NHL - Awards - Hart Memorial Trophy (reg. season)

The NHL season will be shortened season in 2021, but that won’t negate the awarding of trophies to the best players. That includes the biggest and best individual trophy of them all, the Hart Trophy. Edmonton star Connor McDavid and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon are considered two of the favorites, but there are plenty of hopefuls to consider. When it comes to NHL futures betting, the league MVP is one of the most popular markets. Check out the latest Hart Trophy odds below as well as tips when betting on the NHL award.

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5 Tips When Betting on the Hart Trophy

So, you want to correctly pick the Hart Trophy winner, on a futures bet? As with most prop bets, winners pay handsome returns, so let’s give some general tips on how to go about making that selection for fans of NHL betting.

1. Stay Away From Goalies

The last time a goalie won the Hart Trophy was 2014-15 (Carey Price), and just three have won it since 1997-98. While it’s true that goaltender is generally considered the most important position on a team, and while it would follow that a goalie would be the most valuable player on a team, the fact is that goalies already have their own award - the Vezina Trophy.

While goalies can still win the Hart, and many receive votes every year, the PHWA generally prefers a position player to win. If a goalie goes something like 60-10-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average, then sure, he should also win the Hart. But, again, goalies get their own trophy.

Bettors should also stay away from defensemen. The last defenseman to claim the MVP award was Chris Pronger with St. Louis in 1999-2000. Bobby Orr won it three straight times in the early 1970s, but he was the rare D-man to lead the league in points. He is, in fact, the last defenseman to do so (135 points in 1974-75).

2. Look Toward Centers

Of the last 15 Hart winners, seven were centers. First-line centers are often the leading scorers on their teams, and often of the whole league. And the fact is, NHL scoring leaders tend to win Hart Trophies. Leon Draisaitl of Edmonton won the trophy in 2019-20, and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon finished second. Both are centers.

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3. Stay Away From Losing Teams

A player might lead the league in scoring, but if his team doesn’t make the playoffs, he almost certainly will be overlooked. Voters don’t want to vote for a guy who, while he may have had gaudy stats, couldn’t help his team be a winner.

4. Look Toward Younger Players

The NHL has trended younger in recent years, so it makes sense that the best Hart Trophy candidates will be younger. Draisaitl was only 24 when he won the Hart in 2020, for instance. The NHL used to be an older player’s league, with players often playing to their late 30 or into their 40s. That isn’t happening as much anymore.

5. Avoid Players With Injury Histories

You may be sky high on the prospects of a certain player to win the league MVP, but hold on. Maybe he’s got a lengthy injury history? Maybe he plays such a rough-and-tough style that injuries are a more likely possibility. You want to avoid those players with your prop bet, because any kind of lengthy absence will negatively affect his statistics – and the Hart Trophy is largely a stats-based award.

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Our Pick to Win the Hart Trophy

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche, Center

MacKinnon, 25, has been a Hart Trophy finalist and runner-up twice, including this past season. We think this is the season the former No. 1 overall NHL pick ditches the bridesmaid label. MacKinnon is a solid choice to win because his Avalanche team is a favorite to win the Stanley Cup. In fact, Colorado is listed as the top choice to win at several sportsbooks for the upcoming season.

MacKinnon is Colorado’s first-line center and just entering his prime. His top competitors figure to be Draisaitl and Oiler teammate Connor McDavid, along with Auston Matthews, Artemi Panarin, Elias Pettersson and Nikita Kucherov.

Don’t overlook the guilt factor of the voters as to why MacKinnon might win too; there has been some outrage among Avalanche fans that their star has come up just short on two occasions. If MacKinnon is anywhere close to the league scoring title and Colorado is a solidly winning team in the regular season, voters may give him the benefit of the doubt in a close race.

Hart Trophy FAQ

What is the Hart Trophy?

The Hart Trophy is the NHL award given to the player judged most valuable to his team.

When is the Hart Trophy awarded?

During the NHL Awards Show, which is usually held a week or so after the end of the Stanley Cup Final.

Who is the favorite to win the Hart Trophy this season?

Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Auston Matthews, Artemi Panarin and Elias Pettersson are all among the favorites in early Hart Trophy odds.

Who won the Hart Trophy last season?

Edmonton Oiler Leon Draisaitl wont he Hart Trophy last season.

Who has won the Hart Trophy the most times?

Wayne Gretzky won the Hart Trophy a record nine times.

Who is the NHL’s Hart Trophy named for?

The Hart Trophy is named after Dr. David Hart, whose father, Cecil, was a longtime coach of the Montreal Canadiens. It was first awarded in 1924 to Frank Nighbor.

Who selects the NHL MVP?

Hart Trophy voting is conducted among members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and their ballots are due right after the conclusion of the regular season.