Move over, Sidney Crosby: There’s a new kid in town. Connor McDavid has taken over as the NHL’s marquee attraction and consensus top player. McGregor won the Hart Memorial Trophy last year as the league’s most valuable player. He also won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer (30 goals and 70 assists for 100 points), and was the center on the First All-Star Team – relegating Crosby to the Second Team.

Crosby won’t mind too much after his Pittsburgh Penguins won the most important trophy of them all: the Stanley Cup. But it looks like he’ll be taking a back seat to McDavid from now on. The early 2018 Hart Trophy odds have hit the NHL futures market, and McDavid is the +140 favorite at press time, with Crosby at +275 and Toronto Maple Leafs phenom Auston Matthews a distant third at +850 on the NHL betting lines.


Digging for Oil

It’s a bit strange these days to see two players dominate the NHL MVP odds. Thanks to expansion and the salary cap, there are more than a few viable Hart candidates out there; eight different players, including Crosby, have claimed this award over the past eight seasons. Past winners include Alex Ovechkin (+950) of the Washington Capitals, Patrick Kane (+1400) of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Evgeni Malkin (+1800) of the Penguins.

The members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, who decide the Hart winner, tend to reward players from the top teams. And McDavid has helped turn the Oilers into Stanley Cup co-favorites with the defending champions (+800). He’s the cornerstone of Edmonton’s version of “The Process”; the Oilers were so bad for so long, they were able to pick four players at No. 1 in the NHL Draft between 2010 and 2015, including McDavid himself.

That’s not all the Oilers have going for them. They also took center Leon Draisaitl with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, and he’s blossomed into the team’s second-leading scorer (29 goals and 48 assists for 77 points last season). But Draisaitl doesn’t have a spot on the 2018 NHL MVP odds list, either. Nor do any of Edmonton’s other prized young players. This makes it even more likely that McDavid will continue to dominate the NHL Hart Trophy futures market, since Crosby still faces the challenge of splitting Hart votes with Malkin. It’s an old rule in NHL betting that anytime you’re dealing with futures odds, the favorites aren’t where the betting value is. McDavid might be the exception that proves the rule.


*Odds as of September 27, 2017