The Hart Trophy seems to be tightening year after year as some the greatest stars of the NFHL seemed to be pushing each other hard. The last three seasons have had different winners to show the competition thatís being ramped up. After Gretzky held the Hart from 1988-1990, Glenn Anderson broke through in '91. Gretzky didnít like the competition, it seemed, as he came back to claim his trophy is '92 with all time scoring records, but then, this past year, we saw a new player come in, Michel Goulet. He was able to take the Hart Trophy win by a total of 8 points. Here at Straight Shooters, we won't lie, we were surprised by this. Glenn Anderson and Goulet had the same number of 1st place votes, and Anderson actually had 1 more 2nd place vote, but it was the 3rd place votes that clinched it for Goulet. We are going to bring  it up again, but we will go to the GM's being lazy argument here. The biggest thing that stands out to us, is that somehow 4 GM's gave Mario Lemieux 1st place votes. He was tied for 2nd in goals, not even on the assist leader board and finished 5th in scoring. He was 14 points behind Anderson and 12 behind Goulet. Mario was a +47 but Goulet was a +51 while Anderson was a +38. Anderson had 17 PP goals, Goulet 13 and Mario 12. Anderson even had 5 SH goals, to Mario's 2. Anderson SH% 19.3, Goulet, 17.7 and Mario 17.6%. Now Mario did well in the hits department finishing 3rd with 263 hits. However, you know who finished first in the league with 273 hits? Glenn Anderson. So you had the league's leading scorer, the league's leading hitter, and he only gets 8 first place votes? Glenn Anderson should have walked away with this Trophy last year.

With all that laid out, we think this definitely sets up for Glenn Anderson being fully pissed off and ready to tear into the league this season. He is, without a doubt, the leader for the Hart Trophy this year, regardless of new city or new GM, he has to be mad. As amazing as Wayne Gretzky year was in 1992, Anderson with his scoring and hitting might have been an even more impressive season.

Another one to watch is Peter Stastny. This is his last season in the NFHL, and if we know GM Smith, he will do everything in his power to maximize his minutes to get Peter to the top of the scoring race. Don't be surprised if he doesnít lead the team in TOI at the age of 38.

Of course, apparently we have to involve Mario in the conversation, because somehow a guy that finishes 5th in scoring can get enough votes to be in 3rd on ballots. (What did those 4 GM's see? Seriously, what?). Mario is coming into his own, and it is time he starts winning Wayne's trophies, but the competition is fierce.

Lastly, we will include the Great One again. After possibly his worse season ever, he still finished 4th in scoring. He was actually 5th in voting for the Hart Trophy, but that was probably too high for the season he had.

Looks for some other knows to be in the race, but a lot of firepower moved around this season so some guys may not post points like they did in the past. Ex-Sabres players for one.

Straight shooters Hart Trophy pre-season prediction is Glenn Anderson. He has got to be pissed after having his award stolen from him. We mentioned Anderson leading the league in hits with 273, we forgot to mention how many Goulet had, he had 129. So 2 fewer points, and 144 hits less, but he got the same amount of 1st place votes. Do better voters.