by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
The Tampa Bay Lightning obviously did not end their season the way they would have liked despite winning the Presidents’ Trophy, as they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets in stunning fashion. But the Lightning will no doubt take home some hardware at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas on June 19, with leading scorer Nikita Kucherov the favourite on the odds to win the Hart Trophy at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Kucherov enjoyed the most prolific season of his six-year career, which aligned perfectly with Tampa Bay’s outstanding campaign – until the playoffs. He led the NHL in points with 128 on a career-high 41 goals and a career-high 87 assists, with Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers second with a career-high 116 (41 goals and 75 assists). The combo of eye-popping personal stats and team success makes an easy case for Kucherov to take home the Hart Trophy at -1100 (bet $1100 to win $100).
McDavid won the award two years ago when he had 100 points (30 goals and 70 assists), but he led the Oilers to the postseason then and has missed out the past two years. The 22-year-old former No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft will be a contender for the Hart Trophy for most of his career as long as he stays healthy, and this year he is listed as the +1200 third choice (bet $100 to win $1200) behind Kucherov and two-time winner Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Some could see Crosby’s candidacy as a bit questionable this year, especially with Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks finishing third in the league in scoring with a career-high 110 points (44 goals and 66 assists) and carrying his team during stretches before their dreams of making the playoffs came to an end. Crosby did total 100 points for the sixth time in his illustrious career, something he did each of the previous two years when he won the Hart Trophy following the 2006-07 and 2013-14 seasons. But he probably should be more of a long shot than the odds of +750 to win it a third time.