The Hart Memorial Trophy has been around since the 1923-24 season and is awarded to the player voted the most valuable to his team during the regular season (there was no winner during the lockout seasons). The voting is done by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and 54 different players have won the trophy over 90 seasons. Wayne Gretzky leads the way with nine victories followed by Gordie Howe with six, and Eddie Shore with four. The three-time winners are Bobby Clarke, Mario Lemieux, Howie Morenz, Bobby Orr, and Alex Ovechkin.
The Hart Trophy shouldn’t be confused with the Ted Lindsay Award (formerly the Lester B. Pearson Award), which is handed out to the NHL’s most outstanding player of the season as judged by the players themselves. Players who win the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in the same season have truly enjoyed an excellent year. This list ranks the last 15 winners of the Hart Trophy. It is dates back to the 1995-96 campaign due to multiple winners and the NHL lockout. The list consists of just one defenceman and three goalies, as well as 11 forwards.
Eight of the 15 players are still skating in the NHL and the other seven have retired. Five of the seven who have retired have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and there’s a great chance that all eight of the current players will join them once they become eligible. This list of the past 15 Hart Trophy winners ranks them on their achievements during their trophy-winning season(s) as well as their overall performances in the National Hockey League throughout their careers and the number of first-place votes they received for the Hart Trophy.
15 Corey Perry (2010-11)
Anaheim Ducks’ winger Corey Perry helped his team finish second in the Pacific Division with 98 points in 2010-11 with his 50 goals (enough to also win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy) and 48 assists. He also led the league with 32 even-strength goals and 11 game winners and was rewarded with the Hart Trophy. He added eight points in the playoffs, but the Ducks were eliminated in six games in the first round by the Nashville Predators. Perry was 25-years-old when he won the Hart, but the voting was relatively close as he received 67 first-place votes and 47 second-place nods while Daniel Sedin was right behind him with 51 first-place ballots and 56 for second place. Sedin led the league with 104 points and 18 power play goals that year and was also awarded the Pearson Trophy by his fellow players.
14 Jose Theodore (2001-02)
Jose Theodore is one of two Montreal Canadiens’ netminders to make this list along with Carey Price. Theodore was 25-years-old when he won the Hart Trophy in 2001-02. He led the league in saves with 1836 and save percentage at .931. He also posted seven shutouts, had a goals-against average of 2.11 and a record of 30-24-10. Theodore’s performances also won him the Vezina Trophy. He was spectacular that year as the Canadiens finished just five points over .500 and were 15th in goals against out of 30 teams. Theodore retired after 2012-13 with a record of 286-254-69 with a .909 save percentage and 2.68 GAA with 33 shutouts. Theodore won the Hart on a very close vote over Jarome Iginla.
13 Chris Pronger (1999-00)
Chris Pronger is the only defenceman on this list and the only blue liner to win the Hart Trophy since Bobby Orr in 1971-72. Pronger was a 25-year-old with St. Louis in 1999-2000 when he won the award and also captured the Norris Trophy that season. He had 14 goals and 48 assists for 62 points that year and led the league in plus/minus for the second time in his career at +52. The Blues had 114 points to win the Central Division that campaign. However, they lost the first round of the playoffs to San Jose in seven games with Pronger scoring seven points in the series. Pronger was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015 after retiring with 698 points in 1,167 games with a +183 rating. He added 121 points in 173 playoff matches and was a +40.
12 Henrik Sedin (2009-10)
Sweden’s Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks was honoured with the Hart Trophy (as well as the Art Ross Trophy) for the 2009-10 campaign after racking up 29 goals and a league-leading 83 assists and 112 points. It was the first of three straight seasons that he’d rank number one in assists. His play helped the Canucks win the Northwest Division that year with 103 points while ranking second in the league in goals for. Henrik and his twin brother Daniel also had strong postseasons with 14 points in 12 games but Vancouver were eliminated in the second round by Chicago. Sedin was 29 when he won the Hart Trophy, which makes him the oldest winner in the past 11 years. It was a close vote though with Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby coming up behind. Sedin’s now 35-years-old and slowing down with 55 points this season, but the centre’s a certain future Hall of Famer.
