Patrick Kane has been the MVP of the Chicago Blackhawks this season, hands down. The team would not be currently in a playoff position without him driving the ship offensively. He’s had help, especially in net from both Kevin Lankinen and Malcolm Subban this season, but he’s playing at a career-best pace while dragging the Blackhawks from the depths on the NHL.
And now he’s getting some official, national attention for it:
— NHL (@NHL) March 19, 2021
Kane is currently third in the NHL in points (42), trailing Leon Draistail (49) and Connor McDavid (56). He also ranks in the top-five of the league for assists (30), points per game (1.35), even-strength points (28), and ice-time per game (21:59) among forwards. All good enough for the writers over at NHL.com to vote Kane the Hart Trophy favorite at the mid-way point of the season over McDavid and Auston Matthews.
Here’s how the 5-4-3-2-1 points voting system broke down amongst the 17 writers:
• Patrick Kane (10 first-place votes) – 74 points
• Connor McDavid 6 first-place votes) – 65 points
• Austin Matthews – 28 points
• Anze Kopitar – 26 points
• Victor Hedman – 12 points
• Marc-Andre Fleury – 11 points
• Mark Scheifele – 10 points
• Andrei Vasilevskiy (1 first-place vote) – 9 points
• Leon Draisaitl – 8 points
• Mitch Marner – 3 points
• Kirill Kaprizov – 3 points
• Aleksander Barkov – 2 points
• Jonathan Huberdeau – 2 points
• Niklas Backstrom – 1 point
• Brad Marchand – 1 point
While Kane’s numbers are impressive on their own, it’s even more impressive when you remember he’s done this all this season without having Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach playing. He’s been paired most often alongside Alex DeBrincat, who is having a resurgent year and becoming like Kane’s old buddy Artemi Panarin from Kane’s 2015-16 Hart Trophy season. Kane has had to play with centers like Philipp Kurashev (a rookie), Pius Suter (also a rookie), and recently David Kämpf (not a No. 1 center) this season.
If he continues this pace and the Blackhawks are able to find their way into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Kane wins the Hart Trophy in 2021, truly as the MOST VALUABLE player to his team. This is why I always say that professional leagues should designate a most valuable player award and a most outstanding player award. Most times they are the same player, but in a season like this in the NHL when Connor McDavid might score 100 points in 56 games, Kane may still mean more to his team.