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NHL betting: Early season futures market movement

We are a little over three weeks into the NHL season now. All teams have played between five and eight games. While it's important not to overreact to small sample sizes in a sport ruled by variance like hockey, it's also important to keep tabs on what is going on. 

Despite the limited amount of data, we've already seen some significant movement in the futures market at BetMGM. Betting futures is all about timing and getting the best number possible to increase your expected value. Which players and teams have seen the most movement in the market so far?

Stanley Cup

The biggest mover in the Stanley Cup winner futures market has been the Florida Panthers. Florida opened the season with 25-to-1 odds to hoist Lord Stanley, but those odds have been slashed all the way to +850. 

The Panthers have been dominant to open the season, going 7-0-0 in their first seven games of the new campaign. Many expected Florida to be amongst the better teams in the league, but I don't think anyone expected this level of dominance. 

The Florida Panthers are 7-0-0 to begin the season and have become one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports The Florida Panthers are 7-0-0 to begin the season and have become one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

I wouldn't buy the Panthers at this price just yet as the organization might be on the brink of major changes. Joel Quenneville is meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday to discuss his involvement in the Chicago Blackhawks (Quenneville's former team) sexual assault cover-up in 2010. There's a growing feeling that this situation may cost Quenneville his job which would leave the undefeated Panthers without one of the best coaches of all time. 

Another team with notable movement is the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton opened the season with 28-to-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup, but after their 5-1-0 start to the season, those odds have been slashed in half to the current number of 14-to-1.

One market movement that makes no sense is the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina opened the season with 14-to-1 odds to win it all, have gone 5-0-0 to start the season, but their current price is 20-to-1. I don't mind adding the Hurricanes to my portfolio at these odds. 

Hart Trophy

The Hart Trophy is given to the NHL's most valuable player, and there's little doubt who that is. Unfortunately, the odds reflect that reality.

Connor McDavid currently sits at just +145 to win the Hart, which is kind of an unreal price in October for a season-long award that won't be won until late-Spring. Nevertheless, McDavid is the favorite for good reason. Through 6 games, McDavid has 7 goals and 15 points. He has multiple points in every game this season. McDavid opened the season at +300 to win the award and nearly 82% of the betting handle is backing him.

Alex Ovechkin might be 36 years old, but he's still one of the best players in the league. After opening the season with 35-to-1 odds to win the Hart, Ovechkin's odds are currently down to just 12-to-1. The Capitals' sniper has scored in all but one game this season and he's got 8 goals in 7 games. 

One notable downward trend has been Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. While it's not common for goaltenders to win the Hart, Vasilevskiy is widely considered the best goalie in the sport. He opened the season with 14-to-1 odds to win the award, but that number has ballooned all the way up to 66-to-1.

Vezina Trophy

Juuse Saros opened as a 35-to-1 shot to win the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender. However, he currently sits at just 20-to-1 after three weeks of the NHL season. Saros is a very good goalie and he's had a solid start to the season, but I'm not sure his Nashville Predators will be good enough for him to get the attention he deserves. He was underpriced at the start of the season, and now feels more fairly priced. 

Another mover in the Vezina market has been Rangers' goaltender Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin currently sits at 12-to-1 to win the award after opening the season at 20-to-1. The Russian netminder has been very good for New York as they're off to a solid start this season. If the Rangers keep playing at a high level, Shesterkin could definitely be a candidate to win this award.

Calder Trophy

Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond is your current favorite at +450 to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie. Raymond opened the season with 20-to-1 odds, but he has 4 goals and 8 points through his first seven games of the season. He currently leads all rookies in both categories. Raymond is definitely talented, but it seems like Detroit is slightly over-performing to open the season. Will Raymond be able to keep this up when Detroit comes crashing back down? Raymond has received over 34% of the bets to win the Calder. 

Another notable line movement has been with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting. Bunting has gotten a great opportunity to play on Toronto's first line with Auston Matthews and William Nylander. He hasn't produced eye-popping numbers, but if he stays on that top line all season long, the points will come. Bunting opened the season with 35-to-1 odds to win the Calder, but his current odds sit at 16-to-1.

