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.
More from the NHL on each players' 2021-22 season:
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.
Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers
McDavid, who claimed the 2021-22 Art Ross Trophy as the League’s top scorer, also established career highs in goals (44), assists (79) and points (123) across 80 games to lead the Oilers (49-27-6, 104 points) to their most wins and points in a season since 1986-87 (50-24-6, 106 points). The reigning Hart Trophy winner, who tallied the most points by an Edmonton player since 1989-90 (Mark Messier: 45-84—129) and the second-most by any NHLer over the past 15 years, found the scoresheet in 63 of his 80 contests (78.8%) and never went more than three games without a point. McDavid factored on 43.16 percent of the Oilers’ total goals in 2021-22 (123 of 285), the second-highest rate in the League behind only Patrick Kane (43.19% w/ CHI). He also led the NHL and set personal bests in power-play assists (34) and power-play points (44), and placed in the top 10 in the League in assists (2nd; 79), shots on goal (5th; 314) and goals (7th; 44). McDavid, a Hart Trophy finalist for the fourth time after also winning in 2016-17 and finishing third in voting in 2018-19, is vying to become the ninth player in NHL history to take home the award at least three times – and just the third to do so before turning 26 (age as of final day of regular season), after Wayne Gretzky (7x) and Bobby Orr (3x).
Igor Shesterkin, G, New York Rangers
Shesterkin, who earlier this week was named a finalist for the 2021-22 Vezina Trophy, compiled a 36-13-4 record, 2.07 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and six shutouts in 53 appearances to help the Rangers finish second in the Metropolitan Division with 110 points – their third-best season in franchise history behind only 2014-15 (113 points) and 1993-94 (112 points). Shesterkin, who led the NHL in both goals-against average and save percentage, posted the seventh-highest save percentage in League history (since the statistic began being officially tracked in 1955-56). He also ranked third in the NHL in shutouts and sixth in wins, yielding two or fewer goals in 33 of his 53 contests (62.3%) and making 30 or more saves 28 times (52.8%). Shesterkin, New York’s second Hart Trophy finalist in the past three seasons after Artemi Panarin finished third in voting in 2019-20, is looking to become the fifth Rangers player to win the award and first since Mark Messier in 1991-92. He also is seeking to become the second New York goaltender to capture the Hart Trophy, after Chuck Rayner in 1949-50, and just the third netminder on any team to do so this century, following Carey Price in 2014-15 and Jose Theodore in 2001-02 (both w/ MTL).