The Hart Memorial trophy nominees were announced today, and in a move that surprises absolutely no one, Evgeni Malkin was named a finalist.
He’s up against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos for the honour.
The award is given “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”
The man they call Geno spent the summer of 2011 training like a mad man and rehabbing his knee, after requiring surgery on a torn ACL and MCL muscle that ended his 2010-2011 season.
The training paid off. Even though he wasn’t 100% at the start of the season, he still ended up scoring 50 goals (his first 50 goal season of his career) and 109 points, taking the Art Ross scoring title along the way.
Geno also had the ability to make the players around him better. James Neal, Malkin’s linemate for the majority of the season, ended up scoring 40 goals this season, a first for him. Malkin assisted on 28 of those goals.
Geno managed to all this without Sidney Crosby in the lineup for the majority of the season.
He made it onto the All Star team this year, being drafted second over all by team Chara, and also put together a charity endeavor to raise money for the families of the Lokomotiv team, who tragically died in a plane crash last September.
Congrats Geno! We’re all rooting for you!
The NHL Awards will air on June 20, 2012