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Previewing The 2016 NHL Awards Show

Hart Memorial Trophy

Awarded to the player judged most valuable to his team. This year’s candidates are:

Sidney Crosby

It seems that every season the “Kid” is in the discussion for the Hart.

After having a very rough start to the 2015-2016 season and not making the All-Star Game, Crosby ended up doing pretty well for himself.

Earning the M.O. as one of the most feared players in the league and then not scoring is sure to drive Crosby nuts. But when that very same player makes up for lost time, it is sure to drive his opponents equally as crazy.

And that’s just what Crosby did throughout the second half of the season.

After averaging about four tenths of a point per game at the start of the 2015-16 season, he managed to finish with 85 points (36 goals, 49 assists) in 80 games.

He had the second best takeaway to giveaway ratio of his career, and he also had a career high in blocked shots (90).

Sid is not as physically intimidating as Alex Ovechkin, yet he still finds ways to distract his opponents. An opponent’s lack of focus for a fraction of a second is all that Crosby needs to score a goal.

He has easily been the best player in the league (arguably the world) over the past decade as he looks to capture his third career Hart Trophy.

Patrick Kane

Kane is the front runner for the award after leading the league in points (106) this season.

Kane eventually caught fire with a 26 game point streak this season, which ended up being the longest point streak by an American player and second longest point streak of all time.

Kane simply terrorized defenses all season long.

Kane’s production would eventually lead to his team’s demise, as his struggles in the playoffs proved that Chiacgo was relying too much on the power forward. The Blackhawks eventually lost the St. Louis in underwhelming fashion.

The bright side for Kane fans is that these awards are based on regular season play.

Kane will be going home with at least one piece of hardware (the Art Ross), but probably will leave with at least two (Ted Lindsay: awarded to the player voted most outstanding by the players).

Jamie Benn

When the 2015-16 season began, the team with the best record resided in Dallas. The team’s captain and reigning Art Ross trophy winner was positioning himself for a second Art Ross trophy.

Benn led the Stars to the playoffs for the second time in the last three years, and made last year’s dud something to remember by stealing the Art Ross from Islanders’ captain John Tavares in the waning moments of the 2014-15 season.

Benn helped Dallas to advance to the second round and almost led them to the Conference Finals if not for a 6-1 slashing by St. Louis on their home ice.

Benn was second in the league in points with 89 (41 goals and 48 assists), he uses his big frame to punish opposing players and to block shots.

He had a career high shooting percentage (16.6%) and he also reached a milestone this past season by playing his 500th game.

The Verdict: Patrick Kane

Even Crosby’s late season surge and Benn’s career year can’t stop Kane from winning the Hart.

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