Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Nikita Kucherov are Hart finalists


Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov are the finalists for the 2023-24 Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the player “adjudged to be the most valuable to his team” in the regular season.

The winner is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

McDavid and Kucherov are both previous league MVPs. MacKinnon is seeking his first Hart Trophy after being a finalist three times.

MacKinnon, 28, had 51 goals, 89 assists and 140 points, good for second in the league behind Kucherov. MacKinnon led the Avalanche in each of those categories and established new career highs. He finished 36 points higher than the next leading scorer on the team, winger Mikko Rantanen (104). His 405 shots on goal also led the NHL.

MacKinnon’s season featured two historic scoring streaks: He tallied points in 35 straight home games Oct. 19-March 26, the second-longest home points streak in NHL history behind Wayne Gretzky’s 40-game record set in the 1988-89 season with the Los Angeles Kings. MacKinnon’s 19-game points streak from Feb. 13-March 26 made him the first player in NHL history to have two separate point streaks of 19 games within the same season.

He finished second for the Hart Trophy in 2018 and 2020, and third in in 2021.

McDavid, 27, is seeking his fourth Hart Trophy (2017, 2021, 2023) and is trying to become the first back-to-back MVP since Alex Ovechkin (2008-09).

His 100 assists and 132 points led Edmonton, and the latter was good for third in the league. His 32 goals were third on the team behind Zach Hyman (54) and Leon Draisaitl (41). After starting the season slowly — as the Oilers did as a team — McDavid had 122 points in 65 games after Edmonton replaced coach Jay Woodcroft with Kris Knoblauch.

Kucherov and McDavid both tallied 100 assists this season, joining Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr as the only NHL players to hit the century mark.

Kucherov’s offensive output this season eclipsed that of his MVP campaign in 2018-19. He established new career highs with 44 goals and 100 assists. His 144 points earned him the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer for the second time.

The Lightning winger led the NHL in percentage of his team’s goals on which he had a point (50%). He finished 54 points ahead of Tampa Bay’s next highest scorer Brayden Point (90 points).

Kucherov, 30, led the Lightning to the playoffs for the seventh straight season, a campaign that saw them play with a diminished supporting cast and through injuries to defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.



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