Odds for Top Contenders to Win the 2015-16 NHL Scoring Title

Steve Macfarlane@@MacfarlaneHKYFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2016

Odds for Top Contenders to Win the 2015-16 NHL Scoring Title

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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

    Welcome to the slideshow containing updated odds for the top contenders to win the 2015-16 NHL scoring title.

    To be fair, it should probably be amended to exclude Patrick Kane and focus on the runners-up. Kane's lead is reasonably insurmountable at 17 points, with each of his competitors having under 20 games to gain ground. In fact, at their current paces, all but one are projected to finish with fewer than the 88 points Kane has atop the leaderboard.

    But given his history, there's always a chance Kane could fall prey to the injury bug. He missed a significant chunk of time last season with a broken clavicle, for example. There's hope yet for those on his tail—even if that tail is as long as Halley's Comet's.

    As of Friday morning, there were 10 players in the NHL with at least 60 points, but only about a half-dozen of them could be considered legitimate threats to Kane if he were injured or abducted by aliens (Anaheim Ducks fans, perhaps) in the coming days.

    Click ahead to read up on the candidates and my odds on their respective chances of claiming the Art Ross Trophy.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: 62 games played, 26 goals, 35 assists, 61 points

    Previous odds: 10-1 (9.09 percent)

    The skinny: All you need to know about how Sidney Crosby landed on this list in spite of what looks set to be the lowest points total of his career is his stretch between Jan. 12 and Feb. 8. He put together a string of 11 games during which he scored 12 goals and 22 points. With 19 games remaining, if he can go on another tear down the stretch—at 1.83 points per game—he could hit 95 points and pass everyone on this list not named Patrick Kane.

    Pro-rated pace: 82 points

    Updated odds: 100-1 (0.99 percent)

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames

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    Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: 63 games played, 24 goals, 39 assists, 63 points

    Previous odds: 75-1 (1.32 percent)

    The skinny: The Calgary Flames' super sophomore is capable of explosive outbursts, and while his pace projects to a total smaller than the one the NHL leader has already achieved, a hot streak could bump Johnny Gaudreau's total into the 90-point range. Of course, that still means the younger (22) and even smaller (5'11") version of Patrick Kane will have to hire Tonya Harding's goon to club Kane in the leg before he adds to his impressive lead.

    Pro-rated pace: 82 points

    Updated odds: 100-1 (0.99 percent)

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals

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    Evan Vucci/Associated Press

    By the numbers: 63 games played, 20 goals, 46 assists, 66 points

    Previous odds: 40-1 (2.44 percent)

    The skinny: Evgeny Kuznetsov's second full season has been outstanding, and he has been the predominant (maybe that should just be dominant) part of the NHL's second-ranked offense (208 goals), the Washington Capitals. Averaging about 17:30 of ice time, the Capitals center has produced the third-most points per 60 minutes behind Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid with 3.59, according to SportingCharts. The 23-year-old is a magician with the puck and may be the best passer in the league. He's had seven games with three or more points, so he's capable of a strong finish.

    Pro-rated pace: 86 points

    Updated odds: 50-1 (1.96 percent)

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    By the numbers: 65 games played, 11 goals, 57 assists, 68 points

    Previous odds: 20-1 (4.76 percent)

    The skinny: The league's leader in assists so far is still in the conversation, tied for third place on the NHL's points leaderboard and poised to post one of the 30 highest single-season points totals by a blueliner in history, per QuantHockey. Erik Karlsson has the Norris Trophy all but locked up and may be able to claim the title as the first defenseman to finish as runner-up in the Art Ross race since Paul Coffey in 1984.

    Pro-rated pace: 86 points

    Updated odds: 40-1 (2.44 percent)

Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars

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    Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: 65 games, 32 goals, 36 assists, 68 points

    Previous odds: 12-1 (7.69 percent)

    The skinny: Tyler Seguin is one half of arguably the most balanced and productive bromance in the NHL alongside Jamie Benn with the Dallas Stars. What makes them so deadly is how impossible it is to know what they will do with the puck. They are both skilled shooters, and Seguin is as slick a passer as any in the league. Seguin could overtake Benn with a few big games, but they often cancel each other out on scoring plays.

    Pro-rated pace: 86 points

    Updated odds: 35-1 (2.78 percent)

Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: 65 games played, 32 goals, 39 assists, 71 points

    Previous odds: 8-1 (11.11 percent)

    The skinny: There's no denying Benn's talent as a well-rounded power forward who has already scored 30 goals for a third straight season and may hit 50 assists for the second time in his career. The 26-year-old could snipe 40 goals for the first time but will probably have to settle for a battle with linemate Tyler Seguin for second place in the Art Ross race after winning it last season.

    Pro-rated pace: 90 points

    Updated odds: 20-1 (4.76 percent)

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: 66 games played, 37 goals, 51 assists, 88 points

    Previous odds: 5-7 (58.33 percent)

    The skinny: Kane's scoring pace hasn't slowed this season, and he is on track to rack up 111 points—which would be the most in the NHL since Henrik Sedin's 112 in 2009-10—if he stays healthy the rest of the way. With a 17-point lead and under 20 games remaining, an injury is about the only thing that could derail the Chicago Blackhawks star from capturing his first Art Ross Trophy.

    Pro-rated pace: 111 points

    Updated odds: 1-3 (75 percent)

     

    All stats via NHL.com unless otherwise noted.