What is the Hart Trophy?
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded each season to the player judged most valuable to his team. David Hart, father of former Montreal Canadiens’ head coach Cecil Hart, donated the trophy to the league in 1923. Frank Nighbor of the original Ottawa Senators, in 1924, was the first winner of the coveted trophy. The winner of the award is decided by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, who rank their top five candidates in a tiered point system (10 points for first, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth).
Wayne Gretzky, with nine Hart Trophies, is the most decorated recipient of the venerated accolade.
How to Make your Hart Trophy Bet a Winner
When deciding who to back for the Hart Trophy, the smart money is on a forward. Only three winners since 2000 – one defenceman and two goaltenders – have been able to put a slight dent in forwards’ dominance. Forwards have won 18 of the last 21 Hart Trophies. Carey Price (2015), Jose Theodore (2002) and Chris Pronger (2000) are the only non-forwards to win the award since the turn of the millennium. That’s not to say a defenceman or goaltender cannot win the Hart Trophy, though, to optimize your chances of winning, it would be wise not to ignore such compelling evidence.
The Best Hart Winner Favourites
VIPCasino.ca recommends choosing two players to back for this NHL futures bet. While your return on investment won’t be as lucrative, it’s almost a no-brainer to back a perennial favourite like Connor McDavid. Undoubtedly the NHL’s best player, the Oilers captain won the Hart Trophy in 2017 and 2021. The superstar consistently puts up staggering offensive numbers and is linemates with arguably the NHL’s second best player, Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers are also Stanley Cup contenders, further boosting McDavid’s Hart Trophy claim.
McDavid, still only 24 years old, will be the apex Hart Trophy favourite for years to come. While nothing is assured in the world of professional sport, McDavid is the closest the NHL has to a sure thing. He will inevitably win a few more Hart Trophies in his illustrious career, and has the best chance of any player to become the first since Gretzky to win it on four separate occasions. While Draisaitl, too, is a strong pick, it’s unlikely McDavid will recurringly play second fiddle to his linemate. Just something to keep in mind.
Alex Ovechkin, another perennial favourite, continually defies the sands of time with his otherworldly offensive proficiency. However, it’s only a matter of time before the aging Capitals’ captain starts seeing a decline in his offensive output.
Best Hart Trophy Candidates Outside of Top Favourites
Choosing a heavy favourite isn’t always the best choice. Nikita Kucherov, pegged at +1500 by the bookies, didn’t enter into the favourite conversation before winning the Hart Trophy in 2019. Draisaitl, who was pegged at +1250 by most sportsbooks, picked up the individual accolade in 2020. Have a look at players sitting outside of the primary favourite bubble, those who have the ability to make a splash and, if they conjure up a career year, maximize your winnings.
Selecting a forward approaching – or in the midst of – his prime who plays for a playoff-bound team, like Nathan Mackinnon, Aleksander Barkov, David Pastrnak, Mikko Rantanen, Austin Matthews or Sebastian Aho, is another astute way of playing this particular futures bet.
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History of Hart Trophy Winners
Forwards have been awarded The Hart Trophy 36 of the last 41 seasons. Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender Dominik Hasek won the Hart Trophy in 1997 and 1998, the only netminder to win the award twice.
Chris Pronger is the only defenceman to win the Hart Trophy since 1980, an eye-opening fact that will surely dissuade you from backing a blueliner. Of the last 41 Hart Trophy winners, eight players have won the illustrious award more than once. Two-time winners include McDavid, Sydney Crosby, Hasek and Mark Messier, while Alex Ovechkin and Mario Lemieux, aside from Gretzky, are the only three-time winners in that timeframe. Of the current crop of NHL superstars, McDavid is far and away the most likely player to join the three-time winner club.
And then there’s the Great One, who stands alone with an astonishing nine Hart Trophies. The Oilers’ captain won the award in nine of 10 seasons, including a string of eight consecutive from 1980 to 1987.
Hart Trophy Betting Tips
There is a distinct correlation between Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the player with the most points, winners. In the past 72 seasons, the Hart Trophy winner has been amongst the top three point getters 78 percent of the time, while the Art Ross Trophy recipient won both awards 38 times.
We’d be remiss not to mention the fact that Canadians typically win the Hart Trophy. Canadians have lifted the Hart Trophy 78 of the 92 times, accounting for 85 percent of all victors.
Winning successive Hart Trophies is a fairly uncommon occurrence, with Ovechkin, in 2008 and 2009, the last to achieve the honour. Hasek won back-to-back Hart Trophies in 1997 and 1998, the only other individual to accomplish the feat following Gretzky’s unrivalled eight-year reign. McDavid, if he continues his current trajectory, is the odds-on favourite to join that elite club.
How to Bet on the Hart Trophy Winner
VIPCasino.ca makes it easy to back your selection for Hart Trophy winner. After going to https://play.vipcasino.ca/sports, click on the NHL hockey tab, select Outrights and pinpoint the Hart Trophy category. From odds-on favourites to heavy underdogs, you’ll see an exhaustive list of potential Hart Trophy candidates.
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