AVALANCHE

NHL writers project Avs star Nathan MacKinnon to win his first MVP

Jan 19, 2024, 11:34 AM

Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon is having a phenomenal season.

It might result in his first Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s MVP.

In a poll of league writers released on Friday morning, MacKinnon received the most votes and points, projecting to take home the honor a little past the season’s halfway point.

Out of 14 people who casted ballots, MacKinnon received eight first-place votes and 60 total points. Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov was second with three first-place votes and 48 total points. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid came in third, with one first-place vote and 33 points.

MacKinnon has been a Hart Trophy finalist three times in his career, but has never been given the award. He finished second in the 2017-18 season as well as well as the 2019-20 season. He was third in the 2020-21 season. Recently named to his seventh straight All-Star Game, MacKinnon is on absolute fire.

His point streak to start a season at home has reached 23 straight games, tying Joe Sakic for the all-time lead in franchise history. Only Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky have longer streaks in NHL history, arguably the two best players to ever lace up their skates.

On the season, MacKinnon has 73 points, trailing Kucherov by just two for the league lead. He’s tallied 24 goals and 49 assists. That helper number is tops in the NHL.

The Avalanche have a 29-14-3 record, just one point back in the Central Division behind the Jets and three points back of the Canucks for the Western Conference lead.

The team has suffered several key injuries, and is missing Valeri Nichushkin as he’s in the Players Assistance Program. But MacKinnon shows up on a nightly basis, and the NHL’s writers are taking notice.

It could lead to his first MVP later this spring.

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