11 Martin St. Louis (2003-04)
Martin St. Louis was a 28-year-old with the Tampa Bay Lightning when he captured the Hart Trophy as well as the Art Ross Trophy in 2003-04. He had a fine season by leading the league in assists with 56, points with 94, shorthanded goals with eight, and plus/minus at +35. His play was also recognized by his peers, as he also won the Pearson Trophy. St. Louis would go on to win the scoring title and lead the league in assists again in the shortened 48-game campaign in 2012-13. The winger led the Lightning to the Southeast Division title in 2003-04 with their 106 points and his 24 points in 23 playoff games helped them win the Stanley Cup in seven games over Calgary. St. Louis retired after a 52-points season in 2014-15 with 1,033 career points in 1,134 games and another 90 points in 107 playoff outings.
10 Peter Forsberg (2002-03)
Swedish Hall of Fame Centre Peter Forsberg was 29-years-old with the Colorado Avalanche when he had a career year in 2002-03. His 106 points in 75 games helped him win both the Hart and Art Ross Trophies and his 77 assists also led the league. The former Calder Memorial Trophy winner helped the Avalanche earn 105 points and win the Northwest Division that year, before falling to Minnesota in seven games in the first round of the playoffs. Forsberg did his part though with eight points in those seven games. Forsberg retired after 2010-11 with 885 points to his name in 708 regular-season games with another 171 points in 151 playoff encounters.
9 Joe Thornton (2005-06)
Big 6-foot-4-inch centre Joe Thornton was taken first overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by Boston, but has been a leader with San Jose since being traded during the 2005-06 season. That was a memorable campaign for Thornton as he took home the Hart Trophy after leading the league with 96 assists and 125 points. Those 125 points rank the third most in a season by the last 15 Hart Trophy winners. It was the only time he took the Art Ross Trophy, but he’d lead the NHL in assists on two more occasions. Thornton’s 36-years-old now, but you’d never know it from the way he plays, as he racked up another 82 points in 82 games this season. The Sharks finished second in the Patrick Division after Thornton joined them in 2005-06 while the Bruins slumped to fifth in the Northeast Division and missed the playoffs.
8 Carey Price (2014-15)
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was the last winner of the Hart Trophy, but it may have been a curse since he missed most of the 2015-16 season due to injury and his team missed the playoffs without him. Price had a career year in 2014-15 as he led the NHL in wins with 44, save percentage at .933, and goals-against average at 1.96. Price posted a record of 44-16-6 and chipped in with nine shutouts. The former fifth-overall draft pick in 2005 is only 28 and still in his prime. His heroics last year helped the Canadiens to 110 points and the Atlantic Division title with a record of 50-22-10 while leading the league in goals against. Price also took home the Jennings, Vezina, and Ted Lindsay Award last season.
7 Joe Sakic (2000-01)
Hall of Fame centre Joe Sakic was the oldest skater of the last 15 Hart Trophy winners as he was 31 when he took it home as a member of the Colorado Avalanche in 2000-01. Sakic scored 54 goals and 64 assists for 118 points that year to help Colorado win the Northwest Division with their 110 points. He led the league in plus/minus at +45 and his 12 game winners were also tops in the NHL that season. Sakic remained hot during the playoffs with 26 points in 21 games to lead the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup. The centre also won the Pearson and Lady Byng Trophies in his career year of 2000-01. Sakic retired after spending his entire career with the Quebec/Colorado franchise and had 1,641 points in 1.378 games. He also added 188 points in 172 playoff contests.
6 Evgeni Malkin (2011-12)
Pittsburgh centre Evgeni Malkin led the league in scoring for the second time in 2011-12 with 50 goals and 59 assists. The Russian sharpshooter also topped the NHL in shots on net with 339, which led to him taking home the Hart Trophy and the Pearson Trophy for his efforts at the age of 25. He had led the league in scoring with 113 points in 2008-09 and in assists with 78 and came in second in Hart voting to Alexander Ovechkin. The Penguins finished second in the Atlantic Division in 2011-12 with 108 points with a record of 51-25-6 and Malkin scored eight points in six playoff outings, but the team was knocked out of the postseason in the first round by the Philadelphia Flyers.
