Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 12, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
- Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche is the +750 favorite to win the 2021 Conn Smythe Trophy as NHL Stanley Cup playoffs MVP
- The last 16 winners of the trophy all played for the team that won the Stanley Cup
- No goaltender has won the Conn Smythe over the past seven years. In the history of the trophy, it’s never gone eight years without a goalie winning it
The Colorado Avalanche are favored to win the Stanley Cup. It makes perfect sense that Nathan MacKinnon is favored in the odds to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup MVP. MacKinnon, after all, is the best player on the Avs.
In recent years, that’s who’s been winning the Conn Smythe. It’s been the best player on the championship roster. Consider Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues (2019), Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (2018), Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016-17), and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (2013).
Another interesting trend to consider – 17 of the last 18 Conn Smythe winners were also first-time winners of the award. MacKinnon slots into this category as well.
2021 Conn Smythe Trophy Odds
|Player (Team)||Odds at DraftKings|
|Nathan MacKinnon (Avalanche)||+750|
|Nikita Kucherov (Lightning)||+1100|
|Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs)||+1100|
|Marc-Andre Fleury (Golden Knights)||+1400|
|Victor Hedman (Lightning)||+1500|
|Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning)||+1600|
|Mitchell Marner (Maple Leafs)||+1700|
|Brayden Point (Lightning)||+2000|
|Mikko Rantanen (Avalanche)||+2000|
|Sebastien Aho (Hurricanes)||+2200|
|Connor McDavid (Oilers)||+2200|
|TJ Oshie (Capitals)||+2300|
|Tuukka Rask (Bruins)||+2300|
|Sidney Crosby (Penguins)||+2500|
|Philipp Grubauer (Avalanche)||+2500|
|Dougie Hamilton (Hurricanes)||+2500|
|Petr Mrazek (Hurricanes)||+2500|
|Alexander Ovechkin (Capitals)||+2500|
|Mark Stone (Golden Knights)||+2500|
|Cam Talbot (Wild)||+2500|
|Steven Stamkos (Lightning)||+2700|
|Nicklas Backstrom (Capitals)||+3000|
|Kirill Kaprizov (Wild)||+3000|
|Cale Makar (Avalanche)||+3000|
|Semyon Varlamov (Islanders)||+3000|
Odds as of May 17th
Then again, so do the other top contenders for the award – Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning (both +1100), and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights (+1400).
MacKinnon Proven Playoff Producer
Prior to last season, MacKinnon was already establishing a presence as someone who delivered the goods in postseason play. Through his first 25 NHL playoff games, he collected 29 points. That works out to 1.16 points per game.
Nathan MacKinnon chose fast ball on this one. ⚾ pic.twitter.com/vArm8TMLP9
— NHL (@NHL) April 13, 2021
Then last season, he ignited. The Avs center exploded for 25 points in 15 games or 1.67 points per game. The NHL hadn’t seen production like that since the halcyon days of Wayne Gretzky.
2021 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
Goalies Are Overdue
Unlike the Hart Trophy, which goes to the regular-season NHL MVP, the Conn Smythe is historically dominated by netminders. Only centers (19) have won more Smythes than goalies (16).
The AUDACITY of Marc-Andre Fleury pic.twitter.com/XovwMlhI4f
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 16, 2021
However, there hasn’t been a goalie winner since Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2012. That seven-year gap equals the longest ever without a goaltending Conn Smythe win.
A Defenseman for Conn Smythe?
Go ahead, put forth an argument that Connor McDavid is the NHL’s best player. Not many will disagree. But McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers are a longshot to make a lengthy Stanley Cup run.
Matthews and the Leafs look well-positioned to get out of the North Division and into the final four. That bodes well for his chances to pile up the points.
#LeafsForever Auston Matthews finishes the season with 41 goals in 52 games. He is the first player to average 0.79 goals per game in a season with 50+ games played since #ALLCAPS Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 (65 G in 82 GP). pic.twitter.com/8opqfvhNt5
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 15, 2021
The Carolina Hurricanes are another squad poised to make a deep playoff run. Sebastien Aho led Carolina in scoring the past two playoff years. He offers great value at +2200.
Last year, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman won the award. Defenders have only won successive Conn Smythes once – Serge Savard (1969) and Bobby Orr (1970).
Registering a lone assist in his team’s 5-1 win vs LAK Thursday, @Avalanche 22-year old superstar Cale Makar has finished his 2020-21 regular season at exactly a point-per-game. It makes him just the 6th name (7 different times) on this impressive list of seasons by a defenceman pic.twitter.com/fDgltsHbAE
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) May 14, 2021
That being said, Colorado’s Cale Makar is a point per game defenseman. He achieved that benchmark in last year’s playoffs and during this year’s regular season. Makar offers great value at +3000 in the Conn Smythe odds.
Pick: Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (+3000)
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An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.