Perry Nelson - USA TODAY Sports

Trophy Watch: 5 potential candidates for the 2021-22 Hart Memorial/Ted Lindsay trophies

The season is nearly upon us, and what good is the pre-season if you can't use it for some semi-baseless speculation?

A lot of stuff happens over the course of 32 teams playing 82 games apiece, and that includes everything from surprise over- or underperformance to devastating injuries. But in the pre-season, we at least get to pretend everyone will perform to their potential or beyond, and stay in the lineup for the vast majority of the season.

Is that realistic? Of course not. Is it easier than the alternative? You bet.

Please do not say to me, "What about [guy from the team you like]?" (and also do not say to me, "You didn't do one for the Lady Byng"). We can and should always allow for two or three other players to work their way into the mix, but these are just the guys who kind of jump off the page as candidates.

With that in mind, we're going to start a series of articles to look at the five most viable candidates for each of the major awards for the next few days, starting today with a look at the Hart Memorial/Ted Lindsay trophies. The candidates are presented in alphabetical order rather than their perceived chance to win.

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