The most valuable NHL skaters to moneyline odds according to oddsmakers

Feb 11, 2018 |
The most valuable NHL skaters to moneyline odds according to oddsmakers
Connor McDavid has assisted or scored on 44 percent of Edmonton Oilers' goals this season.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Connor McDavid has assisted or scored on 44 percent of Edmonton Oilers' goals this season.
Photo By - USA Today Sports

The Colorado Avalanche were the story of the NHL back in January when they extended a win streak to 10 games after a 4-2 result at the ACC against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Avs were being boosted by a breakout season from center Nathan MacKinnon but things went sour when he injured his shoulder a week later.

Oddsmakers factor player absences like MacKinnon into the posted lines, but not with the same type of consideration public bettors might. Skaters like MacKinnon have similar type of influence on moneyline odds as positional baseball players do. They have some value – but just like in baseball with pitchers – not as much as goalies.

A start for a bad backup netminder will affect the odds more than a last-second scratch for an average first-line center. Just think about how quickly the season got away from the Chicago Blackhawks once Corey Crawford went on the shelf.

That being said – we thought it would be interesting to look at which NHL skaters influence the odds the most with their absences. Sports Interaction oddsmaker Greg Sindall gave us his list of players – excluding goalies – who have the greatest impact on the odds.

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Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
Value: 20 cents

The defending Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner has been a remarkably durable player in his first three seasons in the league. McDavid hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season when a broken clavicle kept him out for 37 games.

The Oilers are having a rotten season with little secondary scoring outside of their top center. McDavid has assisted or scored on 44 percent of Edmonton’s goals this season.

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Value: 15 cents

The Sens captain is a premier puck-controlling defenseman and a two-time Norris Trophy winner. Elite blueliners make a greater impact on games because of the amount of time they spend on the ice compared to forwards.

Some hockey pundits poo-pooed Karlsson's defensive chops earlier in his career, but the Swede sees regular time on the Sens’ penalty kill and will take the ice in big defensive face-off situations. And there’s no questioning his offensive talent. He’s led Ottawa in points in each of the last four campaigns.

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Value: 15 cents

Burns is another high-scoring defenseman – although he does his damage in different ways than Karlsson. The Wookie leads the Sharks in scoring with 47 points in 54 games and Dallas’ John Klingberg is the only rearguard with more points this season. Burns has assisted or scored on exactly half of San Jose’s power play goals entering Saturday night’s action on the ice.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Value: 10 cents

Crosby may still be the best hockey player in the world but he isn’t the most the most valuable to his team with Evgeni Malkin on the roster.

“Pittsburgh is a deep team,” Sindall said in an email, “but Crosby is a huge public player so he still impacts the line.”

Sid the Kid missed six games at the start of last season and the Pens went 3-3 straight up and two of the three loses coming as the favorites.

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Value: 10 cents

Speaking of public influence – it makes sense that the star player on the team with the biggest following in the NHL would affect game odds.

The scouting report on Matthews when the Leafs selected him first overall in the 2016 draft was that he would be an excellent two-way center. That projection undersold his natural goal-scoring talent as he’s tickled the twine in 65 of his 128 career games.

The Leafs went 2-4 in the six games he missed back in December and they scored two or fewer goals in five of those six games.

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lighting
Value: 10 cents

Kucherov leads the league in points and is on pace to finish with 43 goals and 61 assists. It only makes sense the favorite to win the Art Ross and Hart trophies this season would change the odds if he was unavailable – even for a team as talented as Tampa Bay. 

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