NHL names 2016 Hart Trophy finalists

The NHL season has been wittled down to just eight teams eyeing the Stanley Cup and it will soon be cut down to four. Just a few days after the trophy is awarded to the winning team, the Hart Trophy will be awarded to the league’s best player and we now know the three finalists.

Saturday afternoon, the NHL announced that Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane were in contention to win the award this year.

This award is the NHL’s de facto MVP award.

Crosby, a two-time winner of the Hart Trophy, was third in the league with 85 points in 80 games, including a league-best 58 points in 44 games after Jan. 1. He had at least one point in 20 of his final 21 games and was the only player in the league with multiple point streaks of at least 10 games.

Benn was second in the league with 89 points and third with 41 goals, both career highs. He’s the first Stars player with 40 goals since Mike Modano in 1993-94 has the chance to become the first Stars player to ever win the trophy.

Kane led the league with 106 points and became the first United States-born player to win the Art Ross Trophy. He was second in the league with 46 goals and helped the Blackhawks make the playoffs for an eighth straight year, despite an early loss to the St. Louis Blues.

The trophy will be awarded on June 22 at the NHL Awards show.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

Photos: Kentucky Derby favorite Nyquist drinks from Stanley Cup
Photos: Kentucky Derby favorite Nyquist drinks from Stanley Cup