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 /
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hart trophy
Jan 15, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Jets defeated the Wild 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 14 Blake Wheeler, RW, Winnipeg Jets

The big man north of the border, Wheeler has been silently putting up stellar numbers this season. Up to this point, he has 45 points on 32 assists, which leads the team in both categories. He sits 12th in the league in total points mainly through his assists. Much like Washington’s Backstrom, he is a player who can put up these numbers by not being selfish and creating offense. What has made him better than Backstrom to this point, through, is his size. He can use his body to get through traffic and create plays that way, and this has paid dividends this season.

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Much like other players on this list, Wheeler has strong possession stats with a 55 percent Corsi-for mark, which really explains his high assist numbers. When a big body like this is able to have this much puck possession, he is able to give the puck to finishers like Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little. While Wheeler is a big body who can get the puck into the offensive zone and win board battles in the corner, he is not the type of player that will win the Hart Trophy. He is high on the list because his type of play is extremely underrated and does not show up on the score sheet as much as it should. This player just needs more love.

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