NHL Announces Hart Trophy Finalists - Auston Matthews Snubbed

2024 NHL Awards - Hart Trophy
2024 NHL Awards - Hart Trophy / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

On Tuesday, the NHL announced the three finalists for the Hart Trophy, but Auston Matthews was not among them.

This award is usually given out annually to the NHL's most valuable player, but not this year since Auston Matthews was not even considered among the finalists.

The 2023-24 Hart Trophy finalists are Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, and Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Despite setting the record for most goals scored since the salary cap era, and being an elite defensive player, Auston Matthews was snubbed from a chance at winning his second Hart Trophy because the hockey world has a newfound love for players who rack up secondary assists. 

Auston Matthews Snubbed As Hart Trophy Finalist 

Mackinnon, McDavid, and Kucherov all had more points than Matthews. Still, all three of the Hart Trophy finalists benefitted from playing on a five-on-five line with another 40+ goal scorer. In contrast, Matthews only got to play 13% of his minutes at five-on-five with William Nylander, the Maple Leaf's only other 40-goal scorer. 

Matthews's not playing with another goalscorer is ultimately what will snub him from this award because the points differential between Matthews and the rest of the Hart Trophy finalists can largely be attributed to the difference in the secondary assists Mackinnon, McDavid, and Kucherov recorded. 

Secondary assists are awarded liberally and are more a function of luck than skill.

But when you look at some meaningful five-on-five stats such as goals and primary points, you would see that Auston Matthews led the league in even-strength goals with 38 and finished second behind Mackinnon in five-on-five primary points, having four more than McDavid and five more than Kucherov. 

Then, if you look at the percentage of goals scored for each team at five-on-five, Matthews scores the highest, 19% of the Maple Leaf's goals, compared to Mackinnon's 18%, Kucherov's 12%, and McDavid's nine per cent. 

The gap widens between the finalists and Matthews when you look at their primary point percentage on the powerplay. Matthews scored 23% of the Leafs' goals on the powerplay, whereas Mackinnon scored 16% of the Avalanche's powerplay goals, which was the closest to Matthews.

While all these guys had more points, Matthews scored the highest percentage of his team's goals and was one of the three finalists for the Selke Trophy, which means he is among the top three defensive forwards in the NHL. 


Between being the best goal scorer in the NHL and one of the best defensive forwards, I can not fathom that Matthews is not a finalist for the Hart Trophy. His record-breaking season will be remembered for years to come.