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MVP contenders for the 2022/23 season
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NHL: Five MVP contenders for 2022/23

Voted for by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association the Hart Trophy is awarded to the NHL's most valuable player.

But whose will be on the trophy in 2022/23? Here's five top candidates:

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

The current holder of the Hart Trophy, 24-year-old Matthews is +500 to retain the award in 2022/23. 

Matthews led the NHL for a second season in goals, scoring a sensational 60, the most ever by a Maple Leafs player and most by a United States-born player in a single season. 

The centreman's tally was the most by any player since Steven Stamkos scored 60 for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011/12.

Matthews' goal scoring helped Toronto (54-21-7) to the most wins and points (115) in franchise history and qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a sixth straight season. 

Matthews has scored at least 34 goals in each of his six NHL seasons and now as a two-time finalist he is sure to be challenging for MVP honours again. 

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers 

McDavid was the unanimous winner of the Hart Trophy in the shortened 2021/22 season when he amassed 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in just 56 games. 

He again led the NHL for points last season posting 123 points (44 goals, 79 assists) in 80 games, and came to second to Matthews in the MVP voting. 

Already cemented as one of the best players ever, the 25-year-old is +250 favourite to retain the award in 2022/23.

McDavid has scored over 100 points in the NHL five times, totalling 697 (239 goals, 458 assists) in 487 regular season games.

On his day, the centreman is unstoppable and the worrying thing for opposition defences, is that he keeps getting even better, making him a sure-fire candidate to be among the MVP top contenders again.

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers 

Netminder Shesterkin finished third in voting for the Hart Trophy last season and is +2500 to win the award in 2022/23.

The 26-year-old was the runaway winner of the Vezina Trophy, awarded to be league's best goalie, receiving 29 of 32 first-place votes. 

He led the league in save-percentage (.935), goals-against average (2.07) and goals saved above average (44.9). Astonishingly his save-percentage surpassed each of the 10 previous Vezina winners.

Shesterkin's incredible rise to stardom has come as the Rangers have entered a competitive window, finishing second in the Metropolitan Division (52-24-6) and reaching the Eastern Conference Final. 

If he performs similar heroics again, the Rangers are likely to enjoy another high finish and deep cup run which would again put his name forward for MVP consideration.

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Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche 

With the talent he possesses at just 23-years-old it’d be stunning if defenceman Makar doesn't add the Hart Trophy to his list of honours at some point in his career. 

And given his upward trajectory towards winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the best player in the playoffs last season, his odds of +1400 to win it in 2022/23 appear good value.

Before playing a crucial role in the Avalanche becoming Stanley Cup Champions, Makar enjoyed a career best regular season scoring 86 points (28 goals, 58 assists) in 77 games helping Colorado finish first in the Central Division (56-19-7).

Makar won the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year in 2019/20 and on top of the Conn Smythe last season was named best defenceman and awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy. 

The Hart remains missing, but surely its coming. 

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning 

One of the most dangerous players in the NHL, Kucherov has tended to save his brilliant best for the playoffs, helping the Lightning to three consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances and two championships. 

After having their three-peat dream ended by the Avalanche last season, the Lightning vowed to bounce back and Kucherov above all looked extremely angry about the defeat.

That's bad news for the rest of the league, as the 29-year-old will be out to immediately re-gain the Lightning's tag as top dog.

Tampa has over the past three years, just done enough in the regular season to book their playoff spot. But fuelled by defeat, expect them and Kucherov to return to the dominant form which saw them tie the NHL record for most wins (62) over 82 games. 

That season Kucherov led the league with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists), his career best and a similar campaign again makes him an outside +2000 bet for MVP.

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