NHL awards watch: Rocket Richard Trophy leaders as season winds down

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 16: Alex Ovechkin /

The NHL season is coming to a close but there is a tight race going to see which player will take home the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner and there is a familiar face atop the leaderboard for the most goals scored. Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin has taken the crown in four of the past five seasons and is sitting at 40 right now. He is arguably the best pure goal-scorer of this generation and would certainly be the favorite at this point. However, there is a young gun tied at 40 goals and that’s Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine.

One of the reasons the Jets are second in the Central Division is because of the 19-year-old’s proficiency at finding the back of the net. The Jets hit a home run with that draft pick and it’s going to be very interesting to see if the grizzled vet or the second year young gun can take home the crown. They’re not alone in the race as three players are within four goals of the lead.

Pittsburgh Penguins star center Evgeni Malkin is a mere two goals behind and has been averaging 1.77 points a game since January 1st. He’s likely been the best overall player in the league the past two months and will look to ride the wave to the goal-scoring title.

Minnesota Wild star Eric Staal is enjoying a renaissance season and has found the back of the net 37 times. Some would consider him the odd man out in the equation but stranger things have happened. Rounding out the top five is Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin with 36 goals. Being behind by four goals might seem impossible to make up at this point of the season. However, Seguin is as gifted as they come. He could get hot in an instant.

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The Rocket Richard trophy is one of the trophies in sports that isn’t subjective, making it a little harder to capture. You either score the most goals in the NHL or you don’t. The black and white nature of it makes it fun to root for down the stretch, especially if your favorite player is in the race. Even if they aren’t, it’s still easy to pick a player to get behind in this final month of another exciting NHL season.