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Offseason Flurries: A Hart finalist and more playoff action

Nathan MacKinnon earns another award nomination and the playoffs roll on

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

By the end of the season, it was genuinely tough to tell if Nathan MacKinnon would actually be getting his Hart nomination or not.

On one hand, he was on a playoff team, had some of the best production numbers in the league, and did remarkable things with his line during the year after an incredibly tough 2016-17 campaign.

On the other hand, he had less all-around value than some of the candidates, he had higher-producing linemates than others, and the Connor McDavid argument was becoming just too hard to ignore; even for those who weren’t on board with giving him a nomination, the voices that were in favor of it seemed to be growing louder.

This weekend, though, MacKinnon’s fate was officially sealed: alongside Taylor Hall and Anze Kopitar, he’ll head to Las Vegas this June to see who ultimately takes home the award. [Mile High Hockey]

We all know that the Avalanche blogger community would love to see MacKinnon take home the award, but the ultimate question is whether or not others feel the same way. With that in mind, here’s one final argument in favor of the Nova Scotia native getting the honors. [MHH]

In fairness, we feel we should show the arguments from all sides of the table. So here you go:

In favor of Taylor Hall, here’s a deep dive from earlier this month into how the forward became a driving force in the Devils’ culture change this year, and why that makes him an MVP. [NJ.com]

In favor of Anze Kopitar, here’s a look at how the veteran captain was a key reason that the Kings returned to the postseason this year. [LA Daily News]

Also, here’s the reminder that he’s a Selke finalist as well, and his play in all situations is a strong factor in his Hart nomination to boot. [NHL.com]

In more fun news, the Avalanche will be getting Ottawa’s first-rounder in 2019, not this year. So here’s hoping that they lose a ton and end up falling right into position to draft Jack Hughes - which, for the Avalanche, would be the ultimate coup. [MHH]

This summer, though, let’s look at contracts: it’s time to get to talking with Mikko Rantanen as soon as possible. [MHH]

Here’s the best opportunity I’ve seen to make fun of Tuukka Rask in ages, in which we all laugh at him for aggressively brandishing his skate blade at the officials when the rules clearly state that won’t stop game play:

And now, a look at why Dustin Byfuglien should scare the shit out of all of us:

Oh, and...

If you’re into fun stories about underdogs and small markets, by the way, here’s a fun tale about a kid from Billings, Montana who’s currently serving as a black ace for the Tucson Roadrunners. It’s been one hell of a journey to get there, but now he’s just soaking it all in. [InGoal Magazine]

And in case you needed another reason to love goalies, here’s one:

While we’re on the topic of AHL goalies, check out this bare handed save from Garret Sparks of the Toronto Marlies.

Finally, we’ve decided that Flurries will only go up on week days during the offseason - which, for us, includes right now.

As always, though, we encourage anyone with ideas or suggestions to send them in either via the comment section or by tossing them to us on Twitter; as the doldrums of the summer grow closer, we encourage any content you’d like to see get a boost!