For the Eastern portion of North America, this might come as a bit of a surprise– but there are other players up for this award besides Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. In fact, when we asked 45 writers from around the internet to tell us who they’d vote for in the Hart Trophy balloting, it was a redheaded clone from the Pacific Northwest (by way of Sweden) who narrowly walked away with the hardware. I believe this is where I say something like, “Gary Bettman wouldn’t be happy,” or something else to that effect.
Aside from Henrik Sedin winning the league’s MVP award, the writers also gave some love to the goaltenders. After “the big three” nailed down the top spots, both Ryan Miller and Ilya Bryzgalov received a ton of consideration for their stellar seasons. There are always arguments about whether a goaltender should be considered for the Hart, but both Bryzgalov and Miller were the most important player in leading their respective teams to surprisingly good seasons.
The best part of the voting was the comments that the voters left as they cast their ballots. As much as the writers explained their picks, there were also contributors who took issue with how the Hart Trophy is actually viewed and voted upon. The best player in the league might not necessarily be the most valuable player to his team. The comments that the writers shared were exactly the type of thing that we were looking for when we decided to launch this project in the first place.
After checking out the results and the opinions of the voters, tell us—how do YOU think the Hart Trophy should be viewed? On that note, who do you think are the most deserving candidates to win the league’s most prestigious individual award? Let us know in the comments!
|Name||Total Points||1st Place Votes||Total Votes|
“I would have given my 1st place vote to Henrik but I firmly believe in upholding the east coast bias thing.”
“Anyone who can sell tickets in Tampa Bay has to get a vote somewhere along the line.”
–Brian Kennedy, Growing Up Hockey
“Without Miller, the Sabres are a dead-in-the-water team duking it out with the Maple Leafs and Lightning at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. He started virtually every game and had even more pressure on him because Patrick Lalime was a crappy backup. He was the best at his position at his job and the best player Buffalo had all year. The same can be said of Sedin with Vancouver as well and he had an electric season, but he also had some help as well as a guy with matching DNA playing alongside him.”
–Joe Yerdon, Gross Misconduct Hockey
“Unconventional pick in Anderson, but frankly, the Avs don’t even sniff the playoffs this year without his performance. Toews had a strong supporting cast around him, but his on-ice play and his off ice leadership merit serious consideration.”
–Mark Willoughby, The View From 111
“This award is ridiculous, since it seems like the nominees are always just the top scoring forwards, but being the MOST VALUABLE player for your team doesn’t just mean putting up goals/assists. Most of those guys have a support team that could step up and while they would be missed, the team wouldn’t collapse into complete disarray without them.
What about the guys who really are so valuable that in their absence, the team is basically screwed? Shouldn’t that be what the award is about? So… that’s why my list is totally random (i.e. Brad Richards, Miikko Koivu, Zach Parise, etc.)”
–Amanda Fortier, View From My Seats
“To me, the writers missed it already. Sedin had a great season, and the other two did as well. But if you take Bryzgalov away from the Coyotes, they probably finish with just 65 points instead of a franchise record 107.”
–Jon Moncrief, The Examiner
“The Flyers don’t make the playoffs without Pronger and don’t win a series without Pronger, let alone make it to the Cup Final.”
–Ben Wright, The Blueland Blog
“Simply a very easy list. Miller and Bryzgalov round it off because the goalies should get some mention to me at least. Why Sedin 3rd? No way 29 goals is enough to get noticed. It reeks of a Jumbo Joe like season and those should not get awarded. Have to put a few more in the net next year Henrik!”
–Chris Wassel, The Hockey Program
“How Miller isn’t a candidate for the Hart just baffles me!”
–Ryan Porth, RLD Hockey
“Leading by example, even when his captain couldn’t… even when his brother wasn’t around. I think that sums up the season that Henrik Sedin had and what the Canucks truly needed. There were some pretty big highs for the Canucks in times where everyone thought they were going to be awfully low and the regular season was extra good.
Bryzgalov gets my 2nd place vote, because he was the glue that really held that Coyotes team together. When you have a team that scores by committee, you really need a great goalie to chalk up those wins. Bryzgalov was that guy, moreso than Miller, who gets my 3rd place vote for about the same thing, but his own expectations is what takes him down a notch.
Crosby gets a vote this year, because Evgeni Malkin was almost nowhere to be seen, despite his 77 points, while Anderson gets consideration and could very well be much higher, if he wasn’t beaten like a rented mule in Denver.”
–Clayton Corley, Opiated Sherpa
“The Coyotes would be nothing without Bryzgalov. They averaged just one shot on goal more than their opponents per game, and yet finished with 107 points. Sure, the defensive system benefits the goaltender, but the goaltender is the key to the defensive system actually working.
Besides, even the grandmaster of trap Jacque Lemaire’s system wouldn’t make Carey Price a good goalie, so it isn’t only the system.”
–Bryan Reynolds, Hockey Wilderness
“Funny how none of these guys made it to the finals. Kinda says a bit about the sport of hockey.
I like to focus on the “valuable” part of the award by asking which team is most impacted by the player. Sabres might as well be the Atlanta Thrashers without Miller.”
–Andrew Bernier, Blackhawks DL
“Miller owned the regular season and was the reason why the Sabres were so competitive this year. While Sedin, Ovechkin and Crosby are obvious follow up votes, St. Louis’ contribution at 34 years old (which helped the Lightning stay afloat as well as helped propel young Steven Stamkos’ rise) is probably the most underappreciated contribution this season.
–John Fontana, Raw Charge
“Captain Serious has his team poised for immortality, he is the super glue for that youthful group. Ovi and Sid are obvious because when the Habs shut them both down their team vanished into thin air. I wanted the B’s to sign Cammalleri desperately; he was quietly a stabilizing force for a team with lots of drama. Sedin? Well, I didn’t want to be accused of East Coast bias, besides…he did manage to hold his team in a power position with BobbyLu melting down and clone Daniel out injured.”
–CJ Shepard, View From My Seats
“I always feel weird about the Hart voting since it’s for the player most valuable to his team; not the most valuable player in the NHL.
For example Alex Ovechkin is an amazing goal scorer but if you take his goals away entirely the Capitals still lead the league in goals. I think that takes away from him being the most valuable player to a team.
Meanwhile Howard and Anderson really stepped in and dragged their teams through their respective seasons. Without them Colorado and Detroit would have been in rough shape.”
–Chemmy, Pension Plan Puppets
“I have to go with Crosby over Ovechkin due to a better all round game including defense and face offs. Crosby is more of a team player and rarely quits on a play. Sedin and Stamkos had the numbers and Kane is the most explosive player in the Western Conf with the puck on his stick.”
–Buddy Oakes, Preds On The Glass
“I get Sedin being nominated but Ovie and Sid seem too easy. I tossed in Boyle because if anyone if the MVP of the Sharks, it’s that guy.”
For a look back at any of the other Year-End awards the writers voted on, feel free to check out all of the posts in this series here…