The case for Ryan Miller for the Hart Trophy
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: Ryan Miller.
Why he deserves it: There is absolutely no question who the most dominant and most important goaltender for any team has been this season. He has the best GAA (2.23) and save percentage (.928) of any goaltender with more than 50 games, but this isn’t even about his numbers. It’s about being the leader from the net of a team that wouldn’t even come close to sniffing the playoffs if he wasn’t in net.
The Hart Trophy should go to the player who is most valuable to their team, while dominating the teams they play night in and night out. There’s no question that the Sabres would never have been able to win their division this season with Miller’s dominance, and this is one example of team that is driven by the player between the pipes. Teams with great goaltenders who are successful always have a strong presence up forward, but the Sabres are a team who’s success starts in net feeds the rest of the team.
Why he doesn’t deserve it: Once again, it’s hard to find an exact reason why Miller doesn’t deserve the Hart and that’s the issue with the race this season. He’s just fourth in the NHL in wins this season, and some say that the Sabres’ defense is also a good reason for his success. But that’s just a cop out. Miller’s been incredible.
Why he’ll get it: It’s tough to deny Miller’s greatness, and when you see how successful the Sabres have been this season it’s impossible to look elsewhere for another player who has been more dominant and more valuable to his team than Ryan Miller.
Why he won’t get it: He’s a goaltender. For some reason, some see the Vezina as a good alternative to giving a goalie the Hart. It happens, but it’s extremely rare.