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Longtime broadcaster and gambling expert David Tuchman breaks down the 2021 NHL futures odds and the players he thinks are most likely to collect some hardware at the end of the season
2021 NHL ODDS: Player Props & Award Futures
2021 NHL ODDS: Jack Eichel vs. Steven Stamkos Most Points
One player is injury prone, on the wrong side of 30 and no longer gets to play on the PP with one of the best players in the world as Nikita Kucherov is injured for the year.
The other player is young, more durable, only getting better and gets to play this season with Taylor Hall.
Back up the truck on this one. Jack Eichel more points than Steven Stamkos.
2021 NHL ODDS: Art Ross Trophy Futures
Art Ross Trophy Odds: Connor McDavid +350, Leon Draisaitl +600, Nathan MacKinnon +600, Artemi Panarin +1000, Mitch Marner +1150, Auston Matthews +1400, Jack Eichel +2000, Evgeni Malkin +2000
Connor McDavid is the odds on favorite, but at +350, it’s hard to get excited about betting on him. His teammate, Leon Draisaitl led the league in scoring last season and was 4th in scoring the year before. You can bet on him at +650.
2021 NHL ODDS: Calder Memorial Trophy Futures
Calder Trophy Odds: Igor Shestyorkin +300, Alexis Lafreniere +300, Kirill Kaprizov +400, Nils Hoglander +800, Tim Stuetzle +1000, Dylan Cozens +1150, Josh Norris +1200, Gabriel Vilardi +1300, Grigori Denisenko +1700, Quinton Byfield +1700, Trevor Zegras +1700, Ilya Sorokin +1700, Owen Tippett +1800, Ryan Merkley +2000, Joel Kiviranta +2000, Juuso Valimaki +2000
I have three bets here I like a lot for Rookie of the Year. First up is a player I’ve mentioned before. Minnesota Wild rookie, Kiril Kiprozov. The 23-year old Russian was the leading scorer in the top Russian Professional league three years in a row and is going to get every opportunity to succeed in Minnesota.
My other two picks are more of the long shot variety.
If you watched any of the World Junior Championships the last two years, you’re familiar with Trevor Zegras. He led the USA to a Gold medal en route to winning the MVP. He’s an elite talent that will star in the NHL for many years. Truth be told, I might be one year too early as there’s a chance he doesn’t get the opportunity with Anaheim this season, but if he does, I’m betting he makes an instant impact. At +1700, it’s worth the shot.
I also like the Russian rookie netminder, Ilya Sorokin at +1700. He was ridiculous in Russia and is not a baby at 25-years old. The question is how much of an opportunity does he get as he’s currently the #2 goalie behind Varlamov in New York. With Trotz’s defensive system, Sorokin could be a sneaky Calder pick.
2021 NHL ODDS: Hart Memorial Trophy Futures
Hart Trophy Odds: Connor McDavid +450, Nathan MacKinnon +550, Auston Matthews +800, Leon Draisaitl +1000, Artemi Panarin +1100, Elias Pettersson +1800, Jack Eichel +2000, Alexander Ovechkin +2000, Brayden Point +2100, Steven Stamkos +2100, Mitch Marner +2300, Brad Marchand +2400, Evgeni Malkin +2500, Sidney Crosby +2500, David Pastrnak +2700, Patrick Kane +2800, Connor Hellebuyck +3000, Mark Stone +3000
The Hart Memorial Trophy goes to the most valuable player, not necessarily the best player. In fact, Taylor Hall won this award three years ago when he got his NJ Devils to the playoffs. No offense to Hall, but he’s not close to the best player in the league.
This is an award where it makes a lot of sense to bet on more of a long shot. Think of a team that might be better than expected and where the perception is that one guy put the team on his shoulders. By the way, in hockey, it’s never just one guy. Perception is key.
A few intriguing candidates:
If I’m wrong about the Toronto Maple Leafs and the prognosticators are right, the Leafs will win the NORTH division. Auston Matthews is not their captain, but he is undeniably their best player. If the Leafs win that division, Matthews could win the HART. He’s at +800
I’ve mentioned I’m high on Vancouver. The Canucks have talent on talent and most of it is very young and improving. Last summer, in the bubble, they surprised everyone when they won a playoff series. This year, they could be ready to take that next step. Young phenom Elias Petterson — who won the Calder trophy a couple of years ago — could be in contention if Vancouver wins the all-Canadian NORTH division.
Buffalo Sabres are in a tough tough division so it’s unlikely they make the playoffs, but they’ve added Taylor Hall, Rasmus Dahlin is another year older, and maybe Jeff Skinner regains some of his 2018 form … If absolutely everything falls in place, this is Jack Eichel’s team and he’s special. If somehow they make the playoffs, Eichel will be a big reason why and will certainly be in the conversation for the HART trophy. At +2000, it might be worth a flyer.
Brayden Point is really interesting. He’s immensely gifted and his talent was on full display last summer during Tampa’s Stanley Cup run. The issue is that he’s on a team stacked with great players so the perception is that no one player is all that valuable. This year, their best player, Nikita Kucherov is out for the season. If Tampa doesn’t miss a beat and they win their division, a lot of the credit could go to Brayden Point. At +2100, this is some nice value.
