I’d like to give a heartfelt congratulations to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, who was recently named the 2022 Hart Trophy winner. It could be easy to think that it was inevitable for Matthews to win a Hart Trophy, but there have been many outstanding players through the years who were never able to achieve that award. Starting in 1990, here is a look at the top five players to never win the Hart Trophy.
Auston Matthews is your 2022 NHL MVP 🏆
Matthews is the first player of Mexican descent to win the award pic.twitter.com/sk7BqGs9a7
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 22, 2022
Top 5 Players to Never Win the Hart Trophy
5. Teemu Selanne
From the time he entered the NHL until he retired at the age of 44, only Jaromir Jagr scored more points than Teemu Selanne. The Finnish Flash scored 40+ goals seven times, including 76 goals in his rookie season. During his career, he won the Calder Trophy, the Rocket Richard Trophy, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, and the Stanley Cup in 2007 as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.
Selanne played in 10 NHL all-star games and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017. He retired with 1,457 points in 1,451 regular-season games and 88 points in 130 playoff games. Despite these accomplishments, Selanne never won the Hart Trophy. He received Hart votes seven times but was only nominated once, in 1998 (52-34-86, first in the league in goals per game).
4. Jarome Iginla
Jarome Iginla was a model of goal-scoring consistency during his career, scoring at least 25 goals in 16 of his 20 NHL seasons. Along with being the Calgary Flames’ longest-serving captain, he also won seven major NHL awards including two Rocket Richard Trophies and an Art Ross Trophy in 2002. He was an NHL First-Team All-Star three times and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020.
Iginla got close to winning a Hart Trophy, being nominated three times (2002, 2004, and 2008). His closest to winning was in 2002 when he led the league in goals and points (52-44-96), but he was narrowly beaten out by goalie Jose Theodore. They both received the same percentage of total vote points, but because Theodore have more first-place votes, he received the trophy.
3. Steve Yzerman
Steve Yzerman’s greatest individual seasons were arguably in the late 80s, but he still put up 336 goals and 870 points in 742 games during the 1990s (the fifth most points during that decade). He served as captain of the Detroit Red Wings from when he was 21 until he retired at 41, leading the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups during that time. He also won five major awards, including the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1998 and the Selke Trophy in 2000.
Yzerman retired with the seventh-most points in NHL history and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. He was never nominated for the Hart Trophy after 1990 (and only once before it), though he did receive Hart Trophy votes eight different times. The closest he came to winning after 1990 was in 1992 (45-58-103) when he came in seventh in voting.
2. Nicklas Lidström
Widely considered to be one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Nicklas Lidström played 20 seasons in the NHL, all for the Detroit Red Wings. He is sixth all-time in regular-season scoring for defensemen and is second all-time in playoff scoring for defensemen. He was a ten-time First-Team NHL All-Star, a seven-time Norris Trophy winner (second-most all-time), and a four-time Stanley Cup winner.
Lidstrom also won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the 2002 playoffs, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015. Despite all of these accolades, He was never even nominated for the Hart Trophy. The most votes he received for the award was in 2008 (10-60-70) when he came in fourth with 18.36% of total vote points.
1. Martin Brodeur
Martin Brodeur is arguably the best NHL goalie to ever put on skates, and it is an absolute travesty that he never won a Hart Trophy during his career. He had eight 40+ win seasons, won the Vezina Trophy four times, and won Stanley Cup three times as a member of the New Jersey Devils. He is first all-time in NHL wins, shutouts, games played, and goals (yes, you read that right). He was so good at handling the puck that the NHL had to invent a new rule to limit where goalies were allowed to touch it.
Brodeur received Hart Trophy votes 12 times and was nominated 3 times, but he never placed higher than third in the voting. The closest he came to winning was in 2007 (48W, 2.18, 0.922) when he received 53.36% of the total vote points.
What do you think? Are there any other notable players since 1990 who you think should have won the Hart Trophy? Leave a comment below to have your voice heard.