5 Dominik Hasek (1996-97 and 1997-98)
Hall of Famer Dominick Hasek of Czechoslovakia is one of three goalies on this list as he won the Hart Trophy in back-to-back seasons in 1996-97 and 1997-98. He’s also the only goalie ever to win it twice. Hasek was the oldest player of the last 15 Hart winners as he won his second honour at the age of 33. In fact he’s tied as the second-oldest ever to win the award behind a 34-year-old Gordie Howe in 1962-63. Hasek won 37 and 33 games in his Hart seasons and posted goals-against averages of 2.27 and 2.09 with league-leading save percentages of .930 and .932. He also posted five and 13 shutouts and won the Pearson and Vezina Trophies the same seasons. Hasek retired with a 389-223-95 record with a 2.20 GAA and .922 save percentage and 81 shutouts.
4 Jaromir Jagr (1998-99)
Czechoslovakian-born Jaromir Jagr was a 26-year-old right-winger with Pittsburgh when he hauled in the Hart Trophy for the 1998-99 campaign. He also won the Art Ross as he led the league in scoring with 127 points and in assists with 83. His point total for a season ranks him number two on this list in a Hart Trophy winning year as he also topped the league that season with 33 even-strength goals. Jagr took that Pearson Trophy home that year and it was one of his five Art Ross wins. Jagr is remarkably still playing at the age of 44 and led Florida in scoring this year with 66 points this season. He’s the all-time leading European scorer and a can’t-miss Hall of Famer.
3 Sidney Crosby (2006-07 and 2013-14)
Sidney Crosby first won the Hart Trophy back in 2006-07 when he was just 19-years-old and then captured it again in 2013-14. Wayne Gretzky was the only other 19-year old to win the Hart. Crosby, who is still arguably the best player in the NHL, was definitely in his prime back then. The Penguins centre led the league in scoring both of those seasons with 120 points in 2006-07 and 104 two years ago. He also led the way in assists in 2013-14 with 68 and took home the Ted Lindsay and Art Ross Trophies in both of those campaigns. Pittsburgh finished second in the Atlantic Division in 2006-07, but lost to Ottawa in the first round of the playoffs. In 2013-14 they managed to top the Metropolitan Division before being ousted by the Rangers in the second round of the postseason. Crosby may be slowing down just a little at the age of 28, but he’s a certain Hall of Famer once he retires.
2 Alex Ovechkin (2007-08, 2008-09, and 2012-13)
Russian stud Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has nailed down the Hart Trophy three times by taking it home in 2007-08, when he was a 22-year-old, again in 2008-09, and once again in 2012-13. He also won the Rocket Richard Trophy in all three of those seasons for leading the league in goals and captured the Pearson Trophy in both 2008 and 2009 as well as the Art Ross in 2008. Ovechkin is regarded by many as the best hockey player in the world and it’s hard to argue with them. This guy can skate, hit, set up plays, and score with the best of them in NHL history. He’s yet to find any success in the payoffs though. The 30-year-old future Hall of Fame has led the league in giaks six times in his career and the last four seasons in a row while showing no signs of slowing down. Ovechkin just edged out Sidney Crosby for his last Hart Trophy, but won hands down the first two times around.
1 Mario Lemieux (1995-96)
Hall of Fame centre Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins won the third and last of his Hart Trophies for his play in the 1995-96 season when he was 30-years-old. Lemieux scored 69 goals and 92 assists for 161 points, which is the most of any of the last 15 Hart winners. His goal, assist, and point totals led the league that year as did his eight shorthanded and 31 power play goals. He also took home the Pearson Trophy for his work. Lemieux led his team to the Northeast Division title that campaign and the Penguins led the 26-team league in scoring. He managed to stay hot in the postseason with 27 points in 18 games, but Pittsburgh was knocked out by Florida in the third round. Lemieux retired as one of the greatest players in hockey history with 1,723 points in 915 games and another 172 points in 107 postseason contests.