Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why Corey Perry Will Not Repeat As The Hart Trophy Winner

Last season, Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks walked away from the NHL Awards Show with the Hart Trophy, which is given annually to the leagues most valuable player. Perry finished the season with 50 goals,  and 48 assists, totalling 98 points.

Perry finished out the season number one in scoring, Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos finished in second five goals behind Perry. However, Perry ended the season third in points behind Daniel Sedin's 104 and Martin St. Louis' 99.

The last player to win the Hart Trophy in back-to-back seasons was Alex Ovechkin in '07-'08 and '08-'09, when he posted 112 and 110 points respectively.

 At the end of the 2011-2012 season, Perry will not be the NHL's newest repeat winner, and here is why.

First off, if Perry's nine points in the final week of the regular season didn't play such a major role in the Ducks' late season playoff push, than Sedin would have kept the Hart Trophy in the family. Come on how does a player third in points take home the hardware. That's like giving the Sharks the Cup for losing in the Western Conference Finals the last two seasons.

Now lets take a look at the division, the Pacific, where Perry will play 24 of his 82 contests next season. The Pacific Division was already the most competitive division in the NHL, and it only got better over the summer. The Sharks beefed up their, already strong, defense with the acquisition of Brent Burns and Jim Vandermeer.

The Kings traded for one of the best two way forwards in the league when they grabbed Mike Richards from the Flyers. Having both Richards and Anze Kopitar back checking as Perry comes down on defensive specialists like Drew Doughty (if he ever signs), Jack Johnson, and Matt Greene definitely pushes the odds to the defense's side.

The Stars and Coyotes could be the only teams that have trouble containing Perry. However, each team has a couple of players like Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes, or Brendan Morrow of the Dallas Stars that are sure to lay a shoulder into Perry when ever the opportunity presents itself. Plus the Coyotes have the tree they call Keith Yandle on defense, that a long reach to get around for sure.

So watch for those games to be less of a chess match and more of a bumper car ride.

Outside of the Pacific, Perry and the Ducks face-off against some of the leagues elite goaltenders on several occasions. If these teams play their number one goalie, the Ducks will be shooting on the Canucks' Roberto Luongo four times, the Sabres' Ryan Miller twice, the Predators' Pekka Rinne four times, and the Rangers' Henrik Lunqvist twice.

That is 32 games of the Ducks' season that could be tight one goal games, not games where Perry is likely to have offensive explosions.Sure the teams may have an off night, but Perry and the Ducks cant go into most of those games expecting big offensive numbers.

Not to mention there will be no catching teams by surprise anymore. Sure Perry was a known player before, but his highest point totals before last season was 76 points two seasons ago. Since he had such a major jump and proved to be such a clutch player for the Ducks, he scored 11 game winning goals last season, teams will make sure their top defensive pairing and forwards are lined-up against Perry every shift.

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