The Islanders struggled when Tavares didn’t score. When he did score, The Islanders finished 15-6-2 when Tavares scored a goal and 20-7-2 when he recorded a point. The team had a losing record when he failed to record either a goal or a point.
Overall, I think it was a bit of a downer not to have Tavares win the league MVP. Think of the positives to take out of this. Tavares is only 22 years old, so he still has a long career ahead of him, pending he can stay healthy. His play has gotten better over the last few seasons, so the only way he can really go is up. It would not surprise me at all if he is nominated for a few more of these kind of awards before his playing career is over.
Matthew Solomon is a writer for Rant Sports.You can follow me on twitter here