All Hart Memorial Trophy betting odds listed are as of 10/11/2021.
Given it’s been three years since players have played a full and uninterrupted 82-game regular season, the NHL’s MVP race in 2021-22 should be an intense and interesting one.
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Here’s a quick look at the odds and outlooks of the top five early-season favorites to be named league MVP.
Connor McDavid, Edmonton — +300
Who else would be the favorite if not last year’s MVP winner? A repeat would give Connor McDavid his third total MVP award, matching his total with that of other three-time winners like Orr, Ovechkin, and Lemieux. The 24-year old center would also be the first repeat winner since Ovechkin in 2007-08/2008-09.
The lefty will be entering his sixth NHL season this fall, and his production has shown no signs of plateauing just yet: in last year’s shortened season, McDavid averaged nearly two points a game, an uptick over an already incredible 1.5 points per game in 2019-20.
Nathan McKinnon, Colorado — +650
A bet on MacKinnon is basically a bet that Connor McDavid will come back down to earth (or even just approach it slightly).
Nate the Great improved upon his remarkable 1.35 points per game average over each of the past two seasons (compared to McDavid’s 1.68), and doing so again would surely earn him his third-straight and fourth overall finalist bid for the award. The four-time All-Star will miss the beginning of the season due to COVID, a situation worth monitoring if you are looking for slightly longer odds before making a wager on MacKinnon.
Auston Matthews, Toronto — +700
Auston Matthews has been an established star for a few seasons now, and one still on the rise. His goals/60 minutes rate has steadily increased each of his five seasons (from 1.7 in 2016-17 to 2.2 last season) and he’s also averaging an assist in nearly every other game.
Buyer beware: Matthews hasn’t logged more than 70 games a season since his rookie year, and he’ll begin 2021/22 by missing at least the first three games of the season recovering from wrist surgery. Though if he continues to collect points at an increasingly faster pace, the other contenders on this list getting a headstart might not even matter.
Nikita Kucherov — +800
After missing all of the 2020-21 regular season with a hip injury, all Nikita Kucherov did in the playoffs was tally a postseason career-high 32 points in 23 games. But whether or not the post-surgery Kuch will be able to sustain that kind of performance (or his health in general) makes him perhaps the biggest wildcard on this list.
However, if he can keep that momentum rolling it won’t be unfamiliar territory–in his last regular season (2019-20), Kucherov finished second to only Leon Draisatl in points. And the year before that? He merely won the Hart.
David Pastrnak, Boston — +1200
Another player we’ve seen come into his prime the past few seasons, Pasta is just two seasons removed from winning the 2019-20 Richard Maurice Rocket trophy. That year, he led the league in goals, power-play goals, and game-winning goals.
Now fifth among active NHLers in goals per game, the Czech winger will try to recapture the magic of two seasons ago after a small backslide last year.