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MVP So Far This Season

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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Down River Dan's avatar

Hmmmm MVP so far ??????........Howard…....anyone??........Howard   .....just saying.

Posted by Down River Dan on 12/14/11 at 05:57 PM ET


“If we look to the goaltenders, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins has been the best”

But best Goal Tender has two awards already. I don’t see how Thomas can be an MVP candidate at this point with Rask playing so well and no real history of playing 70+ games. As noted (above) Howard or Lundqvist are likely better choices since at this point its clear Detroit and the Rangers are clearly dependent on one goal tender each.

Weber’s problem is while you right his numbers are impressive they are only a fraction above Suter’s

Posted by paulklos on 12/14/11 at 06:14 PM ET


I hear you dan. Look at the wings with howard and with conklin.
Amazing difference.

Posted by teldar on 12/14/11 at 06:14 PM ET

Gary A$$ SUCK !!'s avatar

Howard or Henrik Lundqvist !!

Posted by Gary A$$ SUCK !! from Fort Myers, Florida on 12/14/11 at 09:07 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Too many of these comments seem to fall for the box of rocks fallacy.  Lets say we have two boxes.  One contains a $10 million diamond and a bunch of other lesser diamonds each worth a few million.  Another box contains a $1 million diamond and a bunch of gravel.

The people here would want to give the $1 million diamond the most valuable diamond award, when it is far less valuable than the diamonds in the other box.

That is why we don’t care if Tuukka Rask is a good goalie when saying Tim Thomas is the most valuable goalie or Ryan Suter is a good defenceman when saying Shea Weber is the most valuable defenceman (or player for that matter).

My question to the Howard boosters here, do you seriously think he has been the most valuable player on the Red Wings?  It looks like Nicklas Lidstrom is the team’s MVP to me.  Convince me Howard has outplayed Lidstrom.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/14/11 at 10:28 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

convince me that chara is not the bruins mvp?

and when you rattle off thomas’ stats as part of your argument to the contrary, I will suggest you compare howards’ & thomas’ stats and try and make your case that Thomas is the MVP. Which is kind of where we started this whole thing?

Posted by Down River Dan on 12/15/11 at 12:11 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

convince me that chara is not the bruins mvp?

It is reasonable to argue that Chara has been the Bruins MVP - i think that is a more reasonable argument than Hoawrd being the wings MVP, I would argue Chara has been the second best defenceman this season so far.  I think Thomas is a slightly better pick.  His numbers have been even better than they were last year and last year was a historic season for a goaltender where the best saves percentage in the history of that stat being kept.

As for a comparison of Thomas and Howard, the least team dominated goalie stat is saves percentage.  Thomas is at .938 and Howard is at .932.  That is the main statistical reason that Thomas has been better.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/15/11 at 01:07 AM ET


The problem with Thomas is there are two awards for Best Goal Tender and the Pearson/Lindsay for best player in the League. The Hart is most valuable to his team.

Right now Rask is playing as good as Thomas, if Thomas goes AWOL for 4 or 6 weeks there is no reason to think Boston will suffer as a team. If Thomas plays 65 or 70 games I would change my mind - but I simply don’t think a player who has only recently played ~45-55 per year for his team can be an MVP on the Hart criteria no matter how good if that is what ends up with again.

I pointed to Howard because right now its clear Detroit has no alternative in goal. Howard is also clearly one of credible bu relatively equal Vesna alternatives to Thomas at this points (20+ games - with a top slate of stats) - simply compare Detroit with and without Howard. In the same line of Reasoning I’d argue Rinne deserves more consideration since he is on a pace for well over 70 games.

Posted by paulklos on 12/15/11 at 06:11 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Your argument rfor Howard over Thomas is the box of rocks fallacy.  Thomas has a good backup in Rask.  Howard has a worse one in Conklin.  Both statements say nothing about how good Howard or Thomas is playing. 

The MVP should go to the player who is worth the most wins to his team.  I argue that is Shea Weber.  I will also argue (but it is unrelated) that Thomas is worth more wins than Howard.  The number of wins a player is worth is not related to how good or bad his teammates might be.  It is the number of wins a player produces by his play.

In principle a goalie who plays 70 or more games has an opportunity to be worth more wins than Thomas is Thomas only plays 50 something games, despite producing worse overall numbers.  I would argue that no goalie is currently on pace to do this.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/15/11 at 07:04 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

My question to the Howard boosters here, do you seriously think he has been the most valuable player on the Red Wings?

Yes. And I don’t think its a close race. Although Lidstrom is having a good quarter and Filppula is having a career year so far, Jimmy has generally been the one constant on an otherwise streaky team.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 12/16/11 at 02:39 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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