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Connor McDavid, not Mikko Rantanen, Heavily Favored for Art Ross Trophy

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid may not currently lead the NHL in points, but he does have the best odds to lead the league at the end of the season. Photo by Connor Mah (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen currently leads the NHL in scoring with 21 points
  • Despite sitting fourth in the race, Connor McDavid leads the odds for the Art Ross Trophy at +300
  • McDavid has led the NHL in scoring each of the last two season

There are always surprises to start an NHL season, but there may be no bigger surprise than who is at the top of the NHL scoring race.

Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche.

Rantanen currently leads the NHL in scoring with 24 points. He’s three ahead of teammate Nathan MacKinnon, four ahead of Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, and five up on Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

But despite the early season surge, he still isn’t the favorite to finish the season in first.

Odds to Win the 2019 Art Ross Trophy

Player Tm Points in 2018/19 Odds to win Art Ross Trophy
Connor McDavid EDM 19 +300
Patrice Bergeron BOS 19 +700
Mikko Rantanen COL 24 +750
Nathan MacKinnon COL 21 +1000
Evgeni Malkin PIT 20 +1000
Auston Matthews TOR 16 +1100
Patrick Kane CHI 18 +1600
Brad Marchand BOS 15 +1800
Mitch Marner TOR 16 +2000
Johnny Gaudreau CGY 17 +2000
Evgeny Kuznetsov WSH 16 +2000
Alexander Ovechkin WSH 16 +2200

Connor McDavid currently tops Art Ross odds

The fact that McDavid has taken home the Art Ross in each of the last two seasons is impossible to ignore.

Since the start of the 2016/17 season, the NHL has belonged to McDavid. He’s got 227 points in 176 games, which is 30 points better than his closest competition – Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.

His third season was his best, as he posted the second-highest single-season point total since 2011.

But this year? He may smash those totals entirely.

McDavid on pace for an all-time season?

Right now, McDavid has nine goals in 12 games, which works out to 62 goals over 82 games. It would be the first 60 goal season since Steven Stamkos in 2011/12.

The 130 points he’s on pace for? That’d be the first 130+ point season since Mario Lemieux’s 161 in 1995/96.

While 130 seems ludicrous, if we scale it back to 120, it’s still pretty impressive. Sidney Crosby was the last one to crack that barrier, hitting it right on in 2006/07.

Season Art Ross Winner Goals Assists Points
2017/18 Connor McDavid, EDM 41 67 108
2016/17 Connor McDavid, EDM 30 70 100
2015/16 Patrick Kane, CHI 46 60 106
2014/15 Jamie Benn, DAL 35 52 87
2013/14 Sidney Crosby, PIT 36 68 104

Could Rantanen continue his pace?

There is potential for Rantanen to do the seemingly impossible and lead the NHL in scoring.

While McDavid makes the players around him better, Rantanen has the advantage of playing on one of the top lines in the league.

His center, Nathan MacKinnon, exploded last year for 97 points in 74 games.

He’s on a similarly impressive pace right now with 21 points in 14 games. His left winger, Gabe Landeskog, is a steady, do-it-all performer as well.

The captain has five 50+ point seasons in seven years, and is on pace for another this year.

And that doesn’t even take into account Rantanen’s own talent.

He’s not just reaping the benefits of playing alongside two superstars. He put up 29 goals and 84 points in his second full NHL season. Like the other two, he’s also a former top ten pick.

Who’s the best bet to win the 2019 Art Ross Trophy?

Right now, McDavid is in the thick of a talented pack of players battling for scoring supremacy.

Fortunately for him, it’ll take a lot for them to catch him.

If we work under the assumption that it takes at least 100 points to win the Art Ross, it trims the field.

Yes, Evgeni Malkin is coming off of a 98 point season. But that was his first with 60+ games played and 75+ points since 2011/12.

Patrice Bergeron? His best year in the NHL was his second season when he put up 73 points. He’s now in year 15.

The same can be said for Patrick Kane, who’s super-talented, but has just one 100-point season.

Rantanen and MacKinnon are the best bets to knock off McDavid. But he’s the two-time king for a reason.

Barring injury, it doesn’t make sense to put your money anywhere else.

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