Editorials

20 Hart Trophy Candidates

By Mike Brennan
Jan 17, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) scores a goal on Montreal Canadiens goalie Ben Scrivens (40) during the third period at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 17, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) scores a goal on Montreal Canadiens goalie Ben Scrivens (40) during the third period at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
18 of 21
hart trophy
Jan 22, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) shoots the puck past New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin (86) in the second period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 4: Erik Karlsson, D, Ottawa Senators

Karlsson, however, isn’t a Central Division forward.

More from Editorials

If the Senators manage to bumble their way into the playoffs, Karlsson deserves the Hart Trophy on pure principle — no offense to the remaining guys on this list. The Senators are not good, and yet they’re still hanging around the playoff picture, just three points clear of the second wild card. Sure, forwards like Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone are solid pieces, and you could do worse in goal than Craig Anderson. But Karlsson …

This guy is on another planet. He’s probably going to win the Norris Trophy unless he gets hurt or Dallas’ John Klingberg puts on a second-half-of-the-season show, and Karlsson is going to be in the running for the Hart. Karlsson is fourth in the league in points with 51 on the back of a league runner-up 41 assists. He leads the league in ice time with an obscene 28:48 average (yes, he plays more than iron-man standard Ryan Suter), and he carries play at a 56.84 percent clip across all situations. That’s just insane.

He has 18 powerplay points, good for seventh in the league. He also boasts two game-winning goals among his 10 total, and leads the Sens with 136 shots taken. This team doesn’t just enjoy having Karlsson on the ice — it needs him there. And it needs him there pretty much every minute of every game. A lot of fans have gotten sucked up in Ottawa hype at one point or another this season, but the hype should entirely be centered around this guy. If Ottawa can sneak into the playoffs, Karlsson is a top-three lock for the Hart Trophy.

facebooktwitterreddit