Since future Hall-of-Fame goaltender Dominik Hasek won back-to-back Harts in 1997 and 1998, no player has won the award twice, let alone repeated as the winner.
But that trend is about to be broken because last year’s winner was again the player “adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”
My pick: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington
Some say this election is a race between Ovechkin and his countryman Evgeni Malkin of Pittsburgh, but to me the closest competition for the Capitals’ super sniper is Columbus rookie goaltender Steve Mason. The first-year NHLer saved the Blue Jackets when they were depleted by injury between the pipes and carried them to the first playoff berth in franchise history. But it’s hard to argue with 56 goals and 110 points for a team that challenged for the top spot in its conference all season and wound up second in the East. Ovechkin has ability to single handedly change a game and he even scored 10 game-winners. Don’t forget, this superstar also hits — and hits hard.
The PHWA requires five picks, so the rest of mine were: 2. Mason; 3. Malkin; 4. Zdeno Chara, Boston; 5. Zach Parise, New Jersey.