The 60-goal season by Steven Stamkos did not go unnoticed when it came to MVP consideration for the 22-year-old center.
Stamkos was named one of three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the NHL's most valuable player, the league announced on Friday.
New York Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin are the other finalists. The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas on June 20. The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association before the start of the postseason.
When Stamkos notched his 60th goal of the season in the final period of Tampa Bay's final game, he became just the second player since 1995-96 to reach the 60-goal plateau, joining Alex Ovechkin who scored 65 goals during the 2007-08 season. Stamkos also finished second in the league with a career high 97 points while setting an NHL record with five overtime goals and a franchise record with 12 game-winning goals.
Stamkos scored 10 goals more than the next player – Malkin had 50 – and his 48 goals at even strength were seven more than Marian Gaborik, who finished third in the league with 41 goals.
Because the Lightning did not make the playoffs, there was some question whether Stamkos would garner MVP consideration.
Some voters revealed on Twitter on Friday they left Stamkos off their ballots for that reason. Greg Wyshinkski of Yahoo! Sports stated on his account he did not give Stamkos a vote in his top five ballot: "I can't vote for a non-playoff MVP. That's a line in the sand.''