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The Curse of the NHL MVP

Here's a look at 50-years of Hart Trophy winners, as the NHL's regular season Most Valuable Player, and the trend of playoff success over the years.


There seems to be a clear downward trend in the ability of the NHL's regular season MVP to bring his team deep into the playoffs. Only twice since 1991 has a Hart Trophy winner reached the Stanley Cup final. Both players won the cup; Joe Sakic in 2001 and Martin St. Louis in 2004. Since St. Louis, no Hart Trophy winner has made it out of the second round of the playoffs.

History of NHL Hart Trophy Winners

For people who study the trends of the game, this trend comes as no surprise. Of course there's expansion that continued to decrease the odds of success, and many factors including the salary cap have increased parity and reduced the winning certainty. We can also add the skill paradox which may affect the game of hockey more than any other sport. I wrote about it here in the article Skill Kills: Why the Golden Knights are Winners; NHL Losers.


Interactive Graphic (Hover over elements for more information)


Interactive Graphic (Hover over elements for more information)




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