Steven Stamkos Photo by Linda Hamilton
Lightning forward Steven Stamkos’ incredible season has earned him another honor. The finalists for this year’s Hart Memorial Trophy were announced today.
Stamkos joins the Pittsburgh Penguins’ center Evgeni Malkin and New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in being considered for the award.
During our award predictions, I already gave my guesses as to who would be nominated. While there is some satisfaction in being right, it’s tempered by the fact that I know Stamkos isn’t going to win.
Each year The Professional Hockey Writers Association votes on who they think the player most valuable to his respective team during the regular season is.
Stamkos had an exceptional season, becoming only the second player to reach the 60 goal mark since the 1995-96 season. In doing so, he captured his second Maurice Richard trophy in the last three years.
He tied for the league lead in game winning goals, and set an NHL record by scoring five overtime goals. He also scored 48 even strength goals, the most for any player since 1992-1993.
The biggest reason why the Lightning star won’t win the award is the fact that the team didn’t make the playoffs. The last time a player was even nominated for the Hart without his team being in the post season was Jarome Iginla in 2002.
Even though the Hart is supposed to be for the MVP of the regular season, the post season is a big qualification for the winners. As predicted, Malkin will take it. That doesn’t lessen the honor. Stamkos’ star continues to rise in the NHL and as the Lightning continue to improve, I see a Marty St. Louis-esque awards tear in his future.