Ranking the top 5 worst Hart Trophy winners in NHL history

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Mark Messier #11 of the New York Rangers (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Every year, fans yell about who should be the NHL MVP. So let’s look at the worst Hart Trophy winners of all-time.

Each season, the NHL awards the Hart Trophy to its MVP. Officially, it goes to the player “adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”, but that’s just a fancy way of saying “most valuable player”.

Naturally, fans have debates every single year about who should win the Hart Trophy because “valuable” is such a subjective thing. This has led to some really questionable winners. But everyone can agree these five winners were simply not the right choice.

Let’s set some boundaries. Only the modern era (post-1967) counts. There were a ton of shenanigans going on before then and honestly, the publicly available data from before the 1960’s is sketchy at best. The data available post-1967 is far more reliable. For fun, I’ll cynically guess why each player won the Hart Trophy over at least one more deserving candidate.

There’s a good chance I’ll be insulting one of your favorite team’s players in this article, so feel free to direct your disagreements (or agreements) to the comment section. Without further ado, here are the five worst Hart Trophy winners of all-time.

5. Mark Messier (1991-92)

Mark Messier won two Hart Trophies in his NHL career. The first one came in 1989, when he narrowly beat out defenseman Ray Bourque. That one was well deserved. His second one, though, should raise a few eyebrows.

Messier won the Hart Trophy in 1992 in a landslide, finishing with all but two of the 69 (nice) first place votes.

Who should have won: Brett Hull should have won the Hart Trophy. He was single-handedly responsible for nearly 40% of the St. Louis Blues offense. Hull had 70 goals (!!!) and 109 points. The Blues scored 279 goals the whole season. Hull scored 25% of the Blues goals himself and had a point in a shade under 40% of them. He was also the reigning MVP. Meanwhile, Messier accounted for just over 10% of his team’s goals and had a point in 33% of his team’s goals.

Why Messier won: Because apparently it was OK for the best player on a team that finished in first place to win the Hart Trophy in 1992. Even if there was a more deserving candidate who pretty much dragged his team kicking and screaming into the postseason.

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