Should Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon both win MVP award? Analyst ideates new system to award both centers as stellar season continues

Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins - Game One
If the NHL had adopted a Conference only award structure, Ray Bourque may have been the biggest winner

What if both Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon could win the Hart this season? NHL superfan and commentator Tom Buccigross has stirred the pot by advocating for a significant change in the NHL awards system. He suggested a structure akin to the MLB.

With an aim of recognizing more players across the league, Buccigross argues for the introduction of two sets of NHL awards, one for each conference. While the idea has received support from a few quarters, it has also faced backlash from fans who fear it may dilute the significance of certain prestigious NHL awards.

The proposal suggests that splitting awards based on conferences would allow for a broader acknowledgment of players' achievements. Having two awards would address the challenges posed by the sheer number of teams and players in the NHL. This year, there is one specific instance where this could be a benefit, and that's Nathan McKinnon and Nikita Kucherov, who could be recognized as MVPs in their respective conferences.

Not everyone is on board with the idea. Critics argue that the uniqueness and prestige of certain NHL awards, such as the Norris Trophy for the best defenseman and the Selke Trophy for the best defensive forward, may be compromised. The concern is that introducing conference-specific awards for categories like MVP and Rookie of the Year might also water down the significance of more specific awards.

Post-season awards can shape a player's legacy significantly. Eight years ago, Sean McIndoe dove into the hypothetical scenario of how hockey history might have unfolded if the NHL had adopted a similar awards structure.

What would hockey history look like if the NHL had conference awards? Would both Nathan MacKinnon and Nikita Kucherov win MVP this season?

By examining historical voting data, Sean McIndoe explored potential winners in an alternate universe where awards are split by conferences. The analysis touched on various awards, including the Calder for Rookie of the Year, the Norris for best defenseman, the Vezina for top goaltender, and the Hart for MVP.

One of the most notable consequences of this hypothetical scenario is the impact on players like Ray Bourque, who, according to McIndoe, would have amassed an astonishing 15 individual awards over his career, making him one of the most decorated athletes in pro sports history.

Unfortunately for Bourque and possibly Nikita Kucherov this season, the NHL has a particular awards structure and doesn't appear interested in changing it any time soon.

Edited by Parag Jain