I personally think Burns should be leading considering he is a D man and is 2 points of the lead. However Carter is having a fantastic season, id say he would be in the top 5 for voting thus far. Probably 4th or 5th.
I just don't see how a player who current has 21% of his teams goals and has points in 37% of his team goals would not be a strong consideration for the hart as most valuable player.. Yes Crosby, McDavid, Burns, Dubnyk, and Kane are having outstanding season, but in terms of most valuable to their team, Carter should probably win at the moment as long as the Kings make the playoffs.
I'm not a fan of the argument that the Hart goes to the player who's responsible for the largest percentage of his team's success, or scores the largest portion of his team's goals, whatever. Then it becomes a contest for who was the best player on a mediocre team. A guy like Crosby can still provide more value and contribute more to winning hockey games than anyone else in the league, even with Malkin and Phil the Thrill backing him up, even though it may not be the largest amount proportional to the rest of his team. Kovalchuk shouldn't have gotten the Hart while he was with the Thrashers, for example, even though he scored approximately 128% of his team's goals.
That being said, Carter absolutely belongs in the conversation. I hate the Kings and I hate Jeff Carter - and I really can't state this enough, I ****ing hate him and his face and the rest of that ****ball team - but he's a phenomenal player who has actually found another gear this season, it seems like. I also think that, while he's a great goal scorer, his defensive game gets underrated too. He's a near elite player in all three zones and I don't think he gets enough credit for that.