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PHT Oddsmaker: Let’s Gamble on the NHL

Dec 21, 2011, 5:29 PM EDT

Evgeni Malkin Getty Images

PHT Oddsmaker will be a regular feature where we set pretend odds and pretend to gamble on them. If you’d like to bet real money, meet us in the alley and we’ll talk.

Odds Evegni Malkin wins the Art Ross Trophy (+200)

The rate he’s going, the only thing that could stop him might be injuries. With 39 points  in only 27 games, Malkin sits tied atop the NHL’s scoring race with Claude Giroux (28 GP), Phil Kessel (33 GP) and Henrik Sedin (33 GP). There’s plenty of other competition in the race, including Daniel Sedin (38 points), Steven Stamkos (37 points), Marian Hossa (37 points), Jason Spezza (37 points) and Jonathan Toews (36 points). As mentioned, Malkin’s health will be a huge factor. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, he’s missed 61 games with a wide array of ailments. He’s already missed seven games in 2011-12. Sorry, can’t bet on a guy with that kind of track record. Sooner put my money on one of the Sedins.

Odds Jonathan Toews wins the Hart Trophy (+400)

In the six seasons since the lockout, the Hart and Art Ross have gone to the same player four times. The two exceptions? In 2008-09, Malkin won the scoring race, but Alex Ovechkin won the Hart, thanks in large part to winning the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal-scorer. In 2010-11, Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross, but Corey Perry won the Hart…along with the Rocket Richard. So the questions for Toews’ Hart candidacy are as follows: Can he win either the Art Ross or the Rocket Richard? And if not, would the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association be willing to vote for him anyway? I’m having trouble saying yes to either of those questions. For starters, Toews has so many other responsibilities on the Blackhawks besides scoring that you’d excuse him if his production fell off slightly. Case in point, he leads all Chicago forwards in shorthanded ice time (2:01 per game). As for the second question, the PHWA has voted for him before, giving him the 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy. But the last Hart winner that won neither the Art Ross or Rocket Richard was goalie Jose Theodore in 2002. The last skater was Joe Sakic in 2001, and he had 118 points that season.

Odds the Los Angeles Kings make the playoffs (Even)

They’re currently 10th in the Western Conference, three points back of eighth-place San Jose. On the one hand, it seems unfeasible that a team with so much talent could possibly miss the playoffs. But remember, if it wasn’t for the Kings’ dominance in shootouts last season, they may well have missed out. Not to mention, if Los Angeles makes it, who doesn’t? That’s the really hard part. I’m gonna roll the dice and say the Kings make it. Defensively they’ve been good all season, and the scoring can’t get any worse, especially with Mike Richards expected back in the lineup tomorrow.

  1. danphipps01 - Dec 21, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    I don’t know. Malkin’s Hart candidacy depends on injuries, as you say, but it also depends on Crosby – more specifically, is he out long-term or is he going to come back for the last stretch? Malkin plays much better when he’s the go-to guy than when Crosby’s there to share the load. Malkin thrives under that pressure, it seems, and his production might drop off if Crosby can make a lasting return. Combine the chance of that (high – Crosby does NOT want to miss the rest of this season too) with the chance of injury (also fairly high) and the odds ain’t good. I’m not going for it.

    Toews for the Hart – eh, no. You’re right. The Hart’s more or less judged by pure scoring these days, and I’d sooner bet on Giroux if he can bounce back from his concussion and keep up the pace. If not him, either a Sedin or maybe Stamkos. That brings me to another bet, though: odds of Toews winning the Selke. What do you think, Jason?

    • jpelle82 - Dec 21, 2011 at 7:19 PM

      i think this is finally jordan staal’s year for the selke. his offensive numbers are up this year and i think you ask any coach or gm who they would want to run their top pk unit, he is arguably on the top of the list. his faceoff wins are up there and when penguins have the chance he is out there against the oppposing 1st line. toews isnt even the best candidate on the blackhawks…i would take hossa for it over toews

      • danphipps01 - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:12 AM

        Hossa over Toews? I’d love to hear the logic behind that. Don’t mean to sound sarcastic, either. I just don’t know where that’s coming from at all. In any event, Staal… well, he’s been in my mind since the outset, but I can’t see it. He’s not quite there yet. Is he closer than last year? Oh yeah, probably. He gets better every year. But I don’t think he’s quite the two-way forward Toews is. I think he’s probably on par defensively, but offensively? Man, Toews is just plain better. And that, I feel, would edge Staal out if it were between the two of them.

  2. bjg5091 - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    I think the biggest contender for both Malkin and Kane in those respective awards is Giroux. Trying not to be biased but his first game back, and against the Dallas Stars, he has two points in the first period. He hasn’t missed a step. Giroux, Kane and Malkin have been the three best players in hockey this year. No question really.

    • jpelle82 - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:33 PM

      you mean Toews right?

      • bjg5091 - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:20 PM

        Thanks. That’s what I meant.

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