So Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun have started some chatter on ESPN.com about who should win the NHL’s Most Valuable Player award (Hart Trophy).
I figured I do my own analysis of each player and give my take on who should win the MVP. So far the message boards are not too favorable for either Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby.
What bothers me the most is that people take in to consideration external factors. The award goes to the “player adjudged most valuable to his team.” More simply, the player that is the most valuable to his team and its success.
Before I give you my take, here’s how the candidates stats compare:
Those are the five players that most agree are the most deserving of the award. Each one has strengths that prove they should be MVP.
There is no greater goal scorer in the league than Ovechkin and his 50 goals. Malkin and Crosby have become two of the best distributors in the league. Finally, Datsyuk and Parise just dominate when they are on the ice.
A player’s point total is not the only thing that goes in to the MVP. However, it does play a large role. A team’s success is also a big factor. Leadership also plays a big role. If you are a captain of a successful team, you have a leg up on the competition.
Lastly, though it may not be right, the recent past weighs more highly on a player’s MVP status. Everyone will remember more of what a player does in the month of March than what he did in the month of November
With all of that being said, here’s how I see it…
Ovechkin’s 50 goals are huge. His point total doesn’t lead the league, being 11 back of Malkin as of March 23, but people like excitement and he definitely provides that.
Malkin and Crosby have to be big players in the discussion as well, considering they are first and second in points in the NHL. Crosby’s 95 points are pretty impressive, considering he’s missed a few games to injury. He is also the captain of a surging team that, a month ago, looked like it was going to miss the playoffs.
Malkin is in the same boat as well, though he lacks the leadership points that Crosby gets. His 105 points, comprised of 72 assists, prove that he makes the players around him better and that he is not a one-way player.
Parise fits in well nicely to the MVP discussion. He has just 88 points, but has led a team to a division crown without its hall of fame goaltender in Martin Brodeur for much of the season. Tied for 6th in the NHL with a plus-30 rating, he has led a team that could have folded under all the adversity it has faced throughout the season.
Datsyuk, in my mind, is the weakest candidate of the five. He has 88 points and a plus-32 rating, but is on a team with probably more offensive help than any other in the league. Sure Crosby and Malkin have help, as does Ovechkin. The Red Wings are on a different level, though.
I think it comes down to three players. You’ve got Ovechkin and the Capitals, which have established themselves as an elite team this season. Then there’s Malkin, who has been maybe the biggest factor in the Penguins recent surge under Dan Bylsma. Finally there’s Parise, who has led the surprising Devils throughout all the adversity this season and proved there can be offense in New Jersey.
How do they finish? …
1. Evgeni Malkin
2. Alex Ovechkin
3. Zach Parise
Malkin has to be the NHL’s MVP. No player has been a more dominant player in both scoring and distributing the puck. He is also one of the more valuable special teams players in the league, playing on both the power play and penalty kill.
Malkin is the best at making players around him better. That’s really what the award is all about. Who is the most valuable to their team? In my mind, it’s got to be Malkin. Without his consistency all season the Penguins might not have been within shouting distance of the playoffs when Therrien was fired.
But then again, we all know I’m biased. Agree? Disagree? Let me and Dan know what you think. BE HEARD …
Chris | PPT