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Nathan MacKinnon Leads Conn Smythe Odds at +550; Marchand a Distant Second at +1000

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NHL Hockey

Updated Mar 11, 2021 · 2:23 PM PST

Nathan MacKinnon pointing near center ice
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, front, gestures to goaltender Jonathan Bernier after McKinnon scored a goal against the Anaheim Ducks in the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
  • Nathan MacKinnon is leading the odds to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the second round of the NHL Playoffs begin this weekend
  • This comes despite the fact that the Vegas Golden Knights are the current favorites to win the Stanley Cup
  • Read below to see if we think backing the best player left in the postseason is a good play

The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars open up the “second round” of Stanley Cup playoffs this Saturday, meaning the entire hockey world will get a chance to see how good Nathan MacKinnon is at the game.

With 13 points in eight games (apparently the qualifying round counts), the Avs center is leading the playoff scoring race. So even though team doesn’t have the best odds to win the Stanley Cup, he’s still tops on the board to be named MVP of these playoffs.

Conn Smythe Trophy Winner Odds

Player Position Odds at DraftKings
Nathan MacKinnon, COL C +550
Brad Marchand, BOS LW +1000
Carter Hart, PHI G +1100
Patrice Bergeron, BOS C +1200
Andrei Vasilevsky, TB G +1200
Robin Lehner, VGK G +1200
Brayden Point, TB C +1300
Mark Stone, VGK RW +1300
Nazem Kadri, COL C +1300
Nikita Kucherov, TB RW +1400
Max Pacioretty, VGK LW +1700
Semyon Varlamov, NYI G +1700
David Pasternak, BOS RW +1800
Miro Heiskanen, DAL D +2000
Joe Pavelski, DAL C +2000
Matthew Barzal, NYI C +2100
Sean Couturier, PHI C +2100
Anthony Beauviller, NYI LW +2100
Elias Pettersson, VAN C +2200
David Krejci, BOS C +2200

Odds as of Aug. 22nd

Which player offers the best value at this stage? Let’s unpack the odds.

MacKinnon a Shoo-in if Avs Win?

DraftKings gives the Avalanche a +400 chance at lifting the Stanley Cup, which is a pretty huge first step in a player actually winning playoff MVP. The Conn Smythe trophy has only gone to a player from a Cup losing team five times, and four of those were goalies.

The lone forward to do so was Philly’s Reggie Leach, who scored a whopping 19 goals in 16 games, outscoring the next closest player that postseason by 11! Despite how well MacKinnon is playing, he’s not on a Leachian pace, meaning you’re banking on Colorado going all the way for this bet to cash.

The difference in MacKinnon’s +550 MVP odds and the Avs +400 Cup odds suggests there’s a little over a 75% chance that if Colorado wins, their top-line center will get the Conn Smythe, which sounds pretty spot-on. The biggest threat to MacKinnon winning the Conn Smythe on Colorado right now is Nazem Kadri, whose six goals are tied for the playoff lead.

Still, Kadri is not a prolific scorer, having only topped 60 points in a season once, so it’s unlikely he’ll be able to keep pace with MacKinnon throughout the playoffs. Plus, if it’s a close race in the end, we know how voters will choose between a Canadian darling and an ex-Maple Leaf.

Roll The Dice With Vegas

Not that MacKinnon is a bad bet at this point, but based on individual odds versus their team’s chances to win the Cup, there’s certainly better value plays at this stage of the postseason.

Look no further than the current favorites to win it all, the Vegas Golden Knights. Their leading candidate on the oddsboard is current starting goalie Robin Lehner, which is a headscratcher, and not because there seems to be controversy about backup Marc-Andre Fleury’s playing time.

Instead, it’s odd because Lehner hasn’t been very good this postseason. After posting a pedestrian .904 save percentage in the first (and qualifying) round, Lehner will need to be much better for the Golden Knights to reach their ultimate goal. He’s capable of such play, but he has a long way to go to actually climb into the Conn Smythe conversation: no goalie has won the honor with a save percentage below .920 since the ’80s.

The actual frontrunner for Vegas should be Mark Stone. His effectiveness at both ends of the ice is well known after 2019, when he earned a rare appearance as a Selke finalist playing on the wing. Stone leads the Golden Knights in scoring through the first round and he’ll continue to be instrumental in the team going far these playoffs, playing significant time on both the power play and penalty kill.

The Golden Knights don’t have any “superstar” players, they don’t have the big minute-eating defenseman and their goalie isn’t carrying them: this is just a deep squad playing great team hockey. Taking Stone (who happens to be Canadian, also helpful in Conn Smythe voting) at +1300 (about a 30% chance to win if Vegas wins the Cup) feels like the best value for the current favorites.

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