- Connor McDavid is consolidating his claim to best hockey player on the planet.
- Two bad Canadian teams have something to cheer about: young stars in contention for hardware.
- Two months into the year, who are the Hart, Vezina, Norris, and Calder favorites?
Two months and about 25 games into the regular season, the contenders for the major player awards are emerging. Below, find the latest MTS odds for the Hart (MVP), Vezina (best goalie), Norris (best defenseman), and Calder (best rookie).
|HART TROPHY CONTENDERS||STATS||ODDS|
|Connor McDavid (Oilers)||13 G – 20 A – 33 P||3/1|
|Nathan MacKinnon (Avalanche)||17 G – 20 A – 37 P||5/1|
|Nikita Kucherov (Lightning)||9 G – 24 A – 33 P||12/1|
|Mikko Rantanen (Avalanche)||10 G – 30 A – 40 P||12/1|
|Jeff Skinner (Sabres)||19 G – 8 A – 27 P||19/1|
|Alex Ovechkin (Capitals)||18 G – 10 A – 28 P||19/1|
The MVP is a two-horse race so far between a couple thoroughbreads: McDavid and MacKinnon. MacKinnon’s Avalanche are well ahead of McDavid’s Oilers, but McDavid gets the edge because of what he means to his team. He has six more points than the second-highest scoring Oiler (Leon Draisaitl) and 11 more points than third (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins).
While MacKinnon leads Colorado in goals, he’s actually second on the team in points, behind NHL scoring leader Mikko Rantanen (10G – 30 A – 40 P). The narrative around Colorado will be the strength of their top line as a whole (MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog) which will attenuate MacKinnon’s and Rantanen’s chances at individual accolades
Skinner has arguably been the most valuable to his team so far, but it’s hard to project him (or the Sabres, for that matter) continuing their torrid pace, given how he/they have performed over the past few seasons.
As for Ovechkin, his 18 goals are 9 more than the next highest-scoring Capital (TJ Oshie) and the Caps have moved into first in the Metropolitan Division. But again, the narrative around Washington has focused on how good the team has been since the return of Tom Wilson. Narrative plays a big part in MVP conversations.
|VEZINA TROPHY CONTENDERS||STATS||ODDS|
|Pekka Rinne (Predators)||1.77 GAA, .938 SV%, 10-3-1 W/L||3/2|
|Jaroslav Halak (Bruins)||2.06 GAA, .936 SV%, 8-3-2 W/L||8/1|
|John Gibson (Ducks)||2.57 GAA, .926 SV%, 8-8-4 W/L||9/1|
|Marc-Andre Fleury (Golden Knights)||2.36 GAA, .911 SV%, 13-8-1 W/L||12/1|
|Semyon Varlamov (Avalanche)||2.32 GAA, .927 SV%, 9-5-2 W/L||12/1|
Pekka Rinne is leading the league in both GAA and SV% for the first-place Predators. He’s also the defending champion. The only race at this point in time is the race for second. Rinne would be an odds-on favorite, even at this early stage of the year, but for injury concerns.
Andrei Vasilevsky (Lightning) was Rinne’s main competition, but he’s out for up to six weeks with a broken foot.
|NORRIS TROPHY CONTENDERS||STATS||ODDS|
|Mark Giordano (Flames)||2 G – 20 A – 22 P, +13, 24:19 TOI, 56.7 CF%||6/1|
|Morgan Rielly (Leafs)||9 G – 18 A – 27 P, +11, 22:04 TOI, 49.4 CF%||7/1|
|John Carlson (Capitals)||5 G – 21 A – 26 P, +10, 25:36 TOI, 51.2 CF%||7/1|
|Brent Burns (Sharks)||3 G – 22 A – 25 P, +1, 23:48 TOI, 56.3 CF%||7/1|
|Ryan Suter (Wild)||3 G – 16 A – 19 P, +2, 25:45 TOI, 49.0 CF%||9/1|
This race is as wide open as any. Mark Giordano is quietly having a Norris-caliber season, sitting top five in points and plus/minus and boasting the best Corsi among the Norris contenders. But it’s still anyone’s award to win at this point.
Thomas Chabot (Senators) is a notable absence. He currently leads all defensemen in scoring (7 G – 22 A – 29 P). But he’s due for a significant regression. He has an awful Corsi of 46.8%. He’s already surpassed his rookie point total (9 G – 16 A – 29 P in 63 games). And the Senators, as a team, are not going to keep scoring at their current clip, meaning his assist pace will drop. Ottawa is 24th in the league in shots per game (29.9) yet sit third in goals per game (3.56). Say it with me: regression to the mean!
|CALDER TROPHY CONTENDERS||STATS||ODDS|
|Elias Pettersson (C, Canucks)||13 G – 8 A – 21 P||5/6|
|Brady Tkachuk (LW, Senators)||9 G – 7 A – 16 P (in 14 GP)||7/1|
|Rasmus Dahlin (D, Sabres)||2 G – 11 A – 13 P, 19:12 TOI, +7||7/1|
|Miro Heiskanen (D, Stars)||4 G – 6 A – 10 P, 22:53 TOI, -1||11/1|
|Calvin Petersen (G, Kings)||2.46 GAA, .927 SV%, 4-3-0 W/L||15/1|
Elias Pettersson leads all rookies in goals and points. He also has the highest upside of the 2018-19 rookies in terms of offensive talent. Good Lord, that release …
… but look out for Brady Tkachuk. Like all Tkachuks, he’s proving to have a nose for the net (despite his lackluster stats in college) and will continue to accumulate points because he’s willing to get dirty in the blue paint.