5 players who should be serious Hart Trophy candidates but won’t

The NHL will be rewarding the Hart Trophy soon, and there are a few players who should be considered but most likely won’t get many, if any, votes.
Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers
Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Charlie Lindgren, Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals shouldn’t be anywhere near the playoffs in the final week of what has been a strange 2023-24 season for the Eastern Conference. Many fans will point to Alex Ovechkin’s late-season resurgence, and they have every right to. But let’s instead point to the netminder who kept this team in games so they could sneak away with just enough wins to at least put them in a position to qualify for the playoffs. 

As I write this, the Capitals are heading into their final game of the season vs. the Philadelphia Flyers, and they are sporting a minus-38 in the goals scored vs. goals allowed ratio. Their 218 goals through 81 games put them at 28th in the league, and their 1B/backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s numbers are nowhere near Lindgren’s. 

Kuemper doesn’t even have a winning record, while Lindgren is 24-16-7 with a 0.910 save percentage, a 2.71 GAA, six shutouts, and just four goals allowed above expected at even strength. 

There is nobody else in the NHL even remotely more suited to be an unprecedented candidate for the Hart this season. Lindgren probably won’t even get a vote for the award, but you can argue few have been more valuable to their very average team by giving them a chance to play postseason hockey. 


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)