Jack Adams Award

The Jack Adams Award is given to the NHL's best coach. The current favorite to win the award is Joel Quenneville at +500 after his Florida Panthers have gotten off to a 7-0-0 start. However, as mentioned earlier, I definitely would not bet Quenneville at this number, or any number for that matter, as there's growing pressure for the Panthers to relieve him of his duties after his involvement in the Blackhawks' situation. He's not going to win the award if he's fired. Even if he isn't fired, I have a hard time seeing voters rewarding someone who played a part in covering up sexual assault. 

The main market movement early in the season has centered around Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. The Penguins are without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust, but they still have a 3-1-2 record through their first six games. Sullivan has kept his team afloat despite a string of injuries to his best players. Sullivan currently sits at 14-to-1 to win the award after opening the year at 50-to-1. 

Source: NHL betting: Early season futures market movement

NHL Plays: Thursday

The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!

NHL Plays will highlight the best and the most underrated daily fantasy options among forwards, defensemen and goaltenders.

Please note, these players were chosen early in the day, so make sure to check NBC Sports EDGE's player news for any lineup changes, injuries and potential changes in the crease for starting goaltenders.

Additionally, it is worth reminding everyone that FanDuel allows you to roster nine players (2C, 2W, 2D, 2UTIL 1G) with a salary cap of $55,000, while DraftKings has a cap of $50,000 for nine players (2C, 3W, 2D, 1G, 1UTIL) and Yahoo has a $200 budget for nine players (2C, 3W, 2D, 2G).

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out NBC Sports EDGE's Player News, and follow @NBCSEdgeHK and @CoreAbbott on Twitter.

Thursday has nine games on the schedule.


Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles) - C - $8,700 (FanDuel), $7,400 (DraftKings), $23 (Yahoo)

Kopitar hasn’t picked up a point in his past two outings following a four-game point streak. He should be able to get back on track in a home matchup against Winnipeg. Kopitar has four goals and three helpers in two matches at the STAPLES Center this season. Additionally, he had one goal and two assists against the Jets in 2019-20 when the team last met.

Sebastian Aho (Carolina) - C - $8,500 (FanDuel), $7,000 (DraftKings), $33 (Yahoo)

Aho has registered at least one point in each of his first five outings this campaign. He has four goals and three assists during that span along with 14 shots on target. Additionally, Aho has four markers during a three-game goal spree. He has eight goals and 12 points in 10 career matches versus Boston.

Logan Couture (San Jose) - C - $5,500 (FanDuel), $6,400 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo)

Story continues

Couture has compiled three goals and six assists during a season-opening six-game point streak. He has been credited with 16 shots on goal during that stretch. Couture has amassed six goals and 18 points in 15 career contests versus Montreal, which includes two assists in a 5-0 win on Oct. 19.

Andrew Copp (Winnipeg) - W - $4,700 (FanDuel), C - $5,900 (DraftKings), $19 (Yahoo)

Copp has fit in nicely as a top-six forward for Winnipeg this season, while generating four goals and four assists in six games. He has two three-point efforts, which includes a stat line of one goal, two assists and six shots this past Tuesday.

Andrew Mangiapane (Calgary) - W - $4,400 (FanDuel), $6,000 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo)

Mangiapane has been white hot with seven goals through six matches. He has found the back of the net six times during a four-game goal streak going into Thursday night’s action.

Bargain Bin: Alex Killorn (TB) - W - $4,800 (FanDuel), $4,200 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo), Evan Rodrigues (PIT) - C - $4,700 (FanDuel), $4,000 (DraftKings), $15 (Yahoo), Victor Olofsson (BUF) - W - $5,300 (FanDuel), $5,200 (DraftKings), $17 (Yahoo)

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Torey Krug (St. Louis) - $5,600 (FanDuel), $5,200 (DraftKings), $18 (Yahoo)

Krug has compiled four of his five assists in the past two games, while adding six shots on goal and two points on the power play. He also checks in with good cap hits and has five helpers in his last nine matchups versus Colorado.

