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Can Auston Matthews Win the 2022 Hart Trophy?

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Can Auston Matthews Win the 2022 Hart Trophy?
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP

With just a little under two weeks until the NHL season starts, we are already looking at some NHL 2021/22 future markets regarding the Hart trophy winners. We already covered the favorite (Connor McDavid) now it’s time to see if Toronto’s Auston Matthews cab lifts the Hart trophy this season.

Could Poor Playoff Record Hinder His Chances

Matthews has had a poor playoff record since joining the NHL, having just scored 24 points in 32 playoff games, which is below par for a player with such talents as himself. At the very least he should be hitting 32 points in 32 playoff games, although a player of his caliber should be hitting 38+ points in the same amount of games. With that being said, he is due a strong post-season, the big question is can he the Maple Leafs even make the playoffs this season following five previous playoff disappointments.

As we said, Matthews is his team’s best player night in and night out and they will be heavily relying on his goals, leadership, and talent to get this team into the playoffs and as far as they can go. It’s going to be a tough year regardless as the Leafs find themselves back in the Atlantic division following a rare season of being in a division with only Canadian teams in the NHL Covid-19 bubble.

Matthews Represents Some Value

First-round draft pick back in 2016, Auston Matthews has been one of the best players since entering the NHL but has yet to make a claim at the prestigious Hart trophy. He has been named an all-star in 2017, 18, 19 and 2020. With current odds of +1100 to win the Hart trophy, we believe there might actually be some small value in the odds, although it is very small as we believe his true odds should be about +1000. Matthews is vital to the Maple Leafs’ success and he really does carry the weight of the franchise on his shoulders, when Matthews underperforms long-term, so does the Maple Leafs.

Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up. Claus Andersen/Getty Images/AFP

The American leads the league in goals last season, meaning he should be geared up for another big season. Let’s be honest here, given Toronto’s disappointments and under achievements in recent years, it really would be a miracle if they went on to win the Stanley cup and we don’t think their future odds to lift the Stanley at +1200 represent any value at all, especially when we consider that the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers are both better odds and right now arguably more reliable teams. Essentially, we would like at least +2000 on the Maple Leafs in the futures market.

The good news is the further the Leafs go, the most likely it is that Matthews is in with a chance to win the Hart trophy. We searched high and low for odds on Matthews to win the Hart and the Stanley cup but could not find odds anywhere, we estimate they odds should be at least +2500, which might be a more solid investment than betting the Leafs outright if you can find an online sportsbook who is willing to put up this market.

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Conclusion

Following the loss to Zach Hyman to the Oilers, the Leafs will miss out on his 15 goals from last season, but this depth chart change has meant that Matthews might find himself having much more first-line opportunities and their second line should improve their scoring. It’s a risk Toronto has had to make in order to give Matthews even more freedom on the ice.

Our overall conclusion is that Matthews is most likely a better bet to be the NHL’s top scorer than winning the Hart trophy unless you really believe the Leafs can go all the way, the problem for us is the Leafs don’t represent any value at all in the Future markets. His odds at +300 to win the Rocket Richard trophy seem like a much more appealing set of odds, albeit much lower than +1000 for the Hart trophy, it does seem more likely in our eyes. Remember, Matthews is the first and only Leaf’s player to score 30+ goals in each of his first four seasons for the team, so he is a special player.