by PuckStopsHere on 01/30/13 at 01:25 AM ET
I have been interested in trying to establish when the NHL award winners take over the lead in their award during the course of the season for many years. As a result, I have made picks for the NHL awards as soon as I can in the season and re-assessed those picks when necessary - in some cases many times in a season and in other cases that player held the lead for the award the whole season. In a shortened season it is logical that the end of season award winners will establish themselves earlier in the season.
Before the weekend my first MVP pick was Tomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. In the comments, Fugazi suggested Patrick Marleau who was still playing his fourth game of the season as my post was written. It is clear now that Marleau is the best MVP pick so far this year. He leads the NHL with nine goals (the second place players have 5 - hence he has almost twice the goals of anyone else in the league). He is tied for the point lead with 13 points. His +6 +/- rating is tied for the league lead among forwards.
Marleau has been established as an all-star calibre player in the NHL for several years. At age 33, conventional wisdom was that his best years are likely done. His career best point total of 86 occurred in 2006. His start to the season has been better than one would have expected. He likely will not keep it up. The question is whether or not he will be able to ride his fast start to a complete season and wind up a serious MVP candidate.
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