March 23, 2018

Scoring Race Getting Interesting

The race for the NHL's scoring lead is coming down to the final games of the regular season. It is looking like it will be a fantastic finish.

On Thursday night defending Art Ross scoring champion Connor McDavid scored twice and assisted on two others in Edmonton's 6-2 drubbing of Ottawa. McDavid moved to 94 points on the season , just one point back of Nikita Kucherov. Somehow Kucherov, who has led the league in scoring much of the season, registered just one assist in a wild 7-6 victory for Tampa Bay over the New York Islanders.

Also still in the Art Ross hunt are Colorado's Nathan NacKinnon with 92 points, and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin with 91 points. Malkin has previously won the scoring title in 2009 and 2012.

All four players have eight games remaining in the season. Those four players have an excellent shot at 100 point seasons.

McDavid seems to be on a personal mission to defend his scoring title from last season and salvage a lost season in Edmonton. He truly has had an amazing season in Edmonton, factoring in on nearly 45% of his teams' goals this season. Next highest is Johnny Gaudreau with 40.6%, Claude Giroux at 40.2% and Anze Kopitar at 39.6%.

Yet while McDavid has been arguably the NHL's best player again this season, it is highly unlike he will again be honored with the Hart Trophy as league MVP this summer. It is rare that the league MVP is from a non-playoff team. He would have to have a dominant scoring title lead of say 20 or more points to get into the MVP conversation as a non-playoff participant.

1 comment:

Hallwings said...

The last time a player from a non-playoff team won the Hart Memorial Trophy was Mario Lemieux way back in 1988. He won the Art Ross Trophy that year as well.