The NHL season will be here before anybody knows it so why not take an early look at how NHL predictions view the race for the prominent individual awards.
Connor McDavid, winner of the Hart Trophy, is the only major award winner listed by the NHL odds as the favorite to win again in 2023-24. One interesting note from the current odds is that the three Hughes brothers are in the top 10 with Jack Hughes (Hart), Quinn Hughes (Norris) and Luke Hughes (Calder) in contention for top individual honors.
According to the NHL betting lines, the Colorado Avalanche are the current favorites in the Stanley Cup odds at +800 followed by Carolina, New Jersey and Edmonton all priced at +1000. Stanley Cup champion Vegas, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs are next at +1200.
Hart Trophy: McDavid Still the One
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
After winning the Hart Memorial Trophy as the best player in the NHL for the third time in the last seven seasons, McDavid is given even odds by the NHL spreads to win it again. McDavid is coming off a season with 64 goals and 89 assists and added 20 points in 12 playoff games.
That would put him in select company as Alexander Ovechkin is the last player to win back-to-back Hart Trophy. He accomplished that feat in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. McDavid received all but one first-place vote to win the Hart Trophy.
Dominik Hasek, Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur, Bobby Clarke and Bobby Orr are the other back-to-back winners dating to the 1969-70 season. Orr won three times in a row and Gretzky was honored eight seasons in a row.
Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl are next at +900 and +1000. MacKinnon is coming off his first career 100-point season. However, staying healthy has been an issue. Draisaitl is a former Hart Trophy winner.
Four of the top eight candidates are former No. 1 overall picks with McDavid and MacKinnon joined by Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey’s Jack Hughes.
Vezina Trophy: Crowded at the Top
At this time last year, Linus Ullmark wasn’t guaranteed to be the starting goalie for the Boston Bruins. He ended up winning the Vezina Trophy.
With the Boston Bruins seeing Patrice Bergeron retire and the Bruins losing some other key contributors, there are six goalies with better Vezina Trophy odds than Ullmark.
Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders leads the way at +400 followed by Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers and Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators at +600.
Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck comes in at +700, though there are rumors circulating about Hellebuyck potentially being traded. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (+800) and the Dallas Stars‘ Jake Oettinger (+1200) are also ahead of Ullmark.
Filip Gustavsson, who thrived in his first season with the Minnesota Wild, is rising fast at +2000.
Norris Trophy: Makar To Return to the Top?
When it comes to the puck-moving defensemen, the biggest news was made when reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins from the San Jose Sharks.
When looking at the NHL betting lines, the players with the best odds to win the award are the two young defensemen who preceded Karlsson as the Norris Trophy winner.
Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche comes in at +175 to make it two Norris Trophy wins in the last three seasons with Adam Fox of the New York Rangers next at +500.
Speaking of youngsters, 23-year-old Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres can’t be overlooked at +800 with Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins and the Dallas Stars’ Miro Heiskanen tied at +1200. Karlsson comes in tied for ninth in the Norris Trophy odds at +3000.
Calder Trophy: Bedard the Heavy Favorite
Connor Bedard was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and is the overwhelming choice to be named the rookie of the year.
Bedard is priced by the Las Vegas NHL odds at -175 in the Calder Trophy odds. His closest competitor is New Jersey Devils defenseman Luke Hughes. Hughes turned pro after scoring 27 goals in two seasons at the University of Michigan. He had a goal and an assist in two regular-season games and two assists in three playoff games.
A goalie hasn’t won the Calder Trophy since Steve Mason of Columbus after the 2008-09 season. Could that change? Buffalo’s Devon Levi has the third-best odds at +800. Levi was 5-2 with a 2.94 goals-against average in seven games with the Sabres after two brilliant seasons at Northeastern while center Adam Fantilli, the No. 3 pick by Columbus in the most recent draft, is next at +1000. Fantilli had 30 goals and 35 assists in 36 games in his lone season at the University of Michigan.
There is a bit of a gap after that with New Jersey Devils defenseman Simon Nemec, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Brandt Clarke and winger Matthew Knies of the Toronto Maple Leafs all checking in at +1800.
Center Logan Cooley of Arizona and defenseman David Jiricek of Columbus aren’t far behind at +2000.
Knies got into seven playoff games and three others during the regular season and finished with a goal and four assists. Clarke had two assists in nine games while Jiricek got into four games with the Blue Jackets during the 2022-23 season. Former University of Michigan star Matty Beniers of the Seattle Kraken won the Calder Trophy after the 2022-23 season.