How an Avalanche of Points is Changing the 2020 NHL MVP Odds
Of all of the trophies in all of sports, perhaps the NHL’s Hart Trophy for the league’s most valuable player is the most intertwined with a team’s success. A player can have an amazing season, but if his team isn’t in the playoffs, then he isn’t rewarded (see: McDavid, Connor). However, if a player is able to carry his team to the postseason, then he is viewed highly by the voters and given a lot of recognition for the NHL MVP — especially if it is a one-man show.
That is the case for a few stars out there this season, but there are also some dynamic duos in the mix that could split votes. A few of the most favored Hart Trophy candidates come from the same team, in David Pastrnak (+325) and Brad Marchand (+500) of the Boston Bruins, or even the odds-on favorite, Connor McDavid (+200), who has just two more points than his teammate — and sometimes linemate — Leon Draisaitl, who is suspiciously absent from the NHL MVP favorites.
Many of the other favorites also have a strong supporting cast. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov (+900) leads his team in points (41), but the Lightning also have three other players among the top 50 in points in the league. That could take some draw away from him, especially if he remains in the high teens, like he is now tied for 15th with 41 points in 37 games.
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Why it Might be Best to Be a Lone Star When it Comes to NHL MVP Odds
Auston Matthews (+1000) is having a tremendous season, but even he has three teammates in the top 50 scorers, including star-studded forwards Mitchell Marner, John Tavares, and William
Then there are the players who are above and beyond compared to the rest of their team. Patrick Kane (+800) has long been tied to Jonathan Toews, but Kane (51 points) is carrying the Blackhawks … only they’re nowhere near a playoff spot.
Alex Ovechkin (+1200) has the track record and name recognition, but he has less points (39) than defenseman John Carlson (50) for the Capitals.
There are two players who stick out among the favorites for the Hart Trophy, and they represent a top team in each conference. Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has been nothing short of amazing this season, with 58 points in 40 games, good for fifth-most in the league. Now, he does have a supporting cast in Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, but both of those wingers missed long stretches (16 games) while MacKinnon was chugging along. Rantanen and Landeskog have combined for 43 points in 48 games while MacKinnon has 58 in 40.
MacKinnon has the third-best odds at +500 as he has the Avalanche with 50 points through 40 games this season, on pace for over 100 on the season — and individually on pace for nearly 120 points.
Last, but not least, is Evgeni Malkin. Yes, the man who has played second fiddle to Sidney Crosby throughout his career is finally getting the spotlight. Malkin, who missed some time this season with an injury of his own, is shouldering the load for the competitive Pittsburgh Penguins. He has 38 points in 26 games while making players like Bryan Rust perform at a point-per-game pace. He will continue to be relied upon as Jake Guentzel is now out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Nathan MacKinnon should continue to lead the charge for the Avalanche and you’ll want to get on board before the odds shift. MacKinnon at +500 and Malkin at +1200 are both great long-term bets.