Leafs star Matthews a Hart finalist, but McDavid, MacKinnon will be stiff competition

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When the Hart Trophy ballots are counted, it’s very likely Auston Matthews will be saying it was an honour just to be nominated.

While the Maple Leafs’ 41-goal scorer and Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon made the final three as most valuable player to their team in the NHL, the league’s leading scorer and speedy game breaking dynamo Connor McDavid will be the favourite for the award. McDavid registered 105 points, 72 of those assists, to finish atop all scorers in the shortened regular season.

McDavid finished 21 points ahead of runner-up/teammate Leon Draisaitl, who won the Hart last season. The Hart is voted on by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. McDavid, Matthews and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby were the final nominees for the Ted Lindsay Award as the players’ choice for MVP.

Where Matthews had a slight dry spell, also missed a few games with an injury and struggled on the power play, McDavid had at least one point in 45 of 56 games, 33 multi-point outings and had a league high 37 points on the power play. It would be McDavid’s second Hart win.

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MacKinnon, as of Thursday’s announcement the only one of the three still active in playoffs, came eighth in league scoring with 65 points, 26…

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