John Tavares Nominated For The Hart Trophy

For the first time in a long time, an Islanders skater has been nominated for the NHL's Hart Memorial Trophy, which is annually awarded to the league's most valuable player (Photo credit: theseoduke/Flickr). 

Tavares joins Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby and Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin. Crosby missed the last 12 games of the regular season after suffering a broken jaw, ironically during a game against the New York Islanders. However, he still managed to finish fourth in the league with 56 points.

Ovechkin surprisingly started off the year incredibly slow, but then took fire towards the end of the season, ending 2013 third in the league in points. He is cited as the main reason for why the Capitals were able to clinch their division just before the start of the playoffs. 

Tavares dressed for all 48 games for the Islanders this season and ranked third in the NHL with 28 goals and was one point shy of averaging a point-per-game. He is also only a 22-year old that bears a ton of responsibility as the Islanders go-to-guy on the ice. He has performed as the team's number one center since the day he was drafted and has led his teammates into their first playoff berth in six years. 

Per the Islanders official press release:

TAVARES NAMED HART MEMORIAL TROPHY FINALIST
Islanders leading scorer a top-3 vote getter for NHL MVP

UNIONDALE, NY (May 10, 2013) – The National Hockey League announced today that New York Islanders forward John Tavares is a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player judged most valuable to his team.

The announcement of the winner will take place during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. The NHL will release further details on the date and format at a later date.

Tavares, 22, led the Islanders in scoring for the fourth-straight season, recording 47 points (28g/19a) in 48 games. He finished third in NHL goal scoring with 28 goals, including a league-high 19 even-strength goals and a team leading five game-winning goals.  The Islanders finished 15-6-2 when Tavares scored a goal and 20-7-2 when he recorded a point. He led the team in average TOI (time on ice) per game at 20:46. 

A native of Mississauga, ON, Tavares posted 13 multi-point games this season, including three, three-point efforts and a four-point game (three goals, one assist) on February 16 against the New Jersey Devils. 

The NHL must have heard the loud fans from the Nassau Coliseum, as "MVP" chants have continued to fill the arena throughout each Islanders home game in their current series against the Penguins. 

They are sure to be chanting just as loud tomorrow night when the Islanders host the Penguins for game six and look to force the series into a seventh game. 

-Rob McGowan
F