Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 11/19/14

UNIONDALE, NY - NOVEMBER 27: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scores a first period goal against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on November 27, 2009 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Every other week, we’ll bring you an updated look at the candidates for the major awards around the NHL…

Tracker archive:
Nov. 17
Dec. 2
Dec. 16
Dec. 30
Jan. 15
Jan. 27
Feb. 12
Feb. 26

1. Evgeni Malkin, PIT
Stats: 59 GP, 38 G, 43 A, 81 Pts, +11
Malkin feels like the heavy favorite for the MVP with his tremendous season. In speaking with some Hart Trophy voters, he’s the unanimous choice for the award. Without Sidney Crosby in the lineup, Malkin has elevated his game to new heights – or old heights, if you think back to the 2009 postseason. Malkin is on pace for a career-high 48 goals on a line that has been dominant in this season’s second half. Are the Penguins holding first-round home-ice advantage without ‘Geno? Hell no.
2. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
Stats: 31-13-5, 1.84 GAA, .937 SV%, 8 SO
At this time of year, we always debate whether goalies should be included in the Hart Trophy discussion. Since they have their own award, goaltenders usually do not get the benefit of the doubt. But if one goalie could break through for the first time since 2002, it’s Lundqvist. When you consider the market he plays in, his team’s success and his career year between the pipes, ‘King Henrik’ is a serious MVP candidate.
3. Steven Stamkos, TB
Stats: 67 GP, 48 G, 34 A, 82 Pts, +5
The prerequisite question everyone asks about an MVP candidate is ‘Where would his team be without him?’ Where would the Lightning be without Stamkos? Gearing up for a top-three draft selection. Stamkos is the lone reason why his team is suddenly within striking distance of a playoff spot. Not only is he in the Art Ross race, a 60-goal campaign isn’t out of the question for Stamkos, who already has this year’s Rocket Richard Trophy on his mantle. Since the All-Star break Stamkos has 16 goals and 29 points in 18 games.

1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
Stats: 31-13-5, 1.84 GAA, .937 SV%, 8 SO
As we head into the final weeks of the season, Lundqvist has emerged as the man to beat for the Vezina. His season-long consistency has been amazing, especially coming off the month of February in which he posted an 8-2-0 record with a 1.29 GAA and .951 save percentage. Sensational. Lundqvist has had a bump in the road here in March, but it would have to take a really bad final quarter of the season for him not to win the Vezina.
2. Jonathan Quick, LA
Stats: 27-18-11, 1.96 GAA, .931 SV%, 7 SO
Quick, who also deserves MVP consideration, continues to rise in the Vezina race. Quick has been the catalyst for a Kings team that (a) has been inconsistent all season and (b) has had a hard time scoring goals. On most nights, Quick has had to keep the opposition to one or zero goals just to give the Kings a chance to win. He is ranked in the top three in the following categories – shutouts (T-1st), GAA (3rd) and save percentage (3rd).
3. Pekka Rinne, NSH
Stats: 37-14-7, 2.36 GAA, .925 SV%, 4 SO
Despite a bumpy start to the season, Rinne finds himself in the Vezina conversation for the second year in a row. Rinne’s peripherals are a slight step down from Lundqvist and Quick, but he leads the league in wins and has put the Predators on his back more nights than not. His stat-line since Dec. 8: 27-5-3, 2.20 GAA, .927 save percentage.

1. Erik Karlsson, OTT
Stats: 68 GP, 16 G, 51 A, 67 Pts, +14
Would the upstart Senators be in playoff contention without Karlsson? Probably not. There isn’t much offensive depth for the Sens to begin with, so Karlsson’s league-leading production from the back end (51 assists, 67 points) has been crucial. The 21-year-old is remarkably tied for sixth in the entire NHL in points and is on pace for 79 points. In short, he has been Ottawa’s MVP and is the ‘sexy’ pick for the Norris right now.
2. Shea Weber, NSH
Stats: 63 GP, 14 G, 27 A, 41 Pts, +19
There isn’t much separating the top three (or top seven, for that matter), but Weber means everything to the Preds and is unquestionably one of the best blue-liners in the NHL. He is second on the Preds in points (41), first in plus/minus (+19) and is a big reason why the power play is one of the best in the league. He has frequently had Norris-like performances this season.
3. Zdeno Chara, BOS
Stats: 64 GP, 9 G, 31 A, 40 Pts, +27
Though Chara has lost some ground in the Norris race in the second half, he has been really good of late. In his last nine games, ‘Big Z’ boasts a plus-9 rating with eight points. The Bruins captain is always in this discussion and has been invaluable to the Bruins’ success in recent years. 2011-12 is no different.

