How the Return of McDavid Has Affected the NHL MVP Odds/Hart Trophy Odds
By: Ryan Gilbert
Connor McDavid made his triumphant return from a short-term injury this week and boy has he showed up. He didn’t miss a beat in his two games this week through while Nathan MacKinnon had a tougher time in three games and the NHL MVP Odds/Hart Trophy odds are making it clear that this is essentially a two-man race. But which man is on top at the end of February?
Connor McDavid (Hart Trophy Odds/NHL MVP Odds: +125)
McDavid was expected to miss two to three weeks with a lower-body injury, but the forward returned at the frontend of that timeline and he has made some noise.
He scored a goal and added two assists for a three-point night in the Oilers’ win against the Kings on Sunday, then picked up another three-point game (all assists) in an overtime loss to the Ducks on Tuesday before going pointless in his next outing.
Prior to his blank in his latest game, McDavid was tied for fourth in the league with six points. He was behind only Mika Zibanejad (nine points in four games), as well as Mark Scheifele and Artemi Panarin, who each had seven points in four games.
The Oilers are currently third in their division and have a four-point cushion on a playoff spot.
McDavid now has 87 points (31 goals and 56 assists) in 58 games this season. He is third in the league in points, third in assists, and tied for ninth in goals.
The dynamic duo of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are leading the way for the Oilers, which could always cause voters to question whether McDavid is truly worthy of MVP when his teammate has more points. That is one of the few things holding McDavid back from being an even bigger favorite.
The Oilers also added a few wingers at the trade deadline to play with McDavid. Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis are speedy, scoring wingers who should be able to keep up with McDavid, only increasing his potential point total.
Nathan MacKinnon (Hart Trophy Odds/NHL MVP Odds: +200)
Nathan MacKinnon only had two points, both of which were assists in the same game, in three games in the past week. He had no points in either of the Avalanche’s games in a back-to-back set in Anaheim and Los Angeles. However, that may be good news for the star center.
MacKinnon has not gone without a point in more than two straight games this season. The only other time he did it, in early November, he burst out of his “slump” with four points (one goal, three assists) in a win against the Nashville Predators. MacKinnon and the Avalanche could be due for a big game on Wednesday Night Hockey when they host the Buffalo Sabres.
While McDavid may have more points, MacKinnon definitely has a better argument for the Hart Trophy. MacKinnon is the guy in Colorado. With 85 points, he has nearly as many points as the next two highest Avalanche players combined. Andre Burakovsky (45 points) and Cale Makar (45 points) have just six more points combined than MacKinnon has this season. It’s a one-man show.
Furthermore, the Avalanche are firmly in a playoff spot and have been for most of the season. Even with injuries to Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog this season, MacKinnon has led the Avalanche to success.
At +200 for the Hart Trophy, my money would be on MacKinnon.