Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Henrik Lundqvist are your 2012 Hart Trophy finalists, the NHL announced today.
The first two were locks. Malkin scored 50 goals for Pittsburgh and led the league in points with 109, 12 more than the next highest scorer.
The next highest scorer was Stamkos, but he had 60 goals for Tampa Bay, the most in the league by a wide margin.
The Rangers’ Lundqvist will raise a few eyebrows because of the position he plays. The last time a goalie won the Hart was 2002, when Jose Theodore was honored.
Since then, it’s been a combination of Art Ross Trophy (most points) and Rocket Richard Trophy (most goals) winners.
The favorite has to be Malkin. Over Stamkos because the Penguins made the playoffs and the Lightning didn’t. Over Lundqvist because there are those who believe the King wasn’t even the best goalie in the NHL this season.
Snubs include Claude Giroux and Zdeno Chara.