Connor McDavid remains favourite for Hart Trophy

Nov 22, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite the Oilers’ struggles and Connor McDavid not playing well by his standard, he remains favoured to win the Hart Trophy at the end of this season.

As of right now, we’d still declare Connor McDavid the best hockey player in the game today. At the same time however, he’s not played like it so far in 2023-24 and has been receiving unnecessary criticism from so-called Oilers fans.

As a knock-on effect, the Oilers are struggling with a 5-12-1 record through 18 games, which already has them 10 points out of a playoff spot. As such, it will come as a surprise to many that he remains favoured to win the Hart Memorial Trophy at the end of the season.

More specifically, the three-time winner of the MVP award, is still the betting favourite. As per PointsBet, he is ranked first at +300.

Connor McDavid just isn’t getting it done

These odds are despite the fact the Oilers have the third-fewest points in the NHL following Wednesday’s slate of games. As for individually, McDavid has just 16 points in 16 games, and is tied for the third-worst plus/minus rating on his team, at -8.

The points in particular would be pretty damn fine for the majority of NHL players, but not the 2015 first overall draft pick. He just isn’t himself this season, which has included him equalling his worst-ever goal drought of eight games.

For some context, McDavid’s previous worst return through his first 16 games of the season came during his rookie campaign, when he had 17 points. Now compare that with last season, when he had 32 points in his first 16 appearances.

As a result of this combination of information, it is interesting that PointsBet have yet to tweak the odds. In fact, as things stand, now is a good time to look at the current odds for some of the other players on their list.

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Other surprises

First up, let’s consider blue-liner Quinn Hughes, who leads the NHL with 31 points and is second with a +15 plus/minus rating. He has helped the Canucks surprise the league, as they are tied third on 27 points and with a record of 13-6-1.

Despite this, you can find Hughes down in ninth place, with odds of +3000. Mind you, at least he’s on the list, with J.T. Miller not even in PointsBet‘s top 30, despite being just one point behind his teammate.

Similar to Miller, the Leafs’ William Nylander also doesn’t currently make the top 30. This is despite being seventh in the NHL with 27 points, which is actually more than teammate Auston Matthews, who has 21 points and with both having played 17 games.

In respect of Matthews, he is ranked fourth by PointsBet with odds of +750, one place behind David Pastrnak with odds of +600. The Bruins hold the NHL’s best record and Pastrnak is tied third among all players with 29 points, and tied eighth with a +11 plus/minus rating.

Rounding out PointsBet‘s top five are the Devils’ Jack Hughes, who is second with +450 odds, and Elias Pettersson, with odds of +800. Hughes has 22 points in 12 games, although the Devils are struggling near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, while Pettersson has 20 points in 20 games as part of the Canucks’ NHL-leading scoring machine.

Will Connor McDavid justify his odds?

Turning this back to McDavid, in one respect you know he’s more than capable of hitting a hot streak, which would rack up the points and theoretically help the Oilers get back on track. After all, this is still the same player who last season scored the most points by a player since 1995-96, and helped the Oilers to 50 regular season wins.

Despite this, you figure the five-time Art Ross Trophy winner has to get his game and his team going asap, or they can forget about the playoffs. Regardless, you would assume PointsBet will revise their odds sooner than later, to reflect how the NHL season is playing out.

Next. The Oilers making a trade now would be a huge mistake. dark

As a final point, it’s worth noting that McDavid’s teammate Leon Draisaitl is currently tied seventh, with odds of +1800. He is tied 12th in the NHL with 23 points, while also sporting a -5 plus/minus rating.