Forwards Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks, and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers were named today as the three finalists for the 2013-14 Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to "the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team."
The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 24.
Here's what the league had to say about this fine trio of fabulous finalists:
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Crosby posted 36 goals as well as a league-leading 68 assists and 104 points to capture his second career Art Ross Trophy and lead the Penguins to their second consecutive division title. He registered points in 60 of the 80 games in which he played (75.0 percent), including 30 multi-point performances, and never went more than two consecutive matches without registering a point. Crosby also reached the 100-point milestone for the fifth time in his career and on Nov. 29 hit 700 career points, doing so in his 497th game, the fastest pace among active players and sixth-fastest in NHL history. The 26-year-old Cole Harbour, N.S., native is a Hart Trophy finalist for the fourth time after winning the award in 2006-07 and finishing as a runner-up in 2009-10 and 2012-13.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks captain scored a career-high 31 goals and ranked second in the league with 87 points to power the Ducks to the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history. He posted a 14-game point streak (6-11-17) from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15, the longest in the NHL since the 2011-12 season. Getzlaf also set a career high with seven game-winning goals, second on the team to Corey Perry (9), and recorded a +28 rating, the second-highest of his career since his top mark of +32 in 2007-08, to help the Ducks set team records for wins (54), points (116), points percentage (.707), home wins (29) and road victories (25). The 28-year-old Regina, Sask., native is a Hart Trophy finalist for the first time.
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Flyer captain Giroux matched a career high with 28 goals and finished third in the NHL scoring race with 86 points to help the Flyers bounce back from a 3-9-0 start and qualify for the playoffs for the sixth time in the past seven years. After being held pointless in his first five games and not scoring a goal until his 16th contest, Giroux compiled a 28-51-79 slate in his final 67 outings of the season, an average of 1.18 points per game. He also cobbled together a career-long, nine-game point streak from Dec. 11 to 30, totaling 6-11-17 in that span, and recorded his 100th NHL goal on Dec. 19. The 26-year-old Hearst, Ont., native is a Hart Trophy finalist for the first time.
We say: Giroux is in the mix because someone had to finish third. Getzlaf? A clutch performer who finally put it all together and powered the Ducks to their best season ever. Any other year and he's a deserving winner. But Sid was Sid this season, meaning the best player in the world truly looked the part. He didn't simply lead the league in scoring or carry the Pens to a division crown--he did those things while surrounded by a group of AHL call-ups who filled in for the 529 man-games that Pittsburgh lost to injury this season. He factored into 42 percent of his team's goals. When he got on the scoresheet, the Pens lost just eight times in regulation. And he mixed in a little defense, too.
Crosby has had better numbers, but never a more valuable season.