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Why Sidney Crosby should not be in the Hart Trophy discussion

Sidney Crosby is the best hockey player in the world, but there's a strong case to be made that he's not the most valuable player in the NHL this season. Kathleen Hinkel/Icon Sportswire

According to a recent article on NHL.com, the Hart Trophy race is currently perceived to be between San Jose's Brent Burns, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Edmonton's Connor McDavid. Despite being the only one to have received more than a single vote in the past, Crosby may actually be the one who doesn't belong.

Ruling Crosby out of the Hart Trophy race is an admittedly outrageous claim. He is one goal behind Brad Marchand for the NHL lead with 35 goals, is two points behind the co-leaders in the points race (he sits at 74), and he is captain of the team that is two points behind the Washington Capitals for first overall in the league. It's a strong résumé.

Yes, Crosby may still be the world's best hockey player, but the Hart Trophy is awarded to the most valuable player. He is great, but the Penguins would still be great without him.

Maybe his spot in the Hart Trophy race should go to players whose teams would be completely lost without them, and there is a statistic that can help identify them -- although we will have to blow the dust off of it. Let's look at why Crosby shouldn't be the Hart Trophy winner this season, and which players should be in the discussion instead.