Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon are the three finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league's most valuable player.
McDavid is the clear front-runner for the award after producing an NHL-best 105 points in 56 games - 21 more points than the person with the next most in the league, his teammate Leon Draisaitl. McDavid played at a 154-point pace over 82 contests, a number that hasn't been reached since Mario Lemieux racked up 161 in 1995-96. The 24-year-old's seeking his second career Hart Trophy after winning in 2016-17.
Matthews has already claimed the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy after leading the league with 41 goals in 52 games. The 23-year-old also led the NHL with 31 even-strength goals, 12 game-winning goals, and 222 shots. The 6-foot-3, 223-pound pivot also made strides defensively, finishing with a career-best 1.95 expected goals against per 60 minutes. This is Matthews' first time being nominated for the Hart.
MacKinnon got off to a slow start but still finished with 65 points in 48 games, ranking fourth in the league in points-per-game. The 25-year-old was the driving force behind the NHL's top regular-season team, with his 63.7% expected goals share leading all skaters who logged at least 500 minutes at five-on-five. MacKinnon was nominated for the Hart on two other occasions, finishing as the runner-up in 2017-18 and 2019-20.
(Analytics source: Natural Stat Trick)