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Giroux named mid-season Hart favorite

Jan 9, 2012, 5:08 PM EDT

Claude Giroux Getty Images

Philadelphia forward Claude Giroux has the inside edge on winning the 2012 Hart Trophy, according to NHL.com.

Giroux has been the League’s most complete player this season. He entered the week with 48 points, one fewer than League leader Henrik Sedin. But, he has played in only 36 games while Sedin was set to play in his 43rd game on Monday night. Giroux has scored 18 goals and dished out 30 assists. He’s averaging 1.33 points per game and is on pace for 98 points this season.

Not bad for a 23-year-old who wasn’t even a particularly high draft pick (22nd overall in 2006). Giroux also contributes defensively, averaging 2:33 per game on the penalty kill with 23 blocked shots.

Phil Kessel and Jonathan Toews were NHL.com’s two other top Hart candidates.

A few others to consider:

—-Evgeni Malkin. Has a great opportunity to impress voters with all the injuries on the Penguins.

—-Marian Hossa. Not many people talking about this guy. Leads the Blackhawks with 44 points, +20, kills penalties.

—-Steven Stamkos. Has the best chance of any player to score 50 goals. Though it might be hard to vote for someone whose team doesn’t make the playoffs.

—-Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Both in the race for the Art Ross on a club that could win the Presidents’ Trophy.

—-Pavel Datsyuk. Started slow, but now only six points back of the league’s scoring lead. Not just a scorer either, as evidenced by all those Selke awards.

—-Zdeno Chara. The last defenseman to win the Hart was Chris Pronger, back in 1999-2000 when he had 62 points in 79 games for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Blues. Chara’s on pace for 57 points, so not far off Pronger’s total. Question: if the Bruins lost Chara for the rest of the season, would they still have a legit shot at the Cup?

—-Shea Weber. Bit of a dark horse, but anyone that can rank third in scoring among NHL defensemen on a team so bereft of offensively talented forwards as Nashville deserves at least a mention.

Anyone missing?

  1. imleftcoast - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    If the Leafs make the playoffs, Kessel would be my vote. I’m not a Leafs fan, but after what happened at last year’s all-star game, I’m impressed at the year he’s having.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:24 AM

      The Hart is the NHL’s MVP award. Any baseball fan knows about the yearly debate of the meaning of the term ‘valuable’ and whether players on non-playoff teams can win the award. Playoffs or not, Kessel has been the most valuable player to his team, the very criteria for the award. Leafs fan or not, how can you argue that? Where would the Leafs be without the year the guy is having?

  2. taytay099 - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    What about a goalie? Henrik Lundqvist and Tim Thomas are player pretty outstanding this season.

    • taytay099 - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      *Playing pretty outstanding.

      I screwed up that simple sentence like a real dunce.

  3. imleftcoast - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Good point about Lundqvist. I’ve become a fan watching 24/7, and the Rangers look good.

  4. lsxphotog - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Lundqvist is having a career season right now…every damn night too. BUT, Giroux is the Hart leader for a reason. He’s someone the team can always count on to keep them in the game. His comeback after the concussion in four games was tremendous…

    Toews, on the other hand, has been a driving force for Chicago. He’s playing defense, he’s scoring goals, he’s setting up plays and passes. Toews still has the tail-end of the season to remain the core of the Blackhaws. If he keeps it up, he’ll also be in the running as well.

  5. homerthompson - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Who was the mid-season MVP last year? Exactly! It wasn’t Corey Perry!

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      Hello Mr. Thompson!

  6. rexadelphia8 - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    It’s all g’s. U the man

  7. dubitodd123 - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Kovio

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