Matthews shockingly snubbed for major award after 69-goal season

Mike Armenti
May 7, 2024  (1:41 PM)

Auston Matthews
Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today Sports

For most of the second half of the 2023-24 season, Auston Matthews seemed like a shoo-in to be a finalist for the Hart Trophy. Unfortunately, he has been snubbed. On Tuesday morning, fans were surprised to see the 3 finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy listed as Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid.

The Hart Memorial Trophy is an NHL award voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association for the league's most outstanding player. Unfortunately, in a year with so many outstanding players, it made the PHWA's job that much more challenging.

Was the PHWA justified in excluding Auston Matthews as a finalist for the Hart Trophy?

There's no question that this year, perhaps more so than in any other season, we had way too many viable candidates and there were multiple fanbases who were going to be unhappy regardless. However, I'm not sure that excluding the player who scored the most goals in a season since Mario Lemieux in 1996 as a finalist for the award was the right call.
Matthews did something that nobody thought possible in the salary cap era, and had he succeeded in hitting 70 goals, there's a strong belief that he'd have been a finalist for the Hart Trophy. However, the difference between being a 69-goal scorer and a 70-goal scorer is entirely miniscule. Also, when you factor in that Auston Matthews hit more posts and crossbar's than any NHL player this season, it's easy to see why he should have been up for League MVP this season. The guy could have had 80 goals with a little puck luck.
Fortunately for Matthews, he will be taking home some hardware anyway, as the league's leading goal scorer, winning his 3rd Rocket Richard Trophy in 4 seasons. He's also up for the Lady Byng Trophy and the Frank J. Selke Trophy as well.
7 MAI   |   676 ANSWERS
Matthews shockingly snubbed for major award after 69-goal season

Did Matthews deserve to be a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy?

Yes, we may not see a 69-goal season again46068 %
No, the others were more deserving21632 %
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