If you think the Penguins have one more run in them (I don’t), then betting on Sidney Crosby to win the MVP is probably a good idea. You can currently get him at +2500.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights are a very good team that should contend for the Cup. The issue with betting on their best player, Mark Stone, is that they are so deep. The perception here is that it’s not one guy who makes this team click. That said, Stone is the guy if Vegas dominates the regular season and he’s at +3000
If Tampa falters a bit, it could be Carolina who ends up being the beneficiary. This is a really good team that for some reason or another refuses to address their goaltending. Sebastian Aho is the best player on that team and while they have a lot of other good players, Aho could start to get some national recognition if the Hurricanes make a run. Sebastian Aho is +3200 to win the HART
Aleksander Barkov was a 100 point player just 2 years ago. He’s off the charts when it comes to talent. The problem here is the team. If Bobrovsky can regain his Vezina form and the team pays better attention to the defensive zone, this is a team that could surprise. I don’t think it’s likely they make that big of a jump, but if I’m wrong and they do, Barkov could represent some sneaky value at +5500.
2021 NHL ODDS: Norris Trophy Futures
Norris Trophy Odds: Victor Hedman +400, Roman Josi +600, Dougie Hamilton +650, John Carlson +900, Alex Pietrangelo +1150, Quinn Hughes +1200, Cale Makar +1200, Erik Karlsson +1500, Torey Krug +1600, Kris Letang +1700, Miro Heiskanen +2000, Morgan Rielly +2000, Charlie McAvoy +2000, Zach Werenski +2000, Seth Jones +2000, Brent Burns +2000
This is a strange award in my opinion. While the intent is to award the best defenseman, the truth is, this is an award that almost invariably goes to the best “offensive” defenseman regardless of how they play in their own end.
With that, let’s look at some defenseman that could be in contention and offer us decent value.
If Dallas takes off where they left this summer, Miro Heiskanen could be in the conversation. He’s actually a fantastic all-around defenseman who puts up numbers too. At +2000, I like it.
Can former #1 overall pick, Rasmus Dahlin take the next step? I don’t think he’s quite there yet, but if I’m wrong, you can get 40-1 on him. He’s incredibly talented and will contend for NORRIS trophies in the future. Defensemen tend to mature slower than forwards.
Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar are two incredibly talented young defensemen who put up tons of points – again, I think they are probably a year or two away, but if you want to gamble on them, I think +1200 is a nice opportunity.
Alex Pietrangelo was signed by Vegas and with that, Shea Theodore’s NORRIS hopes went down the drain, right? In all likelihood, having two elite defensemen in Vegas will make it hard for either to win. That said, if I’m betting on one of them, it’s Theodore at +2500. Pietrangelo is currently +1150. Theodore has gotten better each year and he’s going to be getting a lot of power play time on a team that will score a ton. If Vegas dominates the regular season, there might be some pressure to give a Knight an award – Shea could be that guy.
2021 NHL ODDS: Vezina Trophy Futures
Vezina Trophy Odds: Andrei Vasilevskiy +650, Connor Hellebuyck +800, John Gibson +1000, Carter Hart +1000, Carey Price +1100, Tuukka Rask +1200, Frederik Andersen +1200, Robin Lehner +1300, Mackenzie Blackwood +1400, Jacob Markstrom +1400, Anton Khudobin +1500, Ilya Samsonov +1500, Igor Shestyorkin +1600, Philip Grubauer +1700, Semyon Varlamov +1700, Sergei Bobrovsky +1700, Darcy Kuemper +1800, Jordan Binnington +1900, Tristan Jarry +2000
This one goes to the best goalie. I think of goalies like I do running backs in football. Yes, there are a few that are good enough to actually make a difference, but for the most part I think they are kind of interchangeable. Now, don’t get me wrong, you need a hot goalie to win the Cup, but trying to figure out who will get hot at the right time is maddening.
For example, Jordan Binnington was on fire a couple of years ago and led the Blues from last place to the Cup. He started that season 4th on the goalie depth chart in St. Louis. Fast forward a year and he was mediocre at best. You can get +1900 if you think he can regain that form.
Sergei Bobrovsky has won this trophy twice and yet this year, thirteen goalies have better odds than him.
I’ll be looking for long shot goalies that have the talent, the system, and the opportunity.
Jacob Markstrom in Calgary. They signed him this off-season and he’s good. Calgary is a team that won their division just one year ago so if they rebound a bit, maybe Markstrom is in the conversation. (+1400)
Semyon Varlamov is the goalie for the defense-first NY Islanders. They play in an incredibly difficult division, so it’ll be tough, but with Trotz coaching this team, their goalies should have success. Varlamov is +1700 to win the Vezina. The issue in NY is that Trotz likes to use both of his goalies and they have a talented Russian rookie in Ilya Sorokin.
I’m a huge Darcy Kuemper fan. I legitimately believe he’s one of the more talented goalies in the league. The issue with him is he plays for the Coyotes who shouldn’t be very good. That said, they do play a defensive brand of hockey and before Kuemper got hurt last season, he was certainly in the Vezina conversation. At +1800, I like the value.
And one last long shot who I’ve been targeting in the last rounds of all my fantasy drafts is Minnesota Wild goalie, Cam Talbot. Talbot isn’t special. You can argue, he’s not even particularly good. But, as I’ve said many times, all of these NHL quality goalies can get hot. The Wild are incredibly deep. They might have the most unheralded and underrated defensive core in the league and because of their limitations offensively, they win a lot of 2-1 games. Talbot is certainly a long shot, but at +2100, he’s worth it. At worst, pick him up in the last round of your fantasy league.