On the morning of one of the biggest games in Nathan MacKinnon’s NHL career news broke that the Colorado Avalanche superstar has been named one of the finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy which is given to the league’s Most Valuable Player.
MacKinnon is a finalist for the third time in his career and is also the third time in the last four seasons. MacKinnon is named alongside Rocket Richard Trophy winner Auston Matthews and the presumed winner - and Art Ross Torphy winner - Connor McDavid.
While MacKinnon is no stranger to this award it is a little bit of a surprise he received the nomination in this 2020-21 season despite the Avalanche winning the President’s Trophy. Teammate Mikko Rantanen, who only played four more games edged MacKinnon in points 66 to 65 but also by goals 30 to 20 with the same ratio at even strength as well, could have been looked at as the Avalanche’s MVP. There were other stellar performances this season by elite players such as Brad Marchand, Artemi Panarin, Leon Draisaitl and Patrick Kane. Still, it is quite an accomplishment for MacKinnon to get recognized as one of the league’s best with a Hart Trophy to his name surely on the horizon.
MacKinnon joins teammates Cale Makar for the Norris Trophy and Philipp Grubauer for the Vezina Trophy as those who have been nominated for awards. Will any of them take home the hardware? Will MacKinnon get his team past the second round of the playoffs? Time will tell.