As the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs wind down to the top four teams, two of the teams involved have a Hart Trophy candidate still playing. The Hart Trophy is awarded to the most valuable player to his team in the National Hockey League. The three finalists are three of the biggest names this season, but the debate is heating up over who deserves it most. This betting guide will offer some of the best value plays for who will be the most valuable player for this season.
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (+400)
Entering the prime years of his career, Connor McDavid is a marvel to watch. He’s a generational talent who comes by once in a lifetime and one hockey fans will remember for a long time. At 25, he recorded career highs in goals (44), assists (79), and points (123) in what was his most productive season to date. He finished the year at a 1.54 points-per-game rate and was eight points ahead of the second-place Jonathan Huberdeau and Johnny Gaudreau.
The Oilers have found a way to properly insulate him with the talent to complement his game, and McDavid has since strapped this team to his back. Every time the puck touches McDavid’s stick, a highlight is featured the following morning for hockey fans to become enamoured over. He gets it done at even-strength, on special teams, and both the regular season and the postseason. Most years, he’s a shoo-in to take home the Hart Trophy, but this year may be his biggest challenge.
Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (+600)
The New York Rangers might not have ended up where they did in the standings if it wasn’t for Igor Shesterkin‘s heroics. He posted the league’s best save percentage and goals against and finished sixth for wins with 36. His .935 SV% and 2.07 GAA were career highs, and his 38 Quality Starts of 53 appearances nearly doubled last year’s total of 20. He’s gone from a top-five finalist for the Calder Trophy to now a top-three candidate for the Hart Trophy.
He’s in tough against two of the NHL’s best and most productive players this season. While his stats helped elevate him to superstar status, he brings in the highest odds to take home the Hart. The last time a goaltender won the Hart was Carey Price in the 2014-15 season. He posted a .933 SV% and a 1.97 GAA, with 44 wins in 66 starts. He edged out Alex Ovechkin, who scored over 50 goals for the sixth time in his career, and an 86-point season from John Tavares.
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (+150)
The man that the city of Toronto calls “Papi,” Auston Matthews was a man possessed. Hitting 60 goals and over 100 points for the first time in his career, Matthews led the league in goal-scoring and on the power play. He was absolutely dynamite every time the puck touched his stick, as Maple Leafs fans have grown to appreciate, but his 2021-22 season took many by surprise. Coming off a 41-goal campaign last season, a year he missed time due to a wrist injury, he took the NHL by storm.
Matthews is the odds-on favourite to take home the Hart Trophy, and that should come as no surprise. He makes a compelling argument with the fact that he’s the only player to hit 60 goals this season. Throughout the last four seasons, Matthews has taken over the goal-scoring race with 185 goals. He may be in good competition with McDavid this year, but chances are he’ll be bringing the award home to the city of Toronto for the first time since 1954-55 when Ted Kennedy earned the honour.
Odds via SportsBettingDime.com
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