Patrick Kane praised Connor McDavid on Thursday and said the Edmonton Oilers center should clearly be the winner of the Hart Trophy as most valuable player in the NHL this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks forward was asked about being considered for the award, but quickly redirected the focus toward Edmonton.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to really touch McDavid this year,” Kane said. “He’s just head and shoulders the best player in the League, and their team is having a great year. But at the same time, it’s nice to hear those type of things. Usually it means your team is in a good position throughout the year as well.”
McDavid leads the NHL this season with 63 points (21 goals, 42 assists) in 37 games for the Oilers (22-14-1), who are third in the seven-team Scotia North Division, four points behind the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs. The 24-year-old won the Hart Trophy in 2016-17 when he led the NHL with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) in 82 games.
Kane has scored 49 points (13 goals, 36 assists) in 37 games, third behind McDavid and Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who has scored 54 points (19 goals, 35 assists) in 37 games. Kane won the Hart Trophy in 2015-16 after he led the NHL with 106 points (46 goals, 60 assists) in 82 games.
The 32-year-old has scored seven points (one goal, six assists) during a five-game point streak heading into a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).
“I think my scoring touch could be a little bit better,” Kane said. “I felt like I was getting a lot of chances up until the last game (a 2-1 win against the Hurricanes on Tuesday), and just trying to produce and help the team any way I can. Just trying to do my thing, get better every day and hopefully the goals will start coming, but I feel pretty good about my game all around. Just would like to improve the scoring touch a little bit, obviously.”
Chicago (17-15-5) is tied with the Nashville Predators for fourth place in the eight-team Discover Central Division; the top four teams in each of the four divisions qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Kane, who won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015, said he’s more focused on helping the Blackhawks get back into the playoffs than the Hart Trophy race.
“For me, I don’t really think about it too much, just want to help the team win,” he said. “Usually if you get your team into the playoffs, you have a better chance of being nominated or whatever it is. But I think McDavid is just head and shoulders above everyone this year.”