I think the "finalists" are:
Crosby: Crosby still leads the scoring by 4 points altough he has been out for 2 weeks. Will probably be back for 2-3 games for this regular season. If he wins Art, he will win Hart without any questions. If he does not win Art, he is still the favorite to win the Hart. Was head and shoulders above anyone else before the injury. Crosby lifted linemate Chris Kunitz to a different level this season:Kunitz is still 4th in the league scoring (Kunitz has scored only 1 goal in the last 8 games without Crosby.. 20 goals in 34 games with Crosby). Crosby led Pens to a unbeaten streak (15-0-0) for one calendar month, first time in the NHL history a team has done that. Crosby scored 25 points in 15 games during the streak.
Ovehckin: Has had monsterous second half, 36 points in the last 27 games, (including 22 goals). First 16 games only produced 10 points (5 goals). The weak start of the season will probably mean that AO wont win the Hart this year. But he has still 6 games left, and if he can manage to capture Rocket Richard and Art Ross, he will truly challenge Crosby for the MVP. Anything is possible when Ovechkin is on hot streak. Ovehckin has lifted Washington to 3rd place in East Confrence.
Tavares: Without Tavares, Islanders would not be a playoff-team. It´s that simple. 24 goals, 42 points in 42 games. Has been more quiet in the last 10 games, which probably means he does not have a chance in beating Ovechkin/Crosby in the voting. Still, a great season for Tavares.
Bobrovsky: If Columbus reach playoffs Bobrovsky will definately be in top3 regarding Hart voting. Bobrovsky=Columbus for the last half of the season. Pretty much a lock for the Vezina.
Big questions regarding Hart are:
-Will AO´s hot streak last for the final 6 games? He will need at least 10 points to take away the scoring title. Its more likely, that he will need 12-14 points to win it. It´s pretty obvious that he has to at least tie Crosby´s point totals in order to challenge him regarding Hart, because Crosby will have 6-10 games less than AO.
-When will Crosby be back? The assumption is, that Crosby will be back before the regular season end. That will mean 2-3 games. In Crosby´s case, 3-5 points more.
-Will Columbus make the playoffs?
As seen by recent games and all of last season, Pittsburgh is a contender for the president's trophy even without Crosby.
Except last year the Pens had a healthy Art Ross/Hart-winning Malkin who with 100+ pts and this year's he's missed 1/3 of the season so far and has only 29 pts. And Letang was out for much of that stretch they were playing their best... and Martin is out.
And there was no drop-off without Crosby this year? After winning 15 games in a row carried by Crosby with other key guys out, they went out and got thrashed 2 games in a row 4-1 and 6-1 to the lowly Sabres and the Rangers. During that winning streak they were getting offense almost entirely from the Kunitz - Crosby - Dupuis line many games and dont embarass yourself into thinking that is not because of Sid. Kunitz has largely been an offensive non-factor since Sid went out with just 1 goal on a slight deflection.
Anyone who thinks Crosby is not massively valuable and crucial to the Penguins is insane.