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Hart Memorial Trophy

Hart Trophy finalists unveiled

Hall, Kopitar, MacKinnon in running for award given to NHL's most valuable player

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Taylor Hall and Nathan MacKinnon will have a chance to continue the streak of No. 1 NHL draft picks winning the Hart Trophy.

Hall, a forward with the New Jersey Devils who was selected No. 1 in the 2010 NHL Draft, and MacKinnon, a center with the Colorado Avalanche taken No. 1 in the 2013 NHL Draft, join Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar as finalists for the trophy awarded to the NHL player judged to be most valuable to his team.

The winner will be announced at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 20.

 

[RELATED: NHL Awards coverage]

 

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (No. 1 in the 2015 NHL Draft) won the Hart Trophy last year, and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (No. 1 in the 2007 NHL Draft) won it in 2016.

Video: Making cases for the Hart Trophy finalists

Hall was sixth in the NHL with 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) and helped the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012. The 26-year-old had 41 more points than the second-highest scorer on the Devils, center Nico Hischier (52), the largest differential between a team's top two scorers since 2007-08 (Alex Ovechkin/Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals, 43 points). Hall had 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) during a personal 26-game point streak between Jan. 2 and March 6, setting a Devils record.

He is a first-time Hart Trophy finalist. No Devils player has won the Hart.

Video: TBL@NJD, Gm3: Hall beats Vasilevskiy to tie game

Kopitar had 92 points (35 goals, 57 assists), tied with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel for seventh in the NHL, and helped the Kings reach the playoffs after missing them last season. The 30-year-old, who was picked No. 11 in the 2005 NHL Draft by Los Angeles, is the first Kings player with 90 points since Wayne Gretzky had 130 (38 goals, 92 assists) in 1993-94.

Kopitar also is a finalist for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the forward judged to best excel in the defensive aspects of the game. Kopitar won the Selke in 2016, and if he wins the Hart, he would join Sergei Fedorov and Bobby Clarke as the only players to win both trophies. Fedorov won the Hart and Selke in 1994 and the Selke in 1996. Clarke won the Hart in 1973, 1975 and 1976, and won the Selke in 1983.

Kopitar is a first-time finalist for the Hart Trophy. Gretzky (1989) is the only Kings player to win it.

Video: VGK@LAK, Gm3: Kopitar redirects one past Fleury

MacKinnon was fifth in the NHL with 97 points (39 goals, 58 assists) in 74 games. His 1.31 points-per-game average was second to McDavid (1.32), and his 12 game-winning goals tied Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point for the NHL lead and matched Joe Sakic (2000-01) for the most in a season by an Avalanche player. The 22-year-old helped Colorado improve by 47 points in the standings, going from last in the League in 2016-17 to the second wild card from the Western Conference this season.

He would be the third Avalanche player to win the Hart, joining Sakic (2001) and Peter Forsberg (2003).

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: MacKinnon buries breakaway goal

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