NHL MVP Odds/Hart Trophy Odds: The Case For & Against McDavid/MacKinnon
By: Ryan Gilbert
The NHL MVP race for the Hart Trophy has been down to a few players for a bit now. Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche are each at the top as +150 favorites.
With the All-Star break in the rear-view mirror, let’s take a look at the top two candidates and why they might win or lose the 2020 Hart Trophy.
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Connor McDavid (Hart Trophy Odds: +150)
Why He’ll Win the Hart Trophy: Connor McDavid is the face of the Edmonton Oilers and one of the faces of the entire league. He is tied for the lead league with 77 points after coming back from a serious knee injury. He is also tied for the lead league in assists with 50 to go along with 27 goals.
McDavid is averaging over 22 minutes per game, which is a lot more than the typical forward – and more than some defenseman. No one can catch McDavid on the ice and it’s going to be tough to catch him in the MVP race.
Why He Won’t Win the Hart Trophy: The player who is tied with McDavid for the lead league in points (77) and assists (50) just happens to be his teammate – and sometimes linemate – Leon Draisaitl. The two have been a dynamic duo for the Oilers and voters will split votes between the two teammates. They have identical stat lines through 50 games and Draisaitl plays more (22:34) than McDavid (22:13) per game. If McDavid isn’t the MVP on his team, there’s no way he’s the MVP of the league.
Verdict: McDavid has the flashy goals, bigger name and is more recognized. Draisaitl won’t take many votes away from him, but it’s worth worrying about.
Nathan MacKinnon (Hart Trophy Odds: +150)
Why He’ll Win the Hart Trophy: Nathan MacKinnon has put the playoff-bound Colorado Avalanche on his back. Gabriel Landeskog
and Mikko Rantanen both have struggled and dealt with injuries this season while MacKinnon has been going strong the whole way.
MacKinnon is right behind the Oilers duo in points with 72 in just 49 games. He has 30 goals, tied for fourth in the league, and 42 assists, tied for sixth in the league. He is also a +7 while the Oilers’ duo are both minuses. MacKinnon is second in the league with 48 even-strength points while McDavid has been helped out with more power-play production and just 42 even-strength points.
Why He Won’t Win the Hart Trophy: The Avalanche are second place in their division but could easily fall out of the playoffs if they go on a losing streak. MacKinnon’s point total is impressive, but he won’t be able to win the Hart Trophy if he doesn’t stay within five points or less of McDavid.
Verdict: There is no one taking the spotlight away from MacKinnon in Colorado. He is the heart of the Avalanche and should be the MVP.
Neither McDavid nor MacKinnon is running away with the MVP right now, but if you had to bet on the Hart Trophy and want a horse in the race, go with MacKinnon.