AVALANCHE

New poll says Avs superstar Nathan MacKinnon is likely NHL MVP

Feb 7, 2024, 12:02 PM

Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon keeps gaining steam in the race for the NHL MVP.

A new poll released by ESPN on Wednesday has MacKinnon receiving 80 percent of the first-place votes for the Hart Trophy. That’s up from 42 percent last month, when he was also in first over Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.

Greg Wyshynski, a well-known national hockey writer, compiled the results.

“We’ve polled a wide selection of Professional Hockey Writers Association voters anonymously to get a sense of where the wind is blowing for the current leaders,” Wyshynski wrote in the intro to his piece.

While MacKinnon had his 14-game point streak snapped in a tough loss to the Devils on Tuesday night, he’s been absolutely dominant this season. He was the NHL’s first Star of the Month in both December and January. His 85 points are tied with Kucherov for most in the league.

MacKinnon already has two four-goal games this season, registered the Avalanche’s first natural hat trick in more than 20 years and has a point in all 25 home games at Ball Arena. That’s tied for the second longest home point streak to start a season in NHL history, matching Bobby Orr’s mark from 1974-1975. Wayne Gretzky tallied a point in 40 straight home games during the 1988-89 season.

When you’re grouped with names like Orr and Gretzky, it only makes sense to win the Hart Trophy. MacKinnon’s been close several times, including finishing second in 2017-18.

“Like a beast slashing through a monstrous season, MacKinnon is out to win the Hart he should’ve won in 2018,” a MacKinnon voter told Wyshynski.

Elsewhere, Avs stud defenseman Cale Makar finished second in the poll for the Norris Trophy. He currently only trails Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes. Makar won the award in 2022 and has been in the top-3 each of the last three seasons.

While these individual honors would be great, a second Stanley Cup for MacKinnon and Makar would be even better. The Avs are 0-1-1 in the second half of the season, but are still tied for the lead in the Central Division with 68 points.

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