After a resurgent season which saw him reach 100 points for the first time in five years, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is a finalist for the Hart trophy which is awarded to the NHL most valuable player. It is the third time in four seasons Crosby is a finalist though he hasn’t won the award since 2013-14.
Crosby’s last award victory was also the last time he scored 100 points in a season.
Crosby carried the Penguins through tumultuous times this season as Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel slumped for most of the season. Crosby teamed with Jake Guentzel to create one of the most prolific top lines in hockey. In addition to 100 points, Crosby scored 35 goals. Guentzel reached the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career, as well.
Crosby has won the award twice and been a finalist four times. He also won in the 2006-07 season. He was a finalist in 2009-10, 2012-13, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
Tampa Bay winger Nikita Kucherov who also won the Art Ross trophy and the 2017 winner Connor McDavid are the other finalists.
Kucherov, 25, led the NHL scoring race nearly wire to wire. He posted an astounding 128 points (41g, 87a) as Tampa Bay cruised to the President’s Trophy as the best team in the NHL regular season.
McDavid, 22, scored 116 points (41g, 75a), though his Edmonton Oilers floundered this season. He won the award in 2017 and finished fifth in voting last season. McDavid also won the previous two Art Ross trophies. He is generally regarded as the best player in the world or second best behind Crosby.
Crosby helped the Penguins reach the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season and the Penguins had to rally to do so. The Penguins were not solidly in a playoff position until the final two weeks of the season and took until Game 81 to clinch. Like Kucherov and Tampa Bay, Crosby and the Penguins were swept in Round One of the NHL playoffs.