Hall, Kopitar, MacKinnon named finalists for Hart Trophy
Both Hall, MacKinnon triggered huge turnarounds for woeful teams
New Jersey Devils left-winger Taylor Hall, Los Angeles Kings centre Anze Kopitar and Colorado Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon were named the three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy on Friday.
The Hart Trophy is awarded "to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team."
Hall ranked sixth in the NHL with 39 goals, 54 assists, setting career highs across the board to lead the Devils to a 27-point improvement in the standings and their first playoff appearance since 2011-12. Hall recorded 41 more points than his next-closest teammate, the highest such differential by a club's top two scorers since 2007-08.
Hall posted a career season (39-54—93 in 76 GP) to propel the <a href="https://twitter.com/NJDevils?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NJDevils</a> to a 27-point improvement in the standings. <br><br>He recorded 41 more points than his next-closest teammate, the highest such differential since 2007-08 (Ovechkin: 112, Backstrom: 69 w/ WSH). <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLAwards?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHLAwards</a> <a href="https://t.co/Wf6cN6qKWS">pic.twitter.com/Wf6cN6qKWS</a>—@PR_NHL
Kopitar finished one point behind Hall in scoring with 35 goals and 57 assists, nearly tripling his goal total and doubling his point total from 2016-17 to power the Kings to their seventh playoff berth in the past nine years. He became the first Los Angeles player to reach the 90-point milestone since Wayne Gretzky did it in the 1993-94 season with 38 goals and 92 assists.
MacKinnon placed second in the NHL with 1.31 points per game, totalling 39 goals and 58 assists to guide the Avalanche to a 47-point improvement in the standings, matching the fourth-highest year-to-year gain in League history. MacKinnon increased his goal total by 23 and point total by 44 to lift Colorado from last place in the 2016-17 NHL standings to its first playoff berth since 2013-14.