An Analytical View at the 2021 NHL Hart Trophy Rankings

This season has been entertaining, to say the least. We’ve got the chance to see young rookies, breakout seasons, and disappointing acquisitions. We can’t deny the fact that this was by far one of the most exciting seasons of hockey. The Hart trophy goes to the player judged most valuable to his team. There were some very outstanding players. Who played the best? Who put up the most points? Who’s the best analytically? Let’s take a look at the NHL hart trophy power rankings.

NHL Hart Trophy Rankings

#1 Connor McDavid

Some may say it’s because he played weaker competition, but you can’t use that as a reason to take this season away from Connor McDavid. He has changed hockey in the past several seasons with his jaw-dropping speed and nifty moves to push past the defense. Hitting the 100 point mark in just an astonishing 53 games, or an 82 game pace of 154 points.

The one thing that people haven’t talked about this season is how much his defense has improved. Last season his xEVD was at -6.4, however, this season he’s moved to 0.6. That’s a drastic improvement but you’d expect nothing less from the best player in the world. When you have over 20 points versus two teams, there’s a good chance you’re a phenom. He is no doubt the NHL Hart Trophy favourite this season. The former Erie Otters star has become the best player in the world by his speed, playmaking, shot, he really has it all. 

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#2 Auston Matthews

The 2016 first overall draft pick has really come into his own this season. Like McDavid, if not for a shorter regular season, he would be on pace for 107 points in 82 games. That being a clear career-high. This year Auston Matthews has shown off his excellent snapshot, helping him lead the league in goals with 40 in 49 games played.

His release is something that you can sit back and admire. Matthews will likely receive his first Rocket Richard of his career this season besides battling a wrist injury. The Arizona product also leads the league in xEVO, xOFF, xGAR, xWAR, iSF, g/60, s%, and MDSA. Auston Matthews has shown this season what he can really do while playing over 20 minutes a night. Maybe he’ll be the next one to try and break the Great One’s goal record.

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#3 Nathan MacKinnon

For years now Nathan MacKinnon has been one of the best players in the NHL. It’s for very good reason. He’s a reason Colorado has come out of the shadows the past few seasons. His explosive skating style is what draws attention to him. This season he’s provided the Avalanche with primary playmaking. He’s also improved his defense which has made him more of an overall player.

MacKinnon currently has 65 points in 47 games played which is over a point per game rate. Although he hasn’t had too much attention this year due to McDavid lighting it up, he definitely has the opportunity to get some votes for the Hart. He leads Colorado in points, p/60, LDSA, and shots. He’s an LDSA machine. Playing on a deep Colorado team who is third in the league in goals for is perfect for MacKinnon this season as he’s shown he can do more than just score goals. He’ll look to propel the Avalanche to the cup this year after a loss in the playoffs last season.

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#4 Brad Marchand

At the start of the season, if you asked anyone who they predicted to be in Hart conversation, it seems unlikely almost anyone would say Brad Marchand. The 32-year-old is having a truly amazing season in his 12th season in the NHL. If not for the 56 game season, he’d be playing at a pace of 104 points in 82 games.

Marchand has led the way this season as the Bruins had trouble with secondary scoring. Although he takes lots of penalties, he draws a lot of them which puts the lethal Bruins power play into action. Marchand leads the Bruins in takeaways, points, G/60, P/60, s%, HDSA, xEVO, xOFF, xGAR, xWAR.  Along with Patrice Bergeron, Marchand has carried the Bruins into a playoff spot. Brad Marchand is getting older but he’s showing that he’s not planning on slowing down any time soon.

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#5 Sidney Crosby

Every year there’s always the people who say the Penguins won’t make the playoffs but consistently, they do. Why is that? Because of Sidney Crosby. Although he’s aging, Crosby has still been the two-way centerman he’s been known to be in his career. He leads the Penguins in points, goals, assists, fow%, p/60, and HDSA. Crosby scores lots of his goals below the hash marks as his most popular skill to people is his ability to protect the puck.

Like Matthews and MacKinnon, he’s hard to knock off the puck but unlike Matthews and MacKinnon he doesn’t have the size they do so he uses his lower body strength. He put the Penguins in a key spot winning the MassMutual East division. He’s one of the best two-way players in the game and that’s why he’s 33 and has the chance to get a vote for the 2021 Hart trophy.

Honorable mentions 

Mark Stone

Patrick Kane

Mitch Marner

Mikko Rantanen

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