Neal Pionk (Winnipeg) - $5,000 (FanDuel), $5,300 (DraftKings), $17 (Yahoo)

Pionk has accounted for six assists, 17 shots, eight blocks and 23 hits in six games to begin the 2021-22 season. He has been held off the scoresheet on just two occasions so far and has three helpers in the past two matches. Pionk has plenty of bang for the buck upside on Thursday night.

Bargain Bin: Erik Karlsson (SJ) - $5,300 (FanDuel), $5,000 (DraftKings), $17 (Yahoo), Jaccob Slavin (CAR) - $4,200 (FanDuel), $4,100 (DraftKings), $17 (Yahoo), Bowen Byram (COL) - $4,200 (FanDuel), $3,500 (DraftKings), $10 (Yahoo)


Adin Hill (San Jose) - $7,100 (FanDuel), $8,300 (DraftKings), $32 (Yahoo)

Hill has had a strong start to the season with the Sharks. His loss to Boston on Sunday damaged his numbers, but he had stopped 71 of 77 shots prior to being pulled early from that contest. He registered a 21-save shutout against Montreal on Oct. 19 and could get a chance to bounce back on Thursday night.

Bargain Bin: Craig Anderson (BUF) - $6,700 (FanDuel), $7,500 (DraftKings), $30 (Yahoo), John Gibson (ANA) - $6,800 (FanDuel), $7,800 (DraftKings), $26 (Yahoo), Thatcher Demko (VAN) - $7,400 (FanDuel), $7,700 (DraftKings), $28 (Yahoo)

Source: NHL Plays: Thursday

Mats Zuccarello, Rem Pitlick sidelined for Wild after entering NHL Covid 19 protocol

SEATTLE — Mats Zuccarello, the Wild's leading scorer, has entered the NHL's COVID-19 protocols along with teammate Rem Pitlick. The two forwards will miss Thursday night's game against the Kraken in Seattle and likely most of the next two weeks.

The two players apparently tested positive on Wednesday, when the Wild abruptly canceled practice at Climate Pledge Arena less than an hour before it was scheduled to take the ice.

Zuccarello, the team's leading scorer with three goals and four assists, had a goal and Pitlick, playing in his first game of the season, set up another in the Wild's 3-1 victory in Vancouver on Tuesday night.

The Wild recalled forwards Connor Dewar and Kyle Rau from Iowa of the American Hockey League, and also called up defenseman Jon Lizotte.

The team is scheduled for a pregame skate at 1:30 Central time before a 9 p.m. start against the expansion Kraken.

Three Wild coaches — assistant Darby Hendrickson, goaltending coach Frederic Chabot and video coach T.J. Jindra — are in the NHL's COVID protocols and did not make the three-game road trip, which concludes Saturday in Colorado.

Wild players are vaccinated and subject to testing at least every three days. Under the league's guidelines, a player is to isolate after testing positive. A confirmatory test is performed on the same sample; if that result turns out to be negative, a player has to test negative twice more in a 48-hour span to be confirmed negative and exit isolation. As for a positive case, that player must isolate for at least 10 days since the onset of symptoms.

Dewar, 22, has not played in the NHL. The Wild's third round pick (92nd overall) in 2018 has two goals in four games at Iowa this season, his third with the Baby Wild.

Rau, 29, is a former Gophers captain and Eden Prairie standout who has played in 56 NHL games and has two goals. He hasn't scored in 23 games for the Wild over three seasons, however.

Lizotte, 26, is a Grand Forks native who played at St. Cloud State. He spent his first three pro seasons in the Pittsburgh organization at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but has yet to make his NHL debut. He had an assist in four games in Iowa.

Zuccarello was on the team's first line with center Joel Eriksson Ek and right winger Kirill Kaprizov.

The Wild has two players, forward Victor Rask and defenseman Jordie Benn, who were healthy scratches on Tuesday. Teams can carry up to 23 players, although the Wild had only 22 on their roster before Thursday.

Source: Mats Zuccarello, Rem Pitlick sidelined for Wild after entering NHL Covid 19 protocol

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