Crosby's Cold Streak Opens up NHL Goal-Scoring Race

Like I predicted just under a month ago, Sidney Crosby has slowed down his scoring pace – significantly. At the time of our last update, the Penguins captain was scoring on a ridiculous 23.2 percent of his shots but since then he’s scored just three goals on 28 shots, dropping his shooting percentage to an even 20 percent. Other guys like Alex Ovechkin, Max Pacioretty and Brad Marchand have turned up the heat and have scored their way back into the goal-scoring race.

Sportsbook has recognized Crosby’s cold streak and moved him from his -285 odds to the +140 number where he now sits. If you listened to me and put your money on Mr. Ovechkin’s +550 value, you’d better thank me. The Great 8 has scored nine times since the turn of the calendar and has put himself back in good position to earn his fifth consecutive Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and his line has been adjusted to +205.

Along the same lines as Ovi, we have Brad Marchand, the Little Ball of Hate. Marchy is one of the most polarizing players since the likes of Sean Avery and Todd Bertuzzi roamed the ice but one thing his haters cannot deny – the guy can frigging score. He’s popped 13 goals since the start of January and is beginning to give hope to those who followed my advice at the start of the season and put money on the +2500 line for Marchand to lead the league in goals. He now has 23 and it looks like he’s just starting to crank up the intensity knob. A problem with betting on the Bruins winger right now is that he’s one obvious slew foot away from a lengthy suspension. He’s gotten away with two iffy ones in the last two weeks but a third could have him watching the action from the press box.

And then we have Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens. Patches had an incredibly bad start to his year, scoring just five goals in his first 24 games, but has since bulged the twine 19 times with two hat-trick performances. Max has had to step up offensively with many of the Habs’ first-choice wingers going down with injury and he’s benefited immensely from the re-emergence of Alexander Radulov. The two have combined to contribute a large chunk of Montreal’s offense and the majority of Patches’ goals this year have come from Rad-Dad helpers.

Also throwing their proverbial hats in the race are rookies Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, who are neck and neck in the Calder Trophy conversation. They have 23 goals apiece and have surprised many with their NHL readiness. Laine is offering more value at +1600, despite playing fewer games than the man who went one spot ahead of him in the 2016 draft and that makes zero sense. The Finn has already proved he's the more natural goal scorer of the two and is beyond a shadow of a doubt going to be a 50-a-year guy for the rest of his career.

Here’s the complete list of Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy odds:

2016-17 Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Sportsbook
Sidney Crosby (PIT)+140
Alexander Ovechkin (WSH)+205
Jeff Carter (LAK)+700
Auston Matthews (TOR)+1100
Evgeni Malkin (PIT)+1200
Cam Atkinson (CLB)+1400
Patrik Laine (WIN)+1600
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)+1800

Odds as of February 2, 2017 at Sportsbook

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Just when you thought the guard in the NHL was changing and the old stalwarts were ready to hand over the keys to the awaiting youngsters, Sidney Crosby comes along and puts the kids back where they belong – in the back seat. Sid the Kid leads the league in goals with 26 and is one off the pace in the NHL points race with 42. The 11-year veteran, at 29 years old, is not ready to get off the throne and is on pace to score well over 50 goals.

Crosby has only scored more than 40 goals once in his career and that was back in the 2009-10 campaign when the Nova Scotia native buried 51 pucks behind opposing netminders. Right now, he’s the only guy on pace to break 50 and seems like a lock to take home the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the second time in his career.

That said, I’m not so sure Crosby can keep up his ridiculous pace and I’ll be spending my futures dollars elsewhere. Sid is currently scoring on 23.2 percent of his shots – an absolutely ridiculous percentage. Captain Cros has never finished a season shooting the puck over 20 percent so I see a regression coming.

So, even if Crosby does cool off significantly, can anyone catch him? I think so, and a couple of guys who are having tough first halves jump right off the page.

Alex Ovechkin is the obvious one. He has just 18 goals right now but as we’ve seen time and time again, Ovi can score in bunches and when he heats up, good luck stopping him. The Great Eight is shooting at an anemic 12.2 percent rate right now and has been taking far fewer shots than he has in years past. With the Capitals slipping in the race for the Metropolitan, expect Ovi’s minutes to crank back up and for his shot numbers to blow up. At +550 Ovechkin is a no-brainer.

