NHL 2023-24 futures: Best bets to win the 'Rocket' Richard Trophy
Connor McDavid dethroned Auston Matthews and won the award with a remarkable 64-goal campaign a season ago.
Can McDavid defend his title after the most prolific scoring season we've seen since 2007-08, or will there be a new sheriff in town? Let's take a closer look at where the value lies.
Note: listed players 60:1 or shorter. Odds via theScore Bet.
Leon Draisaitl (+750)
The market suggests there is a pretty clear gap between Draisaitl and the two front runners, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. I don't see it that way.
Draisaitl has scored 107 goals over the past two seasons. That puts him just one goal behind McDavid for the league lead in that span - and Draisaitl made a couple fewer appearances. On a per-game basis, nobody has scored more than Draisaitl over the last couple years.
Draisaitl is the go-to guy on a historically good power play - he is 21 power play goals clear of the NHL's second most prolific scorer in that time - and he is extremely durable, having missed only two games over the past three seasons.
While Draisaitl is not as dynamic as McDavid, he is more of a traditional shooter and finishes at a noticeably higher rate. I think +750 is a very generous price for arguably the sport's best sniper.
Kirill Kaprizov (+3000)
Kaprizov has quietly been one of the league's best scorers over the past couple of seasons. He scored 47 goals in his sophomore year with the Wild and followed it up with 40 in 67 games last season, a 49-goal pace.
While the winner snuck into the 60s in back-to-back years, the "Rocket" Richard winner needed no more than 53 goals for a decade before that. Kaprizov was sniffing around that territory last season - and there's reason to believe he could amp things up further.
Kaprizov's shot volume has increased each year in the league, and he's gotten to the point where - unlike many stars up front - he is playing more than 21 minutes per game. That's top-tier usage.
Had Kaprizov finished at, say, a 17% clip - as opposed to 15% - he'd have scored 45 goals in 67 games last year, which is a 55-goal pace.
I think Kaprizov will have the shot volume, usage, and finishing rate necessary to score more than 50 goals. If the bar is in the mid-50s, rather than the 60s (like the last two seasons), Kaprizov will have a fighting chance. At +3000, he's worth a dart throw.
Jack Hughes (+3000)
When Hughes entered the NHL, he was a very slim playmaking forward who didn't have the shot power, or release, to test goaltenders. He almost looked like a kid playing years above his age group, which, technically speaking, he was.
He has come a long way in a short period of time, having averaged 45 goals per 82 games over the last two seasons.
Hughes is a puck-dominant player who now threatens as a passer and a shooter. Last season, he finished fifth in shots on goal and scored more five-on-five goals than the likes of Matthews and Nathan MacKinnon. Yeah, he was that good - and at just 21 years of age.
The Devils improved the personnel around Hughes and are hoping new assistant coach Travis Green can help get more out of the team on the power play.
Hughes doesn't need to ramp things up a notch at five-on-five to get in contention for hardware. If he can make marginal improvements finishing - while maintaining the same kind of shot volume - and boost his power play outputs, the sky really is the limit.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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