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Rick Zamperin: Nathan MacKinnon gets my vote for NHL’s Hart Trophy

Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon is among the favourites to win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.
Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon is among the favourites to win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. David Zalubowski/Canadian Press

Hockey fans are going to be in for a real treat over the final three weeks of the NHL’s regular season — and the playoff race isn’t the only reason why.

The fight for first place in the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions are going down to the wire, with six teams vying for the last three playoff spots in the Western Conference.

But team success, or failure in some cases, isn’t the only thing hockey fans — and pundits — are focusing on.

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As the regular season winds down, we begin to look at which players deserve some personal recognition for their exploits on the ice.

Either Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon or Edmonton’s Connor McDavid will win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s points leader.

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The race for the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy (for most goals in a season) is just as tight, with Ovechkin, Winnipeg’s Patrick Laine and Malkin neck-and-neck.

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The Hart Trophy for the league’s MVP is the most hotly contested battle with Kucherov, Malkin and MacKinnon considered the front-runners.

If the Avalanche can hang on to their playoff position in the West, MacKinnon would definitely get my vote — in fact, he already has it.

And if he wins the goal-scoring and/or points race, MacKinnon should win the Hart.