The sport of hockey is not for everyone, which is fine. However, we think that’s a shame. If you’re willing to give it a chance, you’ll soon realize that the game with the puck, especially at the NHL level, is unbelievably entertaining. The National Hockey League is filled with many of the best athletes on the planet. These individuals are crazy strong, unquestionably fearless, and have some of the best hand-eye coordination you’ll ever witness.
When you consider the speed of the game, the unbelievable balance needed to compete at the highest level, and the overwhelming punishment that one’s body takes on a regular basis, you may come to realize that these players are as close to modern-day knights as we have in the world of sports. Bold statement? Perhaps. Do we stand by it? Absolutely. Yet, from the moment these warriors take the ice at the start of a new NHL season, they only have won goal (pun intended) in mind: to hoist the Stanley Cup.
However, the team goal doesn’t stop players from being rewarded for their individual efforts. And if one happens to be “the player judged to be the most valuable to his team,” then they will find themselves in the running for one of the game’s biggest prizes: the Hart Memorial Trophy. Earlier in the year, we took a look at the players who we believed could be this season’s MVP. However, with the 2015-16 NHL season in full stride, the oddsmakers in Vegas are starting to see the ice a bit more clearly. Here’s a breakdown of the five players with the best odds to win this year’s Hart Trophy.
3. Jamie Benn
Through the first 42 games of the 2015-16 NHL season, the Dallas Stars have posted a 28-10-4 record and accumulated 60 points to sit atop the Central Division standings. Make no mistake about it, one of the main reasons for this impressive start can be attributed to the excellent play of left wing Jamie Benn. At this moment in time, the Stars captain leads the NHL with 24 goals, has picked up 28 assists, and is second in the league in points with 52. If Benn keeps this up, not only will the 26-year-old have a shot at repeating as the winner of the Art Ross Trophy (given to the league leader in points), but he also stands a chance of capturing the Hart Trophy as well.
2. Tyler Seguin
As we said before, Benn is one of the driving forces behind the Dallas Stars’ fast start. But he is certainly not alone. It’s impossible to talk about the success in Dallas and not show love to center Tyler Seguin. At just 23 years old, Seguin is tied for second in the NHL in goals (24), is sixth in the league in assists (27), and is third overall in points (50). With Seguin playing some of the best hockey in the NHL, it’s not hard to imagine the Stars making a run at this year’s Stanley Cup. And if that ends up happening, Seguin could easily be looking at some hardware of his own. We bet the Boston Bruins wish they had a do-over.
1. Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane is the runway favorite to take home this year’s Hart Trophy. And he should be. Not only was his record-breaking point streak the stuff of legends, but he hasn’t slowed down since the thing was snapped at 26 games. In 41 games, the Chicago Blackhawks right wing has scored 23 goals (tied for second in the NHL), posted 36 assists (tops in the NHL), and has amassed a league-leading 59 points. The way we see it, until further notice, the National Hockey League is Kane’s world and everyone else is just along for the ride.