Taking an early look at the Conn Smythe Trophy odds
There is plenty of hockey remaining in the NHL Stanley Cup 2022 playoffs, as not one of the 16 teams has been eliminated… theoretically. Perhaps that change Monday night when the Nashville Predators look to avoid getting swept at the hands of the Cup-betting-favorite Colorado Avalanche.
The Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) odds start with the Avalanche duo of Nathan Mackinnon and Cale Makar. Naturally, as the playoffs progress, the pecking order figures to change. Here’s a look at how things stand as the first-round series starts to get into gear.
An Avalanche of Colorado candidates
The Colorado Avalanche have the lowest odds to win the Cup, with a chance to become the first team to punch their ticket into the second round. Thus, it makes sense Colorado players currently dominate odds in the Smythe.
Led by Nathan Mackinnon, the centerman who has four goals and one assist in the first three games of the series against the Predators, Mackinnon is the favorite heading into Monday night’s game, priced at +500.
Teammate Cale Makar, who was named one of the three finalists for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman in league), is next, priced at +800. He’s Colorado leader with seven points thus far in the playoffs.
Winger Mikko Rantanen (+1800) and goalie Darcy Kuemper (+2000) are other top Smythe candidates for the Avalanche. Kuemper’s situation bears watching as he left the third game against Nashville after being struck in the face with a stick.
Kuemper currently has the best odds among goaltenders, with the 2021 Smythe winner Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning sitting at +2200, Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom (+2500) is another goalie to watch, while Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers comes in at +3300.
Matthews is piling points
Leading the NHL in goals during the regular season for the second year in a row. Now, off to hot start in the, playoffs. That’s the Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Auston Matthews. Six points (two goals, four assists) in the first four games of the series against the Lightning.
Matthews, who scored both of his goals in the opening game of the series, has the third-lowest odds (+1200) to win the NHL’s Conn Smythe Trophy. American-born players won the Conn Smythe Trophy three years in a row (2011-13), with Tim Thomas, Jonathan Quick and Patrick Kane doing the honors. Since Kane won the award in 2013, no other American-born player has not won. Matthews may change that.
That’s quite the accomplishment, especially since Matthews should be one of the finalists-perhaps even the favorite-in the Hart Trophy (regular-season MVP) voting.
Panthers are popular picks
When it comes to the players with the lowest Conn Smythe Trophy odds, four of the top six choices come from teams either leading or tied in their series. The lone exceptions are Florida Panther teammates Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, both tied with Colorado’s Rantanen at +1800.
Huberdeau and Barkov each have a goal and an assist, but the team with the highest number of points during the regular season trails the Washington Capitals, 2-1, heading into Monday’s Game 4 in D.C. Calgary, down, 2-1, to Dallas in its series, also has some candidates to watch. Forward Johnny Gaudreau and goalie Jacob Markstrom both come in priced at +2500.
Leading undervalued scorers
Edmonton centerman Connor McDavid led the NHL with 123 points during the regular season. The Oilers, meanwhile, are locked in a battle with the Los Angeles Kings. Edmonton lost in the opening round of the playoffs in both 2020 and 2021. There are a dozen players with better Conn Smythe Trophy odds than McDavid.
McDavid, currently priced at +3000, looks like one of the betting frontrunners compared to current NHL playoff scoring leader Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins.
Marchand had two goals and three assists as the Bruins evened the series with the Carolina Hurricanes after a 5-2 win. His nine playoff points are two more than any other player going into Monday’s games. However, Marchand is well back at +6600 in the Conn Smythe odds.
Kirill the Thrill rising
While Marchand has been slow to gain among the list of candidates, the same can’t be said for Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov.
Kaprizov’s tied with Edmonton’s Evander Kane and David Perron of the St. Louis Blues for the playoff goal-scoring lead. Kaprizov’s five goals have lowered his number to +2200 in the Conn Smythe Trophy odds.
Held scoreless in the opener of the hotly-contested series with the St. Louis Blues, Kaprizov now has scored five goals (with an assist) in the last three.Follow us on Twitter