Hart Trophy Odds Analysis
NHL MVP Monthly Ladder
By Bob Duff
Sid The Kid, isn’t a kid anymore – Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will turn 30 next August – but he’s not looking at all like he’s ready to relinquish his throne as the NHL’s most dominant player to 19-year-old Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid.
Two months into the season, these two are running neck and neck for the Hart Trophy, and at this stage of the race, you’d have to say it’s even money on either of them picking up the hardward next June at the NHL Awards.
A look at the current Hart Trophy favorites, with odds provided by PaddyPower.com:
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (+210)
Threatening to lead the Oilers to their first Stanley Cup playoff appearance since 2005-06, McDavid continued to pace the NHL scoring race as the calendar switched from November to December. As of Dec. 2 he was riding a seven-game point streak, with 6-9-15 numbers over that span.
McDavid posted 10 multi-point games in 25 games – six for three points and four for two points. With 82 points through his first 70 NHL games, only Wayne Gretzky (115) and Blair MacDonald (83) collected more in Oilers franchise history.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (+500)
A concussion kept Crosby out of action until Oct. 25 but once he suited up, he set a course for the top. Crosby scored four goals in his first three games and with 16 goals in just 18 games, led the NHL in goal-scoring through games of Dec. 2.
There’s nothing that ignites a champion like a challenge and Crosby, the Hart Trophy winner in 2006-07 and 2013-14, appears to have responded to the gauntlet thrown down by McDavid.
Don’t Count Out
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (+500)
The wording on the Hart Trophy suggests that it is to go “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”
If you do the analytics, you have to fancy Price’s stats. Last year, as the Canadiens netminder missed the majority of the season due to injury, the Habs plummeted from second overall in the East to playoff outsiders. With a healthy Price leading the NHL in wins (13) and save percentage (.946), Montreal is a Presidents’ Trophy contender.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (+1000)
Maybe all the Russian needed was a little taste of cold weather to heat up. Tarasenko has scored nine goals since Nov. 5 and through Dec. 2 had recorded a point in 11 of his last 13 games. The St. Louis right-winger sat third in the NHL in both goals (13) and points (27).
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (+850)
Since nine-time Hart Trophy winner Wayne Gretzky retired in 1999, only once has a player won back-to-back Harts – Washington’s Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 and 2008-09 – so the odds were stacked against Kane from the get-go. He’s played solidly all season long, with 10 points in October and 14 in November. It’s going to make for a good season but it’s not a Hart-worthy performance.
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks (+2500)
When Price won the Hart in 2014-15, it ended a 13-season drought for goaltenders but if you think that was awhile, you need to talk to the NHL rearguard. Chris Pronger’s Hart Trophy win in 1999-2000 is the only one by a defenseman since 1972.
Burns leads all defenders with 10 goals and 22 points and is flirting with leading the Sharks in scoring but there’s a better chance of the bearded one shaving than there is of him winning the Hart.
Predicted winner: Connor McDavid (-210)
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