Nikita Kucherov is among the 2020 Conn Smythe favorites, and just may be the best bet at this point.
Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire.
- Four Lightning players are among the top-seven favorites for 2020 Conn Smythe Trophy
- Favorite Brayden Point (+140), with 23 points in 15 games, is dealing with an undisclosed injury. His status is unknown.
- Is Point a good bet? Maybe not
Thanks to a 2-0 series lead against the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Tampa Bay Lightning boast three players, including leading scorer Brayden Point, among the favorites to win the Conn Smythe .
Point (+140) is the favorite, followed by linemate Nikita Kucherov (+235), and defenseman Victor Hedman (+250). The Lightning are the favorites in the Stanley Cup odds, and the Smythe winner has come from the NHL championship team 30 of the past 31 seasons.
2020 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner Odds
|Player (Team)||Odds at DraftKings|
|Brayden Point (Lightning)||+140|
|Nikita Kucherov (Lightning)||+235|
|Victor Hedman (Lightning)||+250|
|Miro Heiskanen (Stars)||+425|
|Shea Theodore (Golden Knights)||+625|
|Mark Stone (Golden Knights)||+750|
|Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning)||+900|
|Robin Lehner (Golden Knights)||+1000|
|Jamie Benn (Stars)||+1600|
|Ondrej Palat (Lightning)||+1700|
|Alexander Radulov (Stars)||+2000|
|John Klingberg (Stars)||+2100|
|Anton Khudobin (Stars)||+2300|
|Max Pacioretty (Golden Knights)||+2500|
|Tyler Seguin (Stars)||+2500|
|Joe Pavelski (Stars)||+2500|
|Denis Guryanov (Stars)||+2900|
|Mathew Barzal (Islanders)||+3200|
|Reilly Smith (Golden Knights)||+3200|
|Roope Hintz (Stars)||+3500|
|Alex Tuch (Golden Knights)||+3500|
Odds as of Sept. 11
Another Tampa Bay player, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (+750), has the seventh-best odds. The only other Lightning player among the top 20 is Ondrej Palat (+1700).
Although the Dallas Stars hold a 2-1 series lead over the Vegas Golden Knights, oddsmakers don’t seem confident of their chances of winning the Cup. The Stars only have Miro Heiskanen ranked among the top-eight Smythe favorites, while Vegas shows two players (Shea Theodore and Mark Stone).
Brayden Point was on the ice for morning skate. That’s a good sign for his status tonight. https://t.co/vNRGiQfHZS pic.twitter.com/aJyyorIJGI
— Diana C. Nearhos (@dianacnearhos) September 11, 2020
Point Isn’t Necessarily a Good Bet
The Lightning haven’t offered any information about Point’s injury. The center probably was injured in the first period of Game 2 because he played two shifts in the second period and then was not on the ice for the third.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said people would have to tune into Game 3 tonight (8:00 pm ET) to find out if he plays or not, and those who did noticed his absence.
This has the Lightning fanbase quite nervous because Point has been the team’s best player throughout the postseason. Nineteen of his 23 points have been at even strength, and he posted a five-point game in Game 1 against the Islanders. He has made people forget that Steven Stamkos has been out with an injury.
I need an update on the Brayden Point injury like I need oxygen
— Wesley Voght (@WesleyVoght) September 10, 2020
But despite Point’s postseason brilliance, he may not be your best betting choice. Based on his odds of +140, Point would need to have over a 42% chance of winning. That’s too high to warrant a strong bet.
Plus, his injury makes him a risky bet. Even if he plays, he’s probably not going to be 100%. The Lightning also have too many guys playing well to take a player at +140. Kucherov only has one fewer point than Point, and he’s a player with overflowing potential to have a big game.
2020 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
Vegas Goalie Boasts Intriguing Number
If you still believe in the Golden Knights, goalie Robin Lehner (+1000) is an attractive betting option.
Here’s what to like about Lehner, in addition to his odds: He has four shutouts, plus a 1.92 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. Those numbers are going to carry some weight with the voting committee if the Golden Knights come back to win the Western Conference Final and the Stanley Cup.
Goalies don’t win the Smythe as often as you would think: Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles) was the last goalie to win (2012).
Per sources, the Vegas Golden Knights and G Robin Lehner have a 5-year contract extension in place, agreed upon prior to the RTP. @irfgaffar and I discuss the details in our report here: pic.twitter.com/8uFn6xR31W
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) September 11, 2020
Who Gets the Conn Smythe if the Stars Win the Cup?
Miro Heiskanen is the most interesting candidate. Voters will be influenced by the fact that he’s 21. He’s also leading defensemen in playoff scoring. The last defenseman to win was Chicago’s Duncan Keith in 2015.
Goalie Anton Khudobin would also be in contention. His play has allowed the Stars to win some games they should have lost this postseason.
Per @MDeFranks || Watch Miro Heiskanen’s path out of the defensive zone (breaking out like he’s a center), and then the stick-foot-stick pass right on Tyler Seguin’s stick to set up a scoring chance. pic.twitter.com/ZhHB6JM75J
— Fantasy Hockey Robot (@FHFHbot) September 11, 2020
Point’s Linemate a Better Choice
While Point is the team’s MVP, Kucherov may be Tampa Bay’s best Conn Smythe choice because he has longer odds, he’s healthier, and he’s going to be neck-and-neck with Point for the team’s scoring lead.
This entire sequence by Kucherov is just nasty pic.twitter.com/HIk3kCfJSN
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) September 8, 2020
Besides, Kucherov, with his wicked shot, is a better goal scorer than Point. Right or wrong, voters traditionally prefer scorers to set-up artists.
Pick: Nikita Kucherov (+235)
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.