25 Worst award snubs in NHL history: 15. Nathan Mackinnon Hart Trophy 2018
2018 was a strange year for awards. It was a stud year for the Calder Trophy with Mathew Barzal, Charlie McAvoy, Brock Boeser, and Clayton Keller all deserving of first-place votes. Victor Hedman and Drew Doughty went head to head for the Norris Trophy. Pekka Rinne beat out the youngsters Connor Helleybuck and Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Vezina Trophy. The most interesting race was for the Hart Trophy.
The three finalists for the award were the Devils Taylor Hall, the Kings Anze Kopitar, and the Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon. Hall was great for the Devils, but his point streak is really the catalyst for his MVP hype, and the fact that he dragged the Devils to the playoffs only to get beaten in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning is what got him in the conversation in the first place.
However, is the MVP supposed to go to a player that dragged his team, or is it supposed to go to the best player? Nathan MacKinnon was starting to build on a superstar resumé. He also dragged the Colorado Avalanche into the playoffs, and he wasn’t taken the horse to slaughter like Hall was. People might not realize now, but the Avalanche were not expected to make the postseason that year. They had missed for three years in a row.
MacKinnon has become one of the best players in the league, and some might consider him the best player. However, he hasn’t been able to win an MVP since. Now, he’s facing a prime that comes alongside the primes of Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. He might never get that Hart Trophy, and it’s sad he missed out on it in 2018.