The not-so-obvious one is Vladimir Tarasenko at +1500. Tara is basically a younger version of Ovechkin. He loves to score and he does so in ridiculous ways. He has been passing the puck a lot more than we’ve grown accustomed to over his four-year career and has accumulated 23 assists to go along with his 18 goals. The Russian scored 40 goals last season and has scored more goals every year he’s been in the league.

This guy is way too talented to plateau at 40 goals and he could be due for an explosion. Expect him to slow down with this passing-the-puck nonsense and start scoring at the rate we're used to.

Here’s the complete list of Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy odds:

2016-17 Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Sportsbook
Sidney Crosby (PIT)-285
Alexander Ovechkin (WSH)+550
Patrik Laine (WIN)+550
David Pastrnak (BOS)+850
Auston Matthews (TOR)+900
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)+1500
Jeff Carter (LAK)+2200

Odds as of January 4 at Sportsbook

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Through the first eighth of the NHL schedule, goals are being scored at a rate we haven’t seen in close to 10 years and the top of the goal-scoring leaderboard is extremely clogged with 10 players all within a goal of one another.

One name you won’t find among those 10 is one whose absence may be a bit surprising, as he has led the NHL in goals for four straight years. Alex Ovechkin, the defending Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Sportsbook, has just four goals so far this year as his Capitals have been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL. Make no mistake, Ovechkin is still an elite scorer and a high-volume shooter. He will be up near the league lead once again and according to Sportsbook he should finish the year on top.

This season feels like kind of a crapshoot right now as there are some absolute no-names hovering at or near the top of the list. If you think the current leader, Artem Anisimov, has any chance of taking the trophy, then you should probably re-evaluate your status as either a hockey fan or hockey bettor. That said, there’s plenty of value on the board as I expect this season to be one of the most competitive we’ve seen for a while in the goal-scoring race.

Before the start of the season, I wrote in multiple pieces about how I thought Brad Marchand at +2500 to win the Rocket Richard Trophy was a steal. There must have been something behind that as he’s now been bumped up to a much more reasonable +1000 price. Marchand has four goals right now on just 18 shots and is sure to see his fair share of scoring chances playing on a line with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.

If I’m talking about hockey this year, I’m also going to be talking about Connor McDavid. This kid is so electric he makes my head spin. The speed at which he plays the game is absolutely marveling and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if the 19-year-old breaks through that 100-point barrier this season. The Oilers captain is basically a lock for the Art Ross Trophy and if he decides he wants to score instead of pass to his teammates, this goal-scoring race could be his to lose.

Here’s the complete list of Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy odds:

2016-17 Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Sportsbook
Alexander Ovechkin (WSH)+260
Sidney Crosby (PIT)+650
Steven Stamkos (TB)+650
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)+800
Connor McDavid (EDM) +850
Patrick Kane (CHI)+900
Brad Marchand (BOS)+1000
Joe Pavelski (SJS)+1000
Jamie Benn (DAL) +1100
Corey Perry (ANA)+1100

Odds as of November 2 at Sportsbook

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Alex Ovechkin has had the key to the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy case for four years in a row now and has, to no one’s surprise, opened as the betting favorite to take goal-scoring honors for the seventh time in his career. Ovie has scored fewer than 50 goals in only four of his 10 seasons in the NHL and nothing suggests he will be slowing down any time soon. There are, however, some guys on the list who have a chance to challenge the Great 8 this season and possibly even usurp him.

Sportsbook has the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy odds and believes fellow Russian Vladimir Tarasenko has the best chance to end Ovechkin’s reign and, frankly, I agree. Tara is one of the most electric players on the ice and has a natural goal-scoring touch eerily similar to that of Ilya Kovalchuk. The “Tarasenk-show” was one of just four players to score 40 or more goals last year and should be able to break the 50-goal plateau as he’s scored more goals every year he’s been in the league so far.

Steven Stamkos always deserves a mention in this conversation as he was the last man to hold the trophy before Ovie began his tenure. Stammer’s goal outputs have been extremely inconsistent but the Bolts’ centerman has put up 50 or more goals twice, including his 60-goal explosion in 2011-12. +700 is decent value but I’d expect a slightly better price for a guy who does not have the same goal-scoring expectations put on him anymore.

The man getting the least amount of respect in terms of odds is big baby Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins. I wrote in my season preview of the Bruins that Marchand at +2500 is my favorite Boston-related bet out there right now. Marchy’s 37 goals last year earned him a shiny new contract and if the Bruins are going to succeed this year, the Little Ball of Hate is going to have to score. It’s entirely possible he regresses, but I like that value.

