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McDavid Among NHL Stars With Most Pressure Entering Playoffs

Is this the year Connor McDavid finally wins the Stanley Cup? This is often wondered as the NHL’s best player has yet to add that elusive ring to his collection. The Edmonton Oilers are a trendy hockey bet today given their short odds. But if Edmonton falls short yet again, it will be McDavid facing the blame whether he deserves it or not. He’s not the only star facing tremendous pressure.


McDavid Among NHL Stars With Most Pressure Entering Playoffs
Connor mcDav id #97 of the Edmonton Oilers | Claus Andersen/Getty Images/AFP

These NHL Stars Must Deliver in the Playoffs

There will be hell to pay if stars like McDavid fail to “show up” on the grandest stage of pro hockey. The Oilers are tied for the second shortest NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup at +800. Anything short of a Stanley Cup Final appearance may be seen as an utter failure.

McDavid has 75 points in 49 career playoff games. He even led the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs in scoring with 33 points in 16 games. Yet his Oilers have made it past the second round just once in his career. From a statistical perspective, McDavid is not to blame. But we can’t say the same for many of the other stars.


Mitchell Marner, F, Toronto Maple Leafs

There is plenty of blame to pass around when the uber-talented Toronto Maple Leafs have just one playoff series win in their last eight tries. We’ll single out Mitchell Marner as he continues to disappear when it matters. Marner came up big against Tampa Bay last season with 11 points in six games, only to vanish against Florida with three points in five games.

Should Marner fail to produce, and the Leafs are bounced early, it could spell the end of his tenure with them. It’s not shocking as his contract, along with other key players for the Leafs, is set to expire by 2025.


Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark, G, Boston Bruins

The entire Boston Bruins team is on the hot seat entering this postseason. No one will forget how they blew a 3-1 series lead against Florida last playoffs. Goaltenders Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman got outplayed by Sergei Bobrovsky. Whoever starts should be strong in net to avoid last season’s disaster, when Boston won the Presidents’ Trophy by 22 points.

Swayman should be our NHL prediction to be the man in the middle. He’s been stellar for Boston this regular season, but so was Ullmark when he succumbed to the pressure last time.


Miro Heiskanen, D, Dallas Stars

Dallas shares the shortest online sports betting odds to win the Cup at +700. The Stars have consistently made deep playoff runs and were the runners-up in 2020. So it behooves this team to get it done and all eyes will be on defenseman Miro Heiskanen, arguably the team’s best player.

The potential Norris Trophy finalist anchors Dallas’ blueline. If the Stars are to deliver, Heiskanen must be nothing short of a Conn Smythe Trophy contender.


Artemi Panarin, F, New York Rangers

Playing in the “Big Apple” comes with big expectations. As the 120-point man on the East’s top team, Artemi Panarin must play like he’s the best star on Broadway. He was held to just two points in the Rangers’ first-round exit last season. That’s unacceptable and he’ll have to play much better.

The Rangers have wide lines to advance to the next round after crushing it as an NHL over/under pick. But that only means it will be a harder fall if they do.


Bo Horvat, F, New York Islanders

Bo Horvat is another New York star under scrutiny. Like Panarin, he was held to two points as his Islanders were outmatched against the Hurricanes last season. While the expectations are not as high in Long Island, it is still a title-starved town and the fans can get just as raucous.

On top of that, the Islanders paid a lot for Horvat. And seeing his old team, the Vancouver Canucks, flourish without him should put pressure on Horvat to deliver as he did in the 2020 playoffs.



Questions Of The Day

Which player is the best bet to lead the NHL playoffs in scoring?

Connor McDavid should have the shortest odds to lead the playoffs in scoring, as he did in 2022.

Will a Canadian team win the Stanley Cup in 2024?

The odds are bearish on a Canadian team winning the Stanley Cup this year. But it will shatter all forms of NHL news if one does.

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