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.
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.
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.
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.