There was no question who should and who would win the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player last season
Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid was the unanimous decision to win the Hart after scoring 33 goals to go along with 72 assists for a league-leading 105 points. He did so on an Oilers team that overachieved in the regular season, obviously with McDavid’s brilliant play being the main reason for that success.
It almost certainly won’t be the last Hart Trophy he wins, as he had been knocking on the door in previous seasons, too. But there hasn’t been a repeat MVP winner since Alex Ovechkin took him the hardware in both 2008 and 2009.
McDavid is the clear favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, but if there’s a wide-open race, that should make for plenty of elsewhere outside the Oilers’ young gun.
HART TROPHY ODDS
Connor McDavid +200
Nathan MacKinnon +650
Auston Matthews +950
Nikita Kucherov +1200
David Pastrnak +1600
Leon Draisaitl +1600
Artemi Panarin +1600
Artemi Panarin (+1600) — We’re digging for some realistic value here, as trying to double your money with McDavid doesn’t feel like a complete waste of assets. However, Panarin has a bit longer odds and certainly has the potential. The Rangers star is just two years removed from finishing behind Draisaitl and MacKinnon in the voting, as he proved that year he can score goals in bunches, finding the back of the net 32 times in 69 games. He’ll skate on a line with Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko, while that New York power play — with Panarin on the first unit — could be one of the best in the NHL. Some believe the Rangers are poised for a nice bounce-back season and should contend for a Metropolitan Division crown. If that’s the case, Panarin’s play will be a big reason, and he plays in a big American market where he will receive plenty of attention. You can certainly see the path to him winning.
A little farther down the board, Mat Barzal (+2500) provides some value on an excellent Islanders team, as does Toronto’s Mitch Marner (+2500), who could be similar to Draisaitl winning two years ago despite his teammate (McDavid in Edmonton, and in this case, Matthews in Toronto) being the better overall player.