Everything you wanted to know about the Hart Trophy but were afraid to ask - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Everything you wanted to know about the Hart Trophy but were afraid to ask

Montreal Canadiens players have combined to win the Hart Trophy a total of 17 times, more than any other team, while 10 NHL franchises have never boasted a league MVP.
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USA Today

USA Today

It will likely come as no surprise that a Montreal Canadiens player has won the Hart Trophy more often than any other team. A Habs player has been named regular-season MVP 17 times in NHL history, more than Boston (12), more than Edmonton (10), more than anybody. At the other end, 10 of the league's 31 franchises have never had a Hart Trophy winner.

Here's a team-by-team look at the NHL's MVP standings over the years, followed by (just about) everything you wanted to know about the Hart Trophy but were afraid to ask.

HART TROPHY STANDINGS(first awarded in 1923-24)

Montreal 17
Boston 12
Edmonton 10
Detroit 9
Chicago 7
Pittsburgh 7
NY Rangers 4
Philadelphia 4
Washington 3
Buf/Col/StL/TB/Tor 2
Ana/LA/NJ/NYI/Ott/SJ/Van 1
Ari/Cgy/Car/Clb/Dal/Fla/Min/Nsh/Veg/Wpg 0

Notable:

  • The MVPs of Montreal: From Herb Gardiner in 1926-27 to Carey Price in 2014-15, a total of 13 different Canadiens players have been named NHL MVP. Howie Morenz, the 'Stratford Streak,' is the only Habs star to take the Hart three times (in a five-season span from 1927-28 through 1931-32), while Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur each won twice. Beliveau was a finalist five other times, while Maurice Richard won once in six nominations. The longest stretch Montreal went without one of its players winning the award was the 24 years between Lafleur's second straight Hart in 1977-78 to Jose Theodore's MVP uprising in 2001-02.
  • Boston's best: The Bruins have collected a dozen Hart Trophies over the years, led by Eddie Shore's four MVP awards in the 1930s – only two players in league history have won more than Shore's four – and Bobby Orr's three-year run from 1969-70 to '71-72. The Bruins haven't had a league MVP since Phil Esposito reigned supreme in 1973-74. A Boston player has been runner-up for the award 12 times – as well as finished third in voting 12 times. The most recent Bruins player to be nominated for the Hart Trophy was Ray Bourque in 1989-90. He placed second behind Edmonton's Mark Messier
  • The '80s Oilers: More specifically, the '80s Wayne Gretzky. 'The Great One' earned his nickname with eight straight Harts from 1979-80 to '86-87 before Mario Lemieux emerged to break the streak. (Note: The Oilers' Grant Fuhr placed second and Gretzky came third when Lemieux won in '87-88.) Gretzky won a ninth Hart in his first season in Los Angeles in 1988-89 to set the all-time NHL standard. Messier and Connor McDavid are the other Oilers to deliver an MVP season; Messier also won a Hart with the Rangers.
  • The making of Mr. Hockey: Gordie Howe racked up six Hart Trophies, second only to Gretzky all-time, in a dominant decade from the early '50s through the early '60s. Howe was nominated five other times. The Wings' other winners: Ebbie Goodfellow in 1939-40, Sid Abel in '48-49 and Sergei Fedorov in '93-94.
  • The Chicago way: The Blackhawks won four straight MVP awards in the mid-1960s – two in a row for each of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita – but then had to wait nearly 50 years for Patrick Kane's MVP season in 2015-16. Hull was a Hart finalist on six other occasions.
  • To thrill a walking bird: The Penguins' penchant for picking generational talents, from Lemieux to Jaromir Jagr to Sidney Crosby to Evgeni Malkin, has resulted in seven MVP awards for the franchise. Lemieux won three times and finished runner-up three times, Crosby has won twice and was nominated five other times, Malkin has won once and was a finalist on two other occasions, and Jagr won once and was nominated four other times. Add it up, and the four superstars combined for 21 Hart Trophy nominations (and counting) during their time in Pittsburgh.
  • Franchise faces: Bobby Clarke accounts for three of Philadelphia's four Hart Trophy wins – with his Flyers' arch-rival, Eric Lindros, taking the other one – while Alex Ovechkin is the only Capitals player to ever win the award. Like Clarke, Ovechkin is a three-time NHL MVP. Dominik Hasek went back-to-back in 1996-97 and '97-98 for the only two Hart Trophies in Sabres history. Hasek became the first goalie in 35 years to win the Hart in '96-97, and he's the only goalie in NHL history to win it twice.
  • Two for Toronto: The Leafs rank last among Original Six franchises with only two Hart Trophies to their credit – Babe Pratt in 1943-44 and Ted Kennedy in '54-55. Toronto had a player nominated on 15 other occasions, most recently Doug Gilmour in 1992-93. He finished second to Lemieux.
  • One and done: Seven teams have had one – and only one – Hart Trophy winner. They are: Anaheim, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, San Jose and Vancouver. Corey Perry finished strong with a 50-goal season for the Ducks in 2010-11. Gretzky won in his first season with L.A. in '88-89. Martin Brodeur was a three-time finalist but it was Taylor Hall who gave the Devils their only MVP in 2017-18. Bryan Trottier won for the Isles in '78-79 before Gretzky showed up. The Sens' lone MVP came during the original incarnation of the franchise when Frank Nighbor won the first-ever Hart in 1923-24. Joe Thornton earned MVP kudos in 2005-06, the same season he was dealt from Boston to San Jose. And Henrik Sedin delivered Vancouver's lone Hart-worthy season in 2009-10.
  • Nothing to see here: Ten teams have never had a Hart Trophy winner. They are: Arizona, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, Vegas and Winnipeg. Four of those teams – the Wild, Predators, Golden Knights and Jets – have never even had a player nominated for MVP honors. And it should be noted, the lone nominee in Arizona's franchise history was Dale Hawerchuk in 1984-85, when the team was still in Winnipeg as the original version of the Jets. It's a similar situation for Carolina, the lone nominee in their franchise history was Mike Liut in '86-87, when the team was still in Hartford. Hawerchuk and Liut, like so many MVP nominees before and after them, lost out on the Hart Trophy to Gretzky.

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