by PuckStopsHere on 01/23/12 at 09:48 AM ET
At the beginning of January I picked Steve Stamkos as the leader in the MVP race. Stamkos remains the goal scoring leader in the NHL but with Evgeni Malkin taking a significant point lead with fewer games played, it is clear that Malkin should be the MVP.
Malkin has 58 points in 41 games played. This gives him a three point lead over Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, who is second in the league. Malkin also leads his Penguin team with a +12 +/- rating.
In 2009, it was common to think of a “big three” group of NHL players who are the class of the NHL. This group consisted of Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Malkin. Since then Malkin has had two injury plagued seasons and most people have dropped him from that group.
This season the pendulum has swung in Malkin’s direction. Sidney Crosby has been limited to eight games played due to concussion problems. Ovechkin is struggling to play up to his expectations. He has only 39 points in 47 games this season. It is Malkin who leads the league in scoring and is the leader in the MVP race. Perhaps he will be the one of the “big three’ who has the longest staying power. Thus far he has been the least successful of the three as he has not won an MVP (at least not yet).
Evgeni Malkin is having a strong season and is in the lead in the 2012 MVP race. This is a bit of a comeback after two injury filled years where he was no longer ranked in the top group of NHL players. It looks like Malkin is back on that level.
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