Despite the Oilers missing the playoffs, Connor McDavid has been voted as a finalist for the 2018-19 Hart Trophy for the league’s Most Valuable Player. McDavid along with Sidney Crosby and Nikita Kucherov are the three finalists for the award.
Your 2019 Hart Trophy Finalists: Crosby (PIT), Kucherov (TB) & McDavid (EDM).
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 28, 2019
As we know, it’s very uncommon for a player on a non-playoff team to win the Hart Trophy. The last time it happened was in 1987-88 when Mario Lemieux put up a whopping 168 points on a terrible Pittsburgh Penguins squad.
McDavid finished fifth in Hart Trophy voting last season despite leading the league in points with 108. Former Oiler Taylor Hall, who had 93 points in 76 games, was given the MVP award because he helped will a mediocre New Jersey Devils squad to the playoffs. Despite not winning the Hart last year, McDavid did win the Ted Lindsay award for the most outstanding player as judged by the members of the NHL Players Association.
McDavid had an even better season this year than he did last year, tallying a career-high 116 points. He finished second in the league behind Kucherov, the favourite to win the Hart Trophy, who scored a whopping 128 points for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The whole MVP on a non-playoff team is a tough issue. While there’s some logic behind awarding it to a player who made the playoffs, the term “most valuable player” means, to me, which player plays the most important role in making their team better. If you took Kucherov off the Lightning, they’re probably still a playoff team. If you take McDavid off the Oilers, they probably finish dead last in the league.
I doubt he ends up winning the award, but it’s great to see McDavid get the recognition he deserves, especially after a pretty insulting fifth-place finish in last year’s vote.