NHL Start Date Discussions Continue, Hart Memorial Trophy Odds Released

Posted By Erik Buchinger on December 6, 2020 - Last Updated on May 20, 2021

Talks are ongoing between the NHL and NHLPA in regards to what the hockey league will look like this upcoming season. There has not been an official start date announced by the league, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported there have been discussions about the season getting started on Jan. 15.

Previous reports had the season getting started on Dec. 1, and while that date passed without much resolution, another idea was to start on the first day of 2021. However, it’s looking like the NHL season will return later into January.

Friedman’s report stated training camps would open roughly two weeks before the season starts, with the idea of playing around 50 games during the regular season.

In addition, Friedman said the teams that made the playoffs in 2020 would receive a few more days of rest, since the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended so late thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, forcing the NHL to crown its champion in late September.

Friedman’s reporting said the end of the regular season would be near the beginning of May with the Stanley Cup Playoffs taking place in late June or early July. That would put the league back on track close to the end of the normal season.

The 2019-20 season began on Oct. 2, 2019, though the league suspended its season on March 12, 2020 due to COVID-19. The league returned to play games in Toronto and Edmonton with play resuming on Aug. 1. In a six-game series, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars in the finals to win the Stanley Cup on Sept. 28.

In the offseason, the NHL Draft was held on Oct. 6-7 with free agency starting on Oct. 9.

Hart Memorial Trophy betting odds

While the NHL and NHLPA continue to sort out what the hockey season will look like, let’s take a look at some of the futures odds for the league. Betting odds are out for the Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the player who is the most valuable to the team. Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers won it last season.

At the top of the odds list is Nathan MacKinnon at +400 to win the award for the Colorado Avalanche, with Connor McDavid of the Oilers right behind him at +450. After that, there’s a slight drop off for the rest of the Hart Memorial Trophy contenders.

McDavid is among several winners of the award who are in the top 10 of odds to win it again in 2020. This also includes Draisaitl, who checks in with the fourth-best odds at +900. Nikita Kucherov won it in 2018, and is fifth with +1300 odds.

Sidney Crosby is the only player featured in the top 10 odds who has won the award twice. He did it in 2007 and 2014. He is tied for the 10th best odds in 2020 at +2300, alongside Evgeni Malkin, who won it in 2016.

Carey Price was the last goaltender to win this, in the 2014-15 season with the Montreal Canadiens. Zero goalkeepers appear in the top 10 odds list.

Here’s a look at the top 10 candidates for the Hart Memorial Trophy heading into the season, according to oddsmakers. All odds are via a popular United States sportsbook.

  • Nathan MacKinnon +400
  • Connor McDavid +450
  • Artemi Panarin +800
  • Leon Draisaitl +900
  • Nikita Kucherov +1300
  • Jack Eichel and Elias Pettersson +1500
  • Auston Matthews +1600
  • Brayden Point +1700
  • Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin +2300
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