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The NHL MVP’s career started in Philly, and let’s have a little more respect for Carter Hart, please | On the Fly

Newsletter nuggets include the league's major award winners and how they fared against the Flyers this season. Plus, Sam Carchidi predicted the Stanley Cup Finals ... in September.

NHL leading scorer Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist in his only game this season against the Flyers. On Monday, he became the fourth Edmonton player to win MVP, joining Connor McDavid, Mark Messier and that Gretzky fellow.
NHL leading scorer Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist in his only game this season against the Flyers. On Monday, he became the fourth Edmonton player to win MVP, joining Connor McDavid, Mark Messier and that Gretzky fellow.Read moreMary Altaffer / AP

In 1923, Montreal doctor David A. Hart donated a trophy to the NHL to help recognize the league’s MVP. It was noted, in an Ottawa Citizen story shortly after Hart’s generosity, that it’s not supposed to just go to whoever has the most points — although that’s usually the case.

“A goalkeeper stands just as good a chance of being reckoned the most valuable player to his side as the leading goal-scorer of the league," the newspaper noted. "All-around ability is the object aimed at.”

And that’s why it’s called the Hart Memorial Trophy. It has nothing to do with former Flyers announcer Gene or current franchise goaltender Carter.

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NHL’s top awards, and a minor snub of Carter Hart

The NHL gave out its top awards Monday night, and there were hardly any surprises. Well, there was one thing that was annoying.

Leon Draisaitl, who led the league with 110 points (in 71 games), was named Most Valuable Player over Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon and the Rangers' Artemi Panarin.

It’s notable that Draisaitl’s pro career began in Philadelphia on June 27, 2014 when the Oilers made him the third pick in the draft.

The draft had never been held in Philly, and it hasn’t been back. Draisaitl on Monday became the first MVP from the Class of ’14. Aaron Ekblad went first to Florida that night. Buffalo took Sam Reinhart second. Both are capable players, but they’re not on the level of Draisaitl.

As draft classes go, 2014 was a pretty good one for the Flyers. Travis Sanheim (17th), Nic Aube-Kubel (48th), Mark Friedman (86th) and Oskar Lindblom (138th) were the club’s top four picks. Friedman is the only player on this list yet to make a major contribution to the big club, but his chance might be coming if the Flyers were to deal a defenseman such as Shayne Gostisbehere.

Speaking of defensemen, Nashville’s Roman Josi won the Norris as the league’s top D-man and another defenseman, Colorado’s Cale Makar, was named rookie of the year. Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck took home the first Vezina Trophy in Jets history.

The NHL’s first and second All-Star teams were announced. It was no surprise that a Flyer didn’t make either team, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Eight centers got at least one vote, but not Sean Couturier. Ivan Provorov was 16th in voting among defensemen. Carter Hart was ninth among the goalies.

Hart deserved better than ninth. He should have been fifth in goaltender voting (maybe sixth) behind Hellebuyck, Tuukka Rask, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Darcy Kuemper (and maybe Jacob Markstrom). But Hart belongs ahead of Ben Bishop, Jordan Binnington and Carey Price based on how he performed during the regular season. He was beneath them in PHWA voting.

Award winners against the Flyers

Draisaitl: Had two goals and an assist in Edmonton’s 6-3 win over the Flyers in October, the only meeting between the clubs.

Rask: Shut out the Flyers on March 10 in what turned out to be the final game of the regular season. The Flyers beat Boston twice, both coming against backup goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Makar: Was minus-2 in his only game against the Flyers, a 6-3 Philadelphia win in February.

Josi: The Flyers’ two games against Nashville were wiped out by the pandemic, but that didn’t prevent an unfortunate hoax from being pulled off.

Things to know

Important dates

Stanley Cup Finals / at Edmonton

Tampa Bay vs. Dallas / series tied, 1-1

Game 1, Saturday: Dallas opens with a 4-1 win

Game 2, Monday: Early PPGs help Tampa tie it up

Game 3, Wednesday: Tampa Bay at Dallas, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 4, Friday: Tampa Bay at Dallas, 8 p.m. (NBC)

Game 5, Saturday: Dallas at Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. (NBC)

*Game 6, Monday, Sept. 28: Tampa Bay at Dallas, 8 p.m. (NBC)

*Game 7, Wednesday, Sept. 30: Dallas at Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. (NBC)

*-If necessary. … Home teams listed have final line change during stoppages of play.

League Calendar

Tuesday, Oct. 6: Draft / Round 1, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 7: Draft / Rounds 2-7, 11:30 a.m.

» Commish says 2020-21 season might not start until January

From the mailbag

Sam Carchidi was the only one of our writers to pick the Islanders to beat the Flyers, and his postseason roll has continued. He picked Tampa to beat Dallas in the finals before the season, and is 10-4 in postseason series.

Question: Really curious, what did you see last September in Dallas that made you pick them to make the finals this year? — Freddie Flyer (@playsomehockey)

Answer: Remember, the Stars came thisclose to reaching the conference final last year — losing to eventual Cup champ STL in double OT in Game 7 — and then added [Joe] Pavelski. I’ve also always liked the play of Ben Bishop and that played a part in it — but he’s been hurt/ill and has barely played! Doby [Anton Khudobin] has been great!

Send questions on Twitter (@EdBarkowitz) and they could be answered in a future edition.