Morning Coffee: Hughes, Makar meet in battle of Norris favourites
The Vancouver Canucks have been one of the biggest risers in the Stanley Cup Winner market at FanDuel.
Their 24-year-old franchise defenceman is a big reason for it.
Quinn Hughes leads the NHL with 30 points in 19 games. After his torrid start, Hughes is now the favourite to win the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenceman at FanDuel.
At the beginning of the season, that distinction belonged to Cale Makar, who has since fallen to the second choice despite another outstanding start to the year.
Hughes and Makar represent the new generation of elite young defencemen in the NHL.
Tonight, they’ll go head-to-head when the Canucks visit the Colorado Avalanche in a highly anticipated Western Conference showdown.
This is the Morning Coffee for Wednesday Nov. 22, 2023.
Hughes, Makar meet in battle of Norris favourites
No one was surprised when Makar opened as the favourite to win the Norris Trophy at +240 odds at FanDuel back in June.
At the time, Hughes was the second choice to win the award at +800.
Fast-forward five months later, it’s Hughes that has emerged as the Norris favourite at +150 odds.
Makar, who has started hot once again with 27 points in 17 games, remains a close second choice behind Hughes at +240 – the exact same price he opened at back in the summer.
While only three points separates Hughes and Makar at the top of the NHL scoring list, seven points separates Makar from Victor Hedman, who is third among defencemen with 20 points.
Shea Theodore, Vince Dunn, and Hughes’ teammate Filip Hronek all have 18 points this season.
Meanwhile, the Norris isn’t the only betting market that features a Canuck at the top of the list.
Thatcher Demko has emerged as the favourite to win the Vezina Trophy at +600 odds at FanDuel.
Rick Tocchet is the favourite to win the Jack Adams Award as the coach of the year at +550.
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar is fourth on that list at +1500 odds.
Vancouver has surpassed all expectations out of the gates this season.
Tonight, the Canucks get the opportunity to prove once again that they can skate with the best in the Western Conference as a +140 ML underdog in Colorado.
With Hughes and Makar set to go head-to-head, I’m looking forward to staying up a little later to watch tonight’s game.
Could the Oilers actually miss the playoffs?
The Edmonton Oilers were among the top three choices to win the Stanley Cup at FanDuel at the start of the year.
As of this morning, only two teams in the NHL have fewer points.
Coming off back-to-back losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers, the Oilers will attempt to bounce back tonight on the road as a +122 ML underdog against the Carolina Hurricanes.
If the Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks win in regulation tonight, then that would leave the San Jose Sharks as the only team in the NHL with a worse record than Edmonton.
For context, the Sharks remain a heavy favourite to finish with the worst record in the NHL at FanDuel.
The Oilers are still considered a Stanley Cup contender. Edmonton’s odds to make the playoffs have dipped from -200 to -160 over the past week.
As it stands, FanDuel gives the Oilers a 61.5 per cent implied probability to make the playoffs, which is their lowest number at any point so far this season.
It might seem like a stretch to question whether a team led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl could actually miss the playoffs.
However, when you look at the raw numbers through the first few weeks of the regular season, Edmonton is closer to the worst record in the NHL than a Stanley Cup contender right now.
Calder favourites clash in Columbus
Connor Bedard remains the obvious choice to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year with 15 points in his first 16 NHL games.
Tonight, Bedard will go head-to-head with the third-overall pick from last year’s draft in Adam Fantilli, who has nine points in 19 games out of the gate.
While Bedard is in a class of his own, it will be fun to see two of the top-five choices to win the Calder meet tonight when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Columbus is a -152 ML favourite on home ice.
However, no player is more likely to record a goal in that game than Bedard.