The NHL has released its three nominees for the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP and the list features a couple familiar names with a brand new one sprinkled in. Superstars Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews will likely duke it out amongst voters for the win, but goaltender Igor Shesterkin has earned himself a nomination as well. Shesterkin becomes the first goaltender to get the nod for the Hart since Sergei Bobrovsky back in 2016-17. Carey Price, of course, won the Hart back in 2014-15, joining the likes Dominik Hasek, Jose Theodore and others.
Personally, I think it's hard to give the award to anyone but McDavid. To me, he's clearly the best player in the NHL and that's nothing against Matthews and Shesterkin. McDavid's talent and production is just next level.
Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper sees it differently than me, however.
Ahead of his absolute must win Game 6 against Matthews and the Leafs tonight Cooper came out to endorse Matthews for the Hart Trophy.
Check it out:
Legit or just buttering up AM34 before the big game?
In any case, it's clear that Matthews has earned at least a domination. More on his season from NHL.com:
Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews, who captured the 2021-22 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal-scorer, posted career highs in goals (60), assists (46) and points (106) in 73 games to power the Maple Leafs to a fourth-place finish in the League standings as well as franchise records for wins (54) and points (115) in a campaign. Matthews (San Ramon, Calif.) became the 21st different player in NHL history – and first in a decade – to register 60 goals in a season, breaking Rick Vaive’s Toronto record (54 in 1981-82) and Jimmy Carson’s League benchmark for U.S.-born players (55 in 1987-88). He did so by averaging 0.82 goals per game – the highest rate by any player in a single campaign (minimum: 50 GP) since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 (0.99) – and scoring 19.23 percent of the Maple Leafs’ total goals (60 of 312) – the fourth-highest such mark in 2021-22 behind only Chris Kreider (20.80% w/ NYR), Leon Draisaitl (19.30% w/ EDM) and Alex DeBrincat (19.25% w/ CHI). Matthews, a Hart Trophy finalist for the second straight year after finishing second in voting in 2020-21, also ranked among this season’s leaders in shots on goal (1st; 348), power-play goals (t-3rd; 16), game-winning goals (5th; 10) and points (6th; 106). He is seeking to become the third Toronto player to win the award and first since Ted Kennedy in 1954-55.