Thursday, January 31, 2008
NHL's Most Valuable Player (Hart Trophy)
The guy is good.
Nikolas Lidstrom, soon to be 38, is the league's best defenseman. For the first time in his career, he will be considered for the MVP award.
In 52 games this season, he's amassed 6 goals, 43 assists (3rd most in the league), 49 points and +43 rating. Just 28 PIM and logging up 27:13 TOI/game. Did I mention +43?
I would not only argue he's helping his team win hockey games (that is an understatement), but also a big reason why Chris Osgood is boasting a career high .925 SV% (.907 Career avg).
Of course he'll be in tough competition. Daniel Alfredsson is having a career year at 35. Edmonton boy, Jarome Iginla is having an outstanding season and the Flames haven't suffered from Mikka Kiprusoff's poor goaltending in the standings. Joe Thornton is carrying the San Jose Sharks. Ovechkin is making a strong case in Washington.
I don't like the fact that LeCavalier and Kovalchuk are getting consideration. "Buzz Penguin" from HF crunched the numbers and discovered this:
LeCavalier (+3) has a 1.75 PPG against teams in the SE division, and a 1.03 PPG against non-division opponents
Kovalchuk (-15) has a 1.94 PPG against teams in the SE division, and a 0.90 PPG against non-division opponents
Ovechkin (+10) has a 1.22 PPG against teams in the SE division, and a 1.33 PPG against non-division opponents
All good players, but it's clear that LeCavalier and Kovalchuk are reaping the benefits of playing against poor defenses and poor goaltenders. Of course some of these SE division teams should be auctioning off guys like Prospal, Whitney, Stillman, etc. in the case they are overvalued on the trade market, in order to address team needs.
Back to Lidstrom - he's my choice. The guy quietly gets results year after year without much press.
The Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. Nikolas Lidstrom is valuable to his team in the sense that he helps the Detroit Red Wings win hockey games.
And they win.
Posted by PunjabiOil at 1:48 AM