Sportsbook players are waiting for the NHL playoffs on the horizon, which means it should be time to start looking at who could end up with the Hart Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the league, and the question is: can anyone stop Alex Ovchekin from a three-peat?
Alex Ovechkin, Washington
Ovie is battling the next two candidates in the scoring race, and one of them in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals scored, but his play could hurt him. Ovechkin has been suspended twice for hits this year, and some are wondering if he’s now a dirty player. This award is voted on by the media, and it’s been split as to what kind of player Ovechkin is. Everyone knows he’s probably the most dynamic player in the world, but is he too reckless?
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
Crosby, who was the last player to win this award other than Ovechkin, and you can’t help think that the voters will think about his golden goal in the Olympics when they’re casting their selection. But in the NHL, Crosby already has a career high in goals as he made an effort to shoot more, and it’s paying off. With Evgeni Malkin either slumping or injured this year, Crosby has had to carry a bigger load.
Henrik Sedin, Chicago
If this were the NCAA Tournament, Sedin wouldn’t be one of the March Madness favorites, but he could have career highs in every category by the end of the season. Henrik didn’t even stop scoring when twin brother Daniel was hurt earlier in the season, and with Alex Burrows, these three are one of the top three lines in the NHL.
Ryan Miller, Buffalo
The Sabres are rolling towards the Northeast title, but you would have better odds in an online super casino than Buffalo winning the Stanley Cup if Miller wasn’t in town. Miller has been the best goalie in the NHL all season, by a wide margin too, and that’s saying something when you look at Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov and Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff, not to mention the ever-present Martin Brodeur of New Jersey. Buffalo would fight to make the playoffs without Miller, who also carried Team USA to the gold-medal game in Vancouver and won the MVP award.
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
This is the longshot of the trio, and there may be better candidates, but the Kings may be the surprise of the season, and their best player is a guy who just turned 20 in December….and he’s a defenseman? Doughty has been a monster at both ends of the ice this year, and he was arguably Canada’s best defenseman in Vancouver. If you’re looking for a darkhorse, like everyone else who is mulling over odds on college basketball, Doughty is the play here.