What Is the NHL Hart Memorial Trophy

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The NHL Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award for the regular season’s most valuable player (MVP).

Originally, the award was named the “Hart Trophy”, but the league retired the Hart Trophy in 1960. That’s when the new “Hart Memorial Trophy” was awarded to the NHL’s regular season MVP. The Hart Trophy was donated by Dr. David A. Hart in 1924 and the first winner was Frank Nighbor (Ottawa Senators).

The NHL Hart Memorial Trophy has been awarded 99 times (61 different players) since its inception.

Who Votes on the Hart Memorial Trophy

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) vote on the Hart Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the NHL regular season. After the voting is completed, three finalists are announced. The winner is announced at the annual NHL Awards ceremony after the NHL playoffs are finished.

Here’s how the voting process works for the NHL Hart Memorial Trophy:

  • Voters need to rank their top five candidates using a point system.
  • The point system is 10 (1st), 7 (2nd), 5 (3rd), 3 (4th) and 1 (5th).
  • Point totals are accumulated. The three players with the highest point totals are finalists.
  • The player with the most points wins the NHL regular season MVP award.

Hart Memorial Trophy Trends and Interesting Facts

We’re going to analyze some of the historical and more recent Hart Memorial trends. We’ll also discuss some of the interesting facts about the NHL MVP award, which will help ice hockey bettors.

  • Wayne Gretzky has won the Hart Memorial Trophy a record nine times. Gretzky also holds the record for winning the most consecutive Hart Memorial Trophies at eight.
  • Gretzky and Mark Messier are the only players to win the award with more than one team.
  • Joe Thornton is the only player that played for two teams during his winning season (2005-06).
  • There have only been two unanimous Hart Memorial Trophy winners in history. Gretzky won unanimously in 1981-82 and Connor McDavid won unanimously in 2020-21.
  • In 2001-02, Jose Theodore and Jarome Iginla were tied in total points after the vote. Theodore won the award that season, as he won the tiebreaker, which was the most first place votes. He had four more first place votes (86 vs. 82). This was the closest vote in the award’s history.
  • Every eligible Hart Memorial Trophy winner has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame except for three players (Tommy Anderson, Al Rollins and Jose Theodore).
  • The Montreal Canadiens have had the most NHL MVP winners (17). The Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers are tied for second place, with 13 NHL MVP winners.
  • The center position has dominated this award, winning 53/99 times (53.5%). The breakdown for the other positions are right wing (18), left wing (13), goalie (8) and defensemen (7).
  • Alex Ovechkin is the last player to win the award in back-to-back seasons (2007-08 / 2008-09).
  • Martin St. Louis is the last player to win the award and Cup in the same season (2003-04).
  • Mario Lemieux is the last player to win the award and not make the NHL playoffs (1987-88). This has only happened four times in history, so target players that’ll make the playoffs.
  • Carey Price is the last goalie to win the award (2014-15). Only seven goalies have won the award in history and the only goalie to win multiple Hart Trophies is Dominik Hasek.
  • Chris Pronger is the last defenseman to win the award (1999-00). Only eight defensemen have won the award. Eddie Shore won four times between 1932-33 and 1937-38. Bobby Orr won the award in three consecutive seasons (1969-70, 1970-71 and 1971-72).

NHL Hart Memorial Trophy Winners

Here are the most recent NHL Hart Memorial Trophy winners:

  • 2023: Connor McDavid / Edmonton Oilers / Center (+300)
  • 2022: Auston Matthews / Toronto Maple Leafs / Center (+900)
  • 2021: Connor McDavid / Edmonton Oilers / Center (+600)
  • 2020: Leon Draisaitl / Edmonton Oilers / Center (+4000)
  • 2019: Nikita Kucherov / Tampa Bay Lightning / Right Wing (+1500)
  • 2018: Taylor Hall / New Jersey Devils / Left Wing (NA)
  • 2017: Connor McDavid / Edmonton Oilers / Center (+600)
  • 2016: Patrick Kane / Chicago Blackhawks / Right Wing (NA)
  • 2015: Carey Price / Montreal Canadiens / Goalie (+5000)
  • 2014: Sidney Crosby / Pittsburgh Penguins / Center (+300)
  • 2013: Alex Ovechkin / Washington Capitals / Right Wing (+1350)
  • 2012: Evgeni Malkin / Pittsburgh Penguins / Center (+1200)
  • 2011: Corey Perry / Anaheim Ducks / Right Wing (NA)
  • 2010: Henrik Sedin / Vancouver Canucks / Center (NA)

*Hart Memorial Trophy winner odds listed in brackets (NA = not available).

Centers have won the award in four consecutive seasons and eight of the last 14 seasons. When betting on the Hart Memorial Trophy, you want to target forwards that score a lot of goals and assists.

The winner of the award has led the league in goals and or points in every season except for two (Carey Price in 2014-15 and Taylor Hall in 2017-18) since the 2005-05 NHL lockout. Target players that can lead the NHL in scoring and you’ll have a better chance at predicting the winner annually.

Hart Memorial Trophy
Connor McDavis 3 time winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy

How to Bet on the NHL Hart Memorial Trophy

There’s an NHL futures betting market for the Hart Memorial Trophy. During the offseason, sportsbooks will release Hart Trophy odds and those odds will be updated throughout the season.

Ice hockey bettors can wager on the market at any time before the season or throughout most of the NHL regular season. However, the odds will begin to shorten once the top contenders emerge.

In order to get the best Hart Trophy odds for your wager, you want to bet early. Ideally, you’ll place your bet before the season starts, but following the market throughout the season can also be profitable. You won’t get as big of a payout betting later in the season, but profit is profit if you can identify the winner.

You can check out our 2024 Hart Trophy predictions and odds by clicking the link.

NHL Hart Memorial Trophy FAQ

What is the criteria for the Hart Trophy?

The NHL Hart Trophy Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player deemed most valuable on his team.

Who is the youngest NHL Hart Memorial Trophy winner?

Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby both won the NHL Hart Memorial Trophy at the age of 19.

How many players have won the Hart Memorial Trophy?

The award has been won 99 times, but only 61 players have won the Hart Memorial Trophy.

Has there ever been a unanimous Hart Trophy winner?

Yes. Gretzky (1981-82) and McDavid (2020-21) have been unanimous Hart Trophy winners.

Who has won the most Hart Memorial trophies?

Gretzky has won the most Hart Memorial trophies (9).