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Top five candidates for the NHL Hart Trophy for the 2023-24 season

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The upcoming September marks the beginning of the hockey season.

It may come as a surprise to some that the Vegas Golden Knights were the center of attention in the playoffs, culminating in the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, this past June, Connor McDavid won his third career Hart Trophy, a situation that felt as cozy as putting on a warm sweater or sipping a pumpkin spice latte.

So what will the 2023-24 season bring? Who will be honored as the league’s MVP?

Each year, the Hart Memorial Trophy, voted on by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is awarded to the player they feel is the most valuable to their team.

Top five candidates for the NHL Hart Trophy for the 2023-24 season

Voters are required to rank the top five players in order. The process is far more complicated than one might think, with value depending not just on goals, points or saves, but also on the player’s individual importance to the team. Even star players on the team can muddy the rankings.

In addition, attendance is crucial; players cannot afford to miss too many games due to injury. Although the Hart Award is a regular season award, it is rarely given to a player who does not make the playoffs.

With all of this in mind, let’s go ahead and predict the five players who could be at the top of the rankings before the Hart Trophy ballot is officially announced next April:

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers.
Connor McDavid snapped a streak of two consecutive Hart Trophy winners last season, as he had a stellar performance at the peak of his career, setting a new record of 153 points. Now, the 26-year-old is sitting as the best player in hockey. Not only does he boast amazing numbers, but he also consistently fights for team goals, and his leadership has the Edmonton Oilers on track for even more success and possibly even a Stanley Cup.

Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers.
The addition of Tkachuk has reinvigorated the Florida Panthers. His stellar play not only boosted the team, but also helped them make the playoffs and reach the Stanley Cup Final. While the new season may present some challenges, Tkachuk’s impact will continue to be felt. If he can show the same strength again, he is expected to do even better in this year’s Hart Trophy voting.

Kyle Makar, Colorado Avalanche.
In recent years, Nathan MacKinnon has been the Avalanche’s representative in the Hart Trophy voting. However, Kyle Makar has also come into his own, having won several awards, including the Calder, Norris, and Conn Smythe awards. His talent and hard work have made him a superstar, and he has become increasingly important to the team. If he can stay healthy and continue to perform at a high level, he is expected to be a favorite for the Hart Award.

Tiger Thompson, Buffalo Sabres.
Tiger Thompson’s play improved dramatically last season, as his scoring jumped from 68 to 94 points and his voting rankings rose. If he can keep this up and help the Sabres make the playoffs, he’s expected to do even better in the Hart Award voting.

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs.
Winning the NHL Player of the Year two seasons in a row is no easy feat, and Auston Matthews is one of the few players to do it. Despite the injuries that affected his performance last season, there is still no doubting his prowess. With the Toronto Maple Leafs solving their financial problems, Matthews is expected to show great performances in the upcoming season in a bid to be nominated for another Hart Award.

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