NHL MVP Power Rankings: Way-too-early candidates for the Hart Trophy

With the 2023-24 NHL season still in its early stages, we take a look at some players that could win the Hart Trophy, including some former NHL MVPs.

Auston Matthews is already reminding the NHL he's an MVP-caliber player.
Auston Matthews is already reminding the NHL he's an MVP-caliber player. / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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. 1. 116. Auston Matthews MVP Rank #1. 2023-24: 2GP, 6G, 0A, 6 pts, +3. Auston Matthews. Auston Matthews. player. . Center

After a 'quiet' 2022-23 season, Auston Matthews is back in fine form for the Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring hat tricks in each of his first two games. The 26-year-old was the NHL's MVP two years ago following the 2021-22 season when his 60-goal, 46-assist campaign was enough to secure the Hart Trophy.

Last season, Matthews dipped back below the 100-point threshold with his 85 points, and although he still scored 40 goals, his 12.2 shooting percentage was far lower than the 17.2 percent mark from the year prior. This season, the former MVP has already scored six goals on only 13 shots.

Per Moneypuck, Matthews has scored six times on only 1.7 expected goals, which gives him 3.9 goals above his shooting talent, and 4.3 goals above expected overall. The Maple Leafs are a perfect 2-0-0, and Matthews has scored exactly half of their 12 total goals.

The 2016 No. 1 overall pick has already beaten McDavid out for a Hart Trophy once, and there's a very real chance he can do it again if he's able to sustain this pace for a full season. Matthews has played a full 82-game season just once (2016-17), and played only 73 games when he won his MVP title. He might need to play more than that to ascertain another one.

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