Don’t sleep on Dallas Stars teammates Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn in this race either. They combined for 74 goals last season with Seguin missing 10 games, so it’s not ludicrous to think that 10 or 15 goals shift to one, either him or Benn depending on what kind of role each of them takes on this season.

Here’s the complete list of Maurice “Rocket” Richard odds:

2016-17 Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Sportsbook
Alexander Ovechkin (WSH)+200
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)+550
Patrick Kane (CHI)+600
Steven Stamkos (TB)+700
Jamie Benn (DAL) +1000
Joe Pavelski (SJS)+1200
Corey Perry (ANA)+1200
John Tavares (NYI)+1400
Sidney Crosby (PIT)+1400
Connor McDavid (EDM) +1600
Tyler Seguin (DAL) +1800
Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)+2000
Nikita Kucherov (TBL)+2500
Max Pacioretty (MTL)+2500
Brad Marchand (BOS)+2500

Odds as of October 5 at Sportsbook

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While the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks look like they could run away with the Eastern Conference and Western Conference at any point, the race to be the 2015-16 goal scoring champ could potentially be a bit more of a close one.

Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks currently leads the league with 30 goals, but he is not the favorite in Rocket Richard Trophy futures. That honor goes to Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin who is currently -110 to win the award at online shop Sportsbook.

Ovi is tied for second in the league with 28 goals – just two behind Kane. Of note here, however, is the fact that the Capitals have played just 47 games compared to the 53 that the Hawks have played to date. Could The Great 8 notch a pair of goals in the six games in hand the Caps have? Of course he could.

A pair of Dallas Stars are also featured on Sportsbook’s board with Jamie Benn (28 goals) at +400 and Tyler Seguin (25 goals) at +1000.


2015-16 NHL Rocket Richard Trophy Odds
  • Alex Ovechkin (WAS) -110
  • Patrick Kane (CHI) +175
  • Jamie Benn (DAL) +400
  • Tyler Seguin (DAL) +1000
  • Vladimir Tarasenko (STL) +1200
  • Joe Pavelski (SJ) +1800
Odds as of February 2 at Sportsbook

Archived Articles

The NHL scoring race is tight this season and the odds certainly reflect that. Dallas Stars teammates Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, and Washington Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin are all listed at +300 to win the Maurice Richard Trophy this season. Benn, Seguin and Ovie are all within the top five in goals in the NHL while the Stars and Caps are the top two scoring teams in the league. 

Close behind the top three are Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. Tarasenko continues to grow into the best young sniper in the NHL while Kane is putting up a Hart Trophy worthy year so far.

If you are feeling really Sportsbooky, Steven Stamkos is still on the board at +3000. The Lightning center is currently outside the top 10 in goals this season as the team has struggled to score.

2016 RICHARD Trophy Sportsbook
Tyler Seguin (DAL)+300
Jamie Benn (DAL)+300
Alexander Ovechkin (WSH)+300
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)+350
Patrick Kane (CHI)+400
Steven Stamkos (TB)+3000

Odds as of January 5 at Sportsbook

Archived Articles

Which sniper is favored to notch the most goals in the upcoming NHL season? According to online sportsbook Sportsbook, it’s Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin.

“Ovie” is currently a very narrow +250 favorite to win the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s leading regular season goal scorer. Ovechkin has been the recipient of the hardware five times in his 10 year career, including three-straight years heading into the 2015/16 campaign.

Right on the Russian’s heels is, unsurprisingly, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning at +260 odds. Stamkos is no stranger to finding the back of the net, potting 43 goals in 2014/15 – the fourth time he’s eclipsed 40 since entering the league in 2008.

Looking for some long shot value? Edmonton Oilers super rookie Connor McDavid is +1800 at the shop, ahead of established goal scorers Joe Pavelski, Max Pacioretty, Evgeni Malkin, Jamie Benn, Ryan Johansen and Zach Parise.

2015/16 Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy odds
  • Alexander Ovechkin +250
  • Steven Stamkos +260
  • Phil Kessel +700
  • Corey Perry +1000
  • John Tavares +1200
  • Tyler Seguin +1200
  • Vladimir Tarasenko +1600
  • Sidney Crosby +1600
  • Rick Nash +1800
  • Connor McDavid +1800
  • Joe Pavelski +2000
  • Max Pacioretty +2000
  • Evgeni Malkin +2000
  • Jamie Benn +2500
  • Ryan Johansen +3000
  • Zach Parise +5000
Odds as of October 2 at Sportsbook
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