by PuckStopsHere on 12/14/11 at 04:41 PM ET
A week ago I picked Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks as the Hart Trophy leader. Toews hasn’t scored in the past week and has slipped to eighth in the NHL scoring race.
We can look at the NHL scoring race for other candidates. Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been at or near the lead of the scoring race since the beginning of the season, but he isn’t so strong defensively and could be beaten for a more well-rounded player. Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers is the current top scorer in the league and is also out with a concussion.
If we look to the goaltenders, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins has been the best but he gets about a third of the games off since his backup Tuukka Rask is also an outstanding goalie.
When we look at defencemen, Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators has been the best. He is second on his team in scoring with 21 points and has a +14 +/- rating which leads his team. He plays a strong defensive game to go with those offensive numbers. Weber plays against the toughest quality of opposition of all Nashville defencemen. I think Shea Weber is the current MVP so far this season.
Only three defencemen have ever won the Hart Trophy in history in Eddie Shore, Bobby Orr and Chris Pronger, so it would be extraordinary if Weber won the MVP. There is a lot of season to go and a lot can happen between now and season’s end, but Shea Weber has been very valuable to his Nashville team and has been the most valuable player in the league so far this year.
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