Nathan MacKinnon named Hart Trophy finalist for NHL MVP

If everything works out for Nathan MacKinnon this summer, the Avalanche star could very well score a hat trick off the ice.

MacKinnon was named one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, given to the NHL MVP by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, on Tuesday morning. It’s the third postseason award the 24-year-old center is now a finalist for, including the Lady Byng and Ted Lindsay trophies, that latter of which is given to “the most outstanding player.”

The other Hart Trophy finalists are Edmonton center Leon Draisaitl and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin.

MacKinnon got the nod after finishing in the top 10 in goals (36), assists (58) and points (93) during the 2019-20 regular season. He did so while logging just 12 penalty minutes — second-fewest among the NHL’s top 25 scorers — and opening the season with a 13-game points streak.

His next closest teammate in scoring was 43 points behind him (Cale Makar, 50). That is the largest difference between a team’s top two scorers since the 2007-08 Washington Capitals (Alex Ovechkin, 112; Nicklas Backstrom, 69), which is even more impressive considering MacKinnon did so during a shortened season.

Draisaitl led the NHL with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) this season — 13 ahead of the No. 2 scorer in the league (Connor McDavid, 97). In his debut season with the Rangers, Panarin ranked fourth in the NHL with 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists) to lead New York to a 37-28-5 record and more points (79) than they had the previous season (78) despite playing 12 fewer games.

The hockey writers submitted ballots for the Hart Trophy at the end of the regular season, with MacKinnon, Draisaitl and Panarin the top three vote-getters. The winner will be announced during the conference finals.

If MacKinnon wins the Hart Trophy, he will be the third Avs player to claim the award, following Joe Sakic (2000‑01) and Peter Forsberg (2002-03).

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