Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has been nominated for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the MVP of the NHL's regular season.

This is the third time Malkin has been nominated, and he is the heavy favorite to claim his first Hart Trophy.

The other nominees are New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos.

Malkin, 25, won his second scoring title this season by producing a career-high 50 goals and 109 points. Stamkos was the only player to push him in the scoring race, but he is considered a long shot to claim the award. Stamkos' Lightning did not make the playoffs, and the last NHL player to win the Hart Trophy despite his team missing the playoffs was Penguins center Mario Lemieux in 1988.

Lundqvist led his Rangers to the second round of the playoffs in a 2-1 victory on Thursday night. However, voting for the Hart Trophy concluded at the end of the regular season.

Malkin twice lost to countryman Alex Ovechkin in Hart Trophy voting in 2008 and 2009.

Should Malkin claim the MVP award in Las Vegas in June, he would join elite company in Penguins' history.

The other Penguins players to win the Hart Trophy are Lemieux (1988, '93, '96), right wing Jaromir Jagr (1999) and center Sidney Crosby (2007).