With the NHL season underway, most NHL betting predictions are focused on who will win this year’s Stanley Cup. One of the more intriguing bets is who will be a top scorer in the NHL this season. Safe bettors will likely stick to one of the two players who have earned the past three Art Ross Trophies, Connor McDavid or Nikita Kucherov. There are, however, a few more candidates that could pay off big dividends.
Kucherov’s to Lose Last year, Kucherov won the Art Ross with one of the most productive seasons in the last 25 years. He scored 41 goals and finished with 128 points. Tampa Bay is once again a favorite to win this year’s Stanley Cup and with Kucherov operating on the league’s best power-play unit expect him to hit the 100-point plateau again.
Can Kucherov be even better than last year? It’s possible, but the Lightning will be without Brayden Point for a while to start the season. Point scored 41 goals and had 92 points last year. Don’t forget, no player has scored 120-plus points in back-to-back seasons since the great Mario Lemieux did it back in 1995-96 and 1996-97. Still, Kucherov is given +275 odds to repeat as Art Ross winner.
McDavid’s Turn Again The young Oilers center has improved his point totals in each of his four NHL seasons. He hit 100 and 108 in 2017 and 2018 and captured the Art Ross Trophy in consecutive seasons. He lost out last year to Kucherov, who is surrounded by better talent. McDavid, who had 116 points last season, is likely the most impressive individual talent in the NHL and at +300 he is a leading favorite to win his third Art Ross in four years.
The Maybes If you go back four seasons, Chicago’s Patrick Kane was the NHL’s top point producer with 106 during the 2015-16 season. He is still one of the league’s elite scorers having netted 44 goals and 66 assists for 110 points last season. The Blackhawks suffered through an ugly season and don’t expect to be much better in 2019-20.
Kane, who is will turn 31 this season, will likely be the Blackhawks scoring leader. Whether he can win another Art Ross Trophy is the big question. It would take a career year to beat out McDavid and Kucherov, but at +1200 a Kane bet would payout nicely.
The same is true of Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (+1200) and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (+1600). MacKinnon has played at an MVP level in each of the past two seasons. He scored 41 goals and had 99 points last year. Crosby, who won the Art Ross Trophy in 2013-14, scored 100 points last season. Much like Kane, Crosby would need a career year like the one he had in 2006-07 when he totaled 120 points to lead the league.
The Longshot If not for a freak thumb injury that forced him to miss 16 games last year, Boston’s David Pastrnak may have gone toe-to-toe with Kucherov for the Art Ross Trophy. Most offshore sportsbooks view Pastrnak as a huge longshot at +4000. He wound up with 81 points in 66 games for a per-game average of 1.23 which was seventh-best in the NHL. Pastrnak is part of one of the most productive lines in the league working between Brad Marchand (1.27 points per game) and Patrice Bergeron (1.22).
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.