It seems like yesterday when the 2020-21 NHL Season began, however, most teams are already reaching the 40-game mark. That means it’s about to be the time when some award decisions are finalized. Those awards include the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league’s most valuable player.
BetOnline has an odds list regarding the Hart Memorial Trophy. As it stands, Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid is favored to win at -250 odds. He previously won the award back in 2017.
McDavid has been a dominant force in the NHL this season. As of April 2, McDavid has suited up in 37 games for the Oilers, recording 21 goals and 63 points. To put that into perspective, that would put him on pace for 140 points in an 82-game season. Nobody has reached that number since Mario Lemieux (161) and Jaromir Jagr (149) did it in 1996.
McDavid’s Hart Memorial Trophy-level play has the Oilers at 22-14-1 with 45 points, just four back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for first in the North Division.
However, nothing is official until the Hart Memorial Trophy is handed out. With more than a month left of hockey to play, here’s a look at the other players who have a chance.
Hart Memorial Trophy Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Friday, April 2
- Connor McDavid -250
- Auston Matthews +450
- Patrick Kane +450
- Sidney Crosby +1200
- Mikko Rantanen +2000
- Anze Kopitar +2500
For the complete odds list, visit BetOnline.ag.
Auston Matthews Has Been Playing Like an MVP
Auston Matthews’ (+450) play this season has been a big reason why the Maple Leafs are Stanley Cup contenders this season. Not many players have been able to score as he has in 2021. While he’s missed some time, Matthews has 24 goals in 33 games, which leads the NHL.
If Matthews can end the season at the top of the goal standings, averaging 0.73 goals per game, that would give him some big points in the Hart Memorial Trophy race. However, one thing that could hold him back is that he doesn’t have the most points on his team. With 42 points, Matthews trails Mitch Marner, who has 46.
Matthews has played three fewer games than Marner, which explains the four-point difference. He’s also the type of player who can easily overcome that, especially with 19 or so games left in the season.
Is Patrick Kane a Dark Horse?
While the Chicago Blackhawks were a dynasty in the early 2010s, they’ve missed the playoffs three times in the last four seasons. Currently, they’re tied for the final playoff spot in the Central Division. Both the Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators have 39 points in 38 games. Patrick Kane has helped keep Chicago in the race, hence why he has +450 odds of winning the Hart Memorial Trophy.
However, Kane thinks McDavid should win the award.
Regardless, Kane has 49 points in 38 games, which would put him on pace for around 105 in 82 games. The next highest point total on the team belongs to Alex DeBrincat with 36. Having a 13-point lead on the next closest teammate should give Kane some credibility in the Hart Memorial Trophy Race.
Not to take anything away from McDavid, but the Oilers also have Leon Draistaitl, who has 54 points so far. As mentioned before, the Maple Leafs have Marner in addition to Matthews. Meanwhile, Kane doesn’t have a teammate of that caliber and is doing a lot of work in Chicago on his own.
The one thing that would really strengthen Kane’s odds of being the league MVP again would be if the Blackhawks make the playoffs. There hasn’t been a Hart Memorial Trophy winner on a non-playoff team since Lemieux won the award in 1988.