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The case for Alex Ovechkin for the Hart Trophy

Image (1) Ovi4-thumb-200x300-8833.jpg for post 758

As we near the end of the season, we’re going to take a look at who we think should be three finalists for the Hart, Norris and Calder Trophies, making arguments for each. We start with the Hart Trophy, given to the NHL’s Most Valuable Player. Next up: Alex Ovechkin.

Why he deserves it: He’s the best player on the NHL’s best team. He’s currently at an otherwordly plus-43, and is in the hunt for the Rocket Richard Trophy (most goals) and the Art Ross (most points), despite missing ten games this season due to injury and/or suspension. He won’t come close to his career high in goals (65), but he’s elevated his overall game and becoming more more team-oriented, with a career high in assists (58) this season.

He’s the most exciting player in the NHL to watch, whether it’s his incredible shot and offensive ability to his aggressiveness and physicality -- no matter how controversial it might be. He leads the NHL’s most potent offense, and it’s tough to deny he’s one of the top three players in the NHL. Some will argue he’s the best overall player in the league.

Why he doesn’t deserve it: The Hart goes to the NHL’s most valuable player, and while Ovechkin is certainly the best player on the Capitals the fact that the team around him is so good goes against him in the long run. Without Ovechkin on the ice, the Capitals don’t suddenly become a wholly mediocre team and they barely lose a step. They are still the most dangerous team in the NHL, whether Ovechkin is playing or not. With him on the ice the team just becomes that much better, and no matter how scary that might be it’s tough to say he’s more valuable to his team than others that might be up for the award. He’s also finishing the season playing much more safe and more conservative than we’re used to seeing, and will have a career low in shots for the season.

Why he’ll get it: Alex Ovechkin is the best player on the NHL’s best team. He’s the most exciting player to watch on the most exciting team to watch. He gets the most media attention than any other player in the NHL (aside from perhaps Sidney Crosby), and it’s tough to deny just how important he is to the Capitals and the NHL.

And he wears yellow laces.

Why he won’t get it: The fact that this has been such a controversial season for Ovechkin, while he’s suffered through a post-Olympics slump, will work against him. It’s tough to give the Hart to a player who has been suspended multiple times this season, and when he was out the team barely suffered because of it. He’s also won the Hart two times previously; perhaps it’s another’s time to shine.

Previously: Henrik Sedin