🏆 Who is the favorite to win the NHL Hart trophy?
Toronto center Auston Matthews is having a goal-scoring season for the ages, and his February surge now has him in position to win NHL MVP for the second time in three years.
Matthews had 52 goals through the first 58 games of the season. That’s a pace for 73 goals, which would rank as one of the greatest seasons in NHL history.
The odds makers have taken notice and Matthews is now in a virtual dead heat with Colorado’s Nathan McKinnon and Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the Hart Trophy race. As February came to a close, Matthews was listed at +195, McKinnon +230 and Kucherov at +260. Edmonton's Connor McDavid wasn't far behind them at +400.
Get ready for a sprint to the finish over the course of the final six weeks of the regular season. This is one of the closest competitions in recent memory.
Matthews notched his 50th goal in the 54th game of the season, becoming the fastest player to score 50 goals in a season since Mario Lemieux scored 50 in 50 games during the 1995-96 season.
Matthews scored 12 goals in a 12-game span in February, including 10 in a five-game span. He recorded hat tricks in back-to-back games against the Flyers and Ducks. In that 10-game span he had 19 points.
On Feb. 24, Matthews and McKinnon went head-to-head with McKinnon registering three assists and Matthews one in a game the Maple Leafs won 4-3.
McKinnon hasn’t wilted under the pressure of Matthews’ late-winter surge. After going pointless in the first three games after the All-Stark break, McKinnon ripped off 12 points in his next seven games.
While Matthews is running away with the goal-scoring title, McKinnon had 21 more points at the end of February. McKinnon was second only to Kucherov in points.
In addition to the Hart trophy, Matthews is chasing a place in league history. Wayne Gretzky owns the NHL record for most goals in a season with 92 in 1981-82. Brett Hull scored 86 in the 1990-91 season and Lemieux 85 in the 1989-90 season.
Matthews doesn’t have a chance at challenging that trio, but becoming the ninth player in league history to score 70 goals in a season is very much in play. In addition to Gretzky, Hull and Lemieux, the only other players to reach that mark are Phil Esposito, Alexander Mogilny, Teemu Selanne, Jari Kurri and Bernie Nicholls. Mogilny and Selanne were the last players to do so in 1992-93 when they each had 76 goals.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, here are the current odds of the favorites to win the Hart Trophy.
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Who are the Sleepers in the Hart Trophy Race?
Death, taxes and Sidney Crosby torturing the Philadelphia Flyers. On Feb. 25, Crosby had four points against the Flyers in a 7-6 Penguins victory that kept their fading playoff hopes alive. Crosby has scored more points against the Flyers than anyone in NHL history. He has 129 points in 87 career game against his cross-state rival. Crosby, who turned 35 in August, is having one of the best seasons of his career. He had 62 points in the first 56 games of the season and is on pace to score 40 goals for the third time in his storied career.
Vancouver’s J.T. Miller is closing in on career highs in goals, assists and points in his 13th season in the league. As February came to a close, Miller was three goals shy of setting a new career mark and 19 points shy of a new high in points. Miller has helped the Canucks become the highest-scoring team in the league this season, and that offensive fire power has them in prime position to win the Pacific division. They had a double-digit lead in points over the Golden Knights with six weeks to go in the regular season.
Boston’s David Pastrnak is closing in on a second consecutive 100-point season. While he won’t approach the 61 goals he notched last season he does have a chance to improve on his career-best 113-point season from last year. Pastrnak had goals in back-to-back games against the Oilers and Stars in mid-February and is leading the Bruins in scoring.
NHL MVP odds update
Toronto's Auston Matthews had a big move in February, going from +1200 and a dark horse for MVP to slight favorite at +195. It was the biggest movement in the odds this season and reflected the red-hot month Matthews enjoyed to vault himself to the top of the board.
Colorado's Nathan McKinnon, who had been the favorite at -120, is now at +230. Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov has been very steady all season. He's at +260 after being at +240 a few weeks ago. Edmonton's Connor McDavid remained steady, too. His odds lengthened, but only slightly, going from +330 to +400. He remains very much in the race.
Boston's David Pastrnak, the favorite early in the season, continues to see his odds lengthen. He went from +1600 to +5000 in a short period of time after the Matthews surge.
How to Bet on the NHL MVP
Want to make a bet on the Hart Trophy? Go to your favorite sports betting site or app and check out the awards section. You'll be able to find the Hart Trophy odds there. Once you set up an account you are ready to place your bet. If you place an early bet on a longshot you have a better chance to win a big bet, but you can place a bet anytime throughout the season as the odds change. Come back to this page often to see how the race unfolds during the 2023-24 season.
How the Hart Trophy Voting Works
The Hart Trophy is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Each writer casts a ballot with five players on it and they're given points based on where they are ordered (10-7-5-3-1). Once the votes are tallied, three finalists are named. The trophy is awarded at the NHL Awards Ceremony following the Stanley Cup playoffs.
How to Find the Best Odds
Odds vary from sportsbook to sportsbook so do your homework and visit a few before you place your bet. DraftKings is an NHL partner and has good information on its site and app. The other major sportsbooks also have dedicated coverage of the NHL sports betting scene.
NHL Hart Trophy Winners From The Past 20 Years
Martin St. Louis
NHL Hart Trophy Trivia
- Wayne Gretzky's nine MVPs not only are the most ever in NHL history, but he also holds the record for most MVPs in any North American team sport, including the NFL, MLB and NBA.
- There have only been two unanimous Hart Trophy winners -- Gretzky in the 1981-82 season and Connor McDavid in the 2020-21 season.
- The team with the most Hart Trophy winners is the Canadiens with 17.
- Joe Thornton is the only player to win the Hart Trophy after being traded at midseason. Thornton started the 2005-06 season with the Bruins, but they traded him to the Sharks.
- The first American to win the Hart Trophy was Brett Hull, who won it as a member of the Blues in 1990-91. Natives of Canada had won all of the MVPs before Hull.
NHL MVP Award FAQ
Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov held a small lead over Colorado's Nathan McKinnon for most points at the end point in February. Kucherov had 103 points and McKinnon 98.
Vancouver's Quinn Hughes is the highest-scoring defenseman in the league. He had 70 points, including 58 assists, in his first 61 games of the season.
Most online sportsbooks have Auston Matthews as a slight favorite over Nathan McKinnon and Nikita Kucherov.