While fans lie in wait for the NHL Awards, today the Hart Trophy nominees were revealed. The trio of players nominated might not have caused a major shock. However, each of these players deserves to be considered the leagues elite. Which player deserves to win? Winning the Hart trophy will put a player among greats like Gretzky and Orr.
Your 2020 Hart Trophy finalists. #NHLAwards
— NHL (@NHL) July 21, 2020
Today the 4th Line Podcast will debate which of the three players is the most worthy winner. Firstly, Joe Martini, Carl Landra and Alex Watson must each choose one of the Hart nominees. Next, we must write why they deserve to win the Hart and why they are our pick to do so. Guess we’ll be putting a lot of ‘Hart’ into this piece (I’ll show myself out…).
This year’s 2019/20 league MVP nominees are:
Artemi Panarin (New York Rangers)
Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)
Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers)
Away we go… let the debate commence:
Artemi Panarin – Alex
There’s no question that Panarin is having his strongest season yet. Since his arrival in New York, Breadman has lit up MSG. The Rangers desperately needed a spark and the 28-year-old Russian has been an electrical current. While Panarin might only rank third overall in points and has two less points than Connor McDavid with 95. However, in terms of excitement, he has shone brightly. In just 43 games he outscored Wayne Gretzky‘s Rangers record of 59 points. His production on the ice is the main reason for his inclusion. He has fewer goals than Mack and Leon D with 32, but he has a far superior plus/minus record. His +36 means he has been a lucky figure on the ice for the Rangers. In comparison to Draistatl’s troubling -7! Panarin has given reignited what was a dying franchise.
New York dished out 81.5 million to get their man- it has been worth every penny. Fans knew what they were getting and Breadman has delivered it in droves! Ranked fourth overall among skaters, but number 1 in Ranger fans hearts Breadman deserves the Hart Trophy.
Leon Draisaitl – Joe
Alex… You make some amazing points about Panarin and him snagging the spotlight of the media capital of the United States. Let me counter that though with Leon Draisaitl transforming from Robin into Nightwing (sorry non-superhero fans). For years the powerful center has been questioned if he could survive on his own line in Edmonton and if this year is proof he will do just that. Draisaitl leads the NHL for forwards in ice time and average ice time, but it was what he did in that time that makes him your league MVP.
While it is known that he lead the league in points at the time of the pause, he also leads the league in game-winning goals, which if we are talking value what is more valuable then helping your team gain 20 points? While other superstars are questioning their team leadership (shoutout Jack Eichel) it seems like Connor McDavid has seen some dark times, but with the help of (in my eyes) a league MVP, the future is looking brighter in Alberta.
Nathan MacKinnon – Carl
Nightwing is still forever living in the shadow of Bruce Wayne, Joe. Drai certainly had himself a great season and did prove that he’s a good player, even when Connor McBatman isn’t carrying him. But when it comes to who is the most valuable, any dynamic duo situation cannot be considered in the most valuable conversation. Having McDavid in the wings putting up 97 points means that Leon is much less valuable than otherwise.
Looking at the Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon stands alone like a super man. Of the three candidates, MacKinnon has the largest point difference to second on the team (43 back to Makar vs. 13 for Leon and 20 for Panarin). That’s right: Nate has almost double the points of the next highest amount on the team. THAT is valuable. Add to this the various roles that he has taken on for the team this year, rotating between center and the wing, and he does want is needed for this team to win and is clearly the most valuable player to their team in the NHL this year.