NHL Odds: Crosby, Karlsson, Matthews 2016-17 award favorites

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Bovada released its preseason odds for the NHL’s biggest individual awards for the 2016-17 season.

After winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP and making a second half climb up the scoring leaderboard, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is the preseason favorite to win Art Ross Trophy (2/1) and MVP award (7/2).

Crosby already has a pair of scoring titles and MVPs on his resume and is looking to become just the fourth player ever to win three of each award (Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux are the players that already have). Crosby probably isn’t going to be the 110 or 120 point scorer he was a few years ago, but you are probably going to see him be closer to the player he was in the second half of the 2015-16 season than the first half.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, the winner of both awards in 2015-16, opens as the No. 2 favorite for the Art Ross (5/1) and MVP (7/1).

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid is tied with Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn with 6/1 odds to win the scoring title. Even though he only played in 45 games in his rookie season due to injury, McDavid was still third in the NHL last season in points per game.

Let’s take a quick look at the rest of the early awards favorites.

Norris Trophy

This will probably turn into another year-long debate about what the award is supposed to represent, but Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, already the owner of two Norris Trophies, opens up as a 3/1 favorite to win this season. If he wins a third, he will be just the eighth defenseman to ever do it. The 2016 winner, Drew Doughty, opens as a 6/1 favorite just behind Karlsson.

Shea Weber, 17/2, could be a great sleeper pick in this if you’re looking for somewhat of a long shot. Not necessarily because he is going to be the best defenseman in hockey (he won’t be), but because of the way voting tends to go in these things. He is probably going to score a ton of goals for the Canadiens, with Carey Price back in the mix the Canadiens are probably going to be an improved team for that reason alone, and with Doughty winning the award last year Weber will probably be the next defenseman in the “I can’t believe he has yet to win one of these” discussions. All of the ingredients are there.

Vezina Trophy

When he is healthy Carey Price is the guy that drives the bus for the Canadiens. After winning pretty much every major award in 2014-15, he missed almost all of the 2015-16 season due to injury. He opens up as the leading favorite 7/2) to win the Vezina this season. Washington’s Braden Holtby is second at 5/1.

Price looked great at the World Cup of Hockey for Canada and if he is able to stay healthy this season he should not only help the Canadiens bounce back from a forgettable season, but also remind everybody that he still is the best goalie in hockey.

Calder Trophy

This year’s rookie class may not be as deep as the one we saw in 2015-16, but with Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine leading the draft class there is still a lot of great young talent making its debut in the NHL this season.

Matthews, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, is the leading favorite (5/8) to win, while Laine is right behind him at 11/4. Arizona’s Dylan Strome, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft behind Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, comes in at 8/1. William Nylander, one of the other great young prospects in Toronto, is fourth at 10/1.

It is worth noting that even the No. 1 overall pick has won in two of the past three years (Nathan MacKinnon in 2014 and Aaron Ekblad in 2015), the top pick has only gone on to win the rookie of the year award that season in three of the past 20 years (Kane was the other).

Maurice Richard Award

No surprise here, but Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is a 2/1 favorite to win the NHL’s goal scoring crown this season, something he has done six times in his career and each of the past four seasons.

Nobody has really been close to him in any of those years. As long as he stays healthy (and as long as the 2010-2012 Capitals and their coaching staffs don’t show up) this is probably the safest bet there is in hockey.

St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, owner of the second best odds, is at 11/2.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.