1. Gabriel Landeskog, COL
Stats: 69 GP, 18 G, 25 A, 43 Pts, +19
With 13 points in his last 11 games, Landeskog is knocking on the door for the rookie scoring race. The No. 2 overall pick from last summer is raising eyebrows around the league. His all-around play has been impressive for his age, yet something that most scouts expected coming out of the draft. His plus-19 rating is tied for the rookie lead – impressive considering the Avalanche boasting a minus-5 goal differential as a team.
2. Adam Henrique, NJ
Stats: 59 GP, 15 G, 30 A, 45 Pts, +10
To say Henrique has been a pleasant surprise in New Jersey would be an understatement. Henrique is fourth on the Devils in points and was a point-per-game player since the start of November before a drop-off. He may not have the flashiness like other rookies, but he does lead all rookies in points.
3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM
Stats: 47 GP, 15 G, 25 A, 40 Pts, -7
This was a no-brainer before twice going down with a shoulder injury. ‘RNH’ now has company in the Calder race and has some catching up to do. The top overall pick from this past summer exceeded expectations through the first half, and at times has looked better than other recent No. 1 picks in their rookie seasons.

1. Ken Hitchcock, STL
Record: 43-18-7, 1st Western Conference
The before and after results of Hitchcock’s arrival in St. Louis is staggering. When Davis Payne was fired, the Blues were 6-7-0; since Hitchcock stepped behind the bench they are 37-11-7. Hitchcock has given the Blues the proper wake-up call, and they are now leading the entire NHL with 93 points. If this success keeps up, he has to be Jack Adams favorite.
2. John Tortorella, NYR
Record: 42-17-7, 1st Eastern Conference
One of the season’s biggest surprises has been the New York Rangers. Aside from the Brad Richards signing, there isn’t much difference between this year’s Rangers and last year’s version. But Tortorella is pushing all of the right buttons as his team leads the Eastern Conference with 91 points (a franchise-record 113-point pace).
3. Barry Trotz, NSH
Record: 39-21-7, 5th Western Conference
Trotz is doing it again. The Predators aren’t just competing for a playoff spot, though, as they are on a mission to hunt down first-round home-ice advantage. Trotz’s gang is 27-10-3 since Dec. 8 (a season-defining comeback in Columbus), as they continue to surge in the West. The Preds have faced adversity a few times this season, but Trotz has kept the team going in the right direction.

*Stats through Thursday, March 8th
Photo credit: Getty Images
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Pats employee taking footballs into bathroom on video

Greg Anthony caught offering $80 to undercover officer for sex

Robert Kraft wants apology from NFL if nothing found

NFL may be very close to returning to Los Angeles

Report: Kobe definitely returning next season


Report: Yankees don't want to pay A-Rod home run bonuses

Browner wants Patriots to injure Sherman, Thomas

Report: Rams, other teams interested in Nick Foles

Tom Brady: 'My feelings got hurt' in Deflategate controversy

Odell Beckham Jr. says he played with two hamstring tears

Pete Carroll empathizes with Belichick, Pats in Deflategate

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early B1G predictions for 2015

Remembering Ernie Banks

Allenby rang up $3,400 strip club bill on night of 'kidnapping'

Brady's dad: QB's relationship with Pats 'will end badly'

WATCH: Skittles Super Bowl commercial looks ridiculous

The five best Super Bowl defenses of all time

Mark Brunell explains why he got emotional over Deflategate

NFL was profiting off Marshawn Lynch's crotch grab

NFL finally getting its own YouTube channel

20 most amazing stats in Super Bowl history

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early Big Ten predictions for 2015

Remembering Ernie Banks

Pats employee took footballs into restroom?

Report: Kobe not retiring

More questions about Allenby's story

Yanks don't want to pay A-Rod bonuses

Looking back at Super Bowls 1-48

Super Bowl MVPs through the years

The five best Super Bowl defenses

Burnell explains why he got emotional

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.