New York, NY – New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos have been named finalists for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player.
Lundqvist finished the season with a career-high 39 wins and a career-low 1.97 goals-against average in 62 games this past season. His eight shutouts ranked third in the NHL along with Coyotes' netminder Mike Smith and were the third- most over his seven-year NHL career.
The 30-year-old Swede is the first goaltender to be voted a Hart finalist since Roberto Luongo of Vancouver in 2007 and Martin Brodeur finished second and third, respectively, to Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.
Malkin was the recipient of the Art Ross Trophy for the second time in his six-year pro tenure, finishing with a league-best 109 points along with a career-best 50 goals. He recorded five points on four occasions, the first player to do so since 1995-96.
The 25-year-old Russian center was the first player to win a scoring title by a double-digit margin since Jaromir Jagr bested Teemu Selanne by 20 points back in 1998-99. Malkin is a Hart finalist for the third time. He finished second to Alex Ovechkin in both 2008 and '09.
Stamkos took home the "Rocket" Richard Trophy thanks to a league-high 60 goals, and totaled a career-best 97 points while playing in all 82 games for the Lightning. He tallied five overtime goals, tied for the NHL lead with 12 game-winning scores and notched 48 goals at even strength -- most for one player since 1992-93.
The 22-year-old Ontario native is a Hart finalist for the first time in his four-year NHL career.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Hart Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists.
The winner will be announced during the 2012 NHL Awards program on June 20 in Las Vegas.