Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NHL MVP 2010 - Is It Even Close Right Now?

Despite his lapses in judgment with regards to checking, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is far and away the NHL's best offensive player, statistically.

You'll find people (particularly in western Pennsylvania) who suggest that Sidney Crosby should win it, but the statistical disparity between the two players is staggering. Crosby/Ovechkin are 1/2 in goals scored (at 45 and 44, respectively). Ovechkin leads the NHL in total points (96, 9 more than Crosby) and +/- (41, +30 above Crosby). Add on top of that the fact that Ovechkin is the most important and best player for the best team in hockey (101 points, a full 14 points above Crosby's currently second-seeded Penguins), and there's simply no way any other skater can be rated above Ovechkin. Oh, and Ovechkin missed 8 games, so if he keeps up his goal-scoring pace, he'll pass Crosby before the year is over, too.

Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks has also had a great season thus far, but ranks behind Ovechkin in virtually every offensive category other than assists. He's earned a mention in the discussion, but won't be winning the award.

Ryan Miller, who many of us really just came to know with his Olympic heroics, deserves equal consideration for the Hart Trophy, as the NHL's MVP. Buffalo currently leads the Northeast division, despite having no players in the top 25 in goals scored or points scored. Miller is first in save percentage and second in goals-against-average. But the Hart Trophy generally goes to a skater, and Miller hasn't distanced himself from other excellent goalies (such as Ilya Bryzgalov, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Evgeni Nabokov) enough to warrant a change of that. And remember, this is the NHL's MVP award, not hockey's MVP award. Miller's performance in the Olympics doesn't (and shouldn't) be a factor. He earned and received the Olympic MVP award for his outstanding play in the Vancouver games.

I'm not a hockey fanatic, nor would I consider myself a hockey expert. But at this point in the season, with a dozen games to go, it sure seems like Ovechkin is a no-brainer to receive his third consecutive Hart Trophy.


GPjames said...

unless crosby wins the goal scoring race by 10 or so, it will be Ovechkins. But I do want to say, the caps 14 point cushion on the pens is partially because of the caps division,the weak weak Southeast where teams collect the majority of their points. (no one in the playoffs besides caps)

GoodPointJoe said...

That's a perfectly legitimate argument; outside of the Caps, the Southeast is arguably the weakest division in hockey.


Of course, you'll also notice that the Capitals have more points against the Atlantic division than the Penguins, despite playing 3 fewer games, and despite having to actually play against the Penguins, the best team in that division right now. The Penguins are 8-4-3 against the Southeast, compared to the Caps' 16-3-1 record against their division.

Five of the Penguins' last ten games are against Southeast division opponents, though, so things could shake out a little differently when it's all said and done. And of course, we've got two more Pittsburgh/Washington tilts to watch before the season comes to a close. :)

Downtown said...

Something I found on Pens blog concerning how much caps are helped by playing in South East.

"However, the Capitals are 31-11-9 against the rest of the league, and that projects to a 114-point pace over an 82-game season. To put that in perspective, consider that the Penguins have surpassed that total just once in franchise history, when they put up 119 in 1992-93."


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