With all the votes tallied up on Wednesday night, Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn finished third in the voting for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the league.
Here is the final tally:
Hart Trophy voting pic.twitter.com/vqwi7efX0x— Sean Leahy (@Sean_Leahy) June 23, 2016
Patrick Kane ran away with the voting, and based solely on his production during the season, that makes some measure of sense. The off-season criminal accusations obviously didn't weigh that heavily on the minds of the voters.
As far as the Crosby vote, that one is more surprising from a hockey perspective. Crosby was on 145 ballots (as opposed to 133 for Benn and 150 for Kane) with a mammoth amount of second-place votes despite only putting up five points in December and playing so poorly for a stretch individually that his coach was a casualty. He also plays relatively protected zone starts and is not a regular figure on the penalty kill. His team was not as good as the Stars in the regular season, and he individually was not as good as Benn.
But he is Sidney Crosby, the one highlighted by the league above all others, who can produce less than teammates in the playoffs but be credited with the nebulous and unmeasurable "leadership qualities" to be chosen as more valuable than them. Some things will just never change.
Here is one of the ballots that left Benn off entirely (though remember, there are 16 others out there - she is not alone):
Yell at me for Hart:— Jen Neale (@MsJenNeale_PD) June 23, 2016
1) Braden Holtby
2) Patrick Kane
3) Sidney Crosby
4) Ryan Kesler
5) Claude Giroux
(No Benn b/c stacked team)
This is presented as a representative example and not a reason to attack her individually, for what it's worth, and I wouldn't be surprised if others had similar thought processes. The Stars were an offensive juggernaut, so Benn could just be a product of their system.
That said, it is pretty silly to say the Stars are stacked but ignore things like the Capitals, Blackhawks and Penguins lineups. Perhaps Jason Spezza is just that much better than Evgeni Malkin or Alexander Ovechkin. It's also important to remember that Holtby wasn't statistically the best goalie in his conference but picked up wins at a higher clip than Ben Bishop because of the Caps ferocious offense.
Still, it's a representative thought and one the Stars are going to have to deal with as long as their local media contingent is small and their playoff runs relatively short.