Matthews, McDavid frontrunners on Rocket Richard Trophy odds

Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers skates alongside Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews. (Mark Blinch/Getty)

Auston Matthews racked up an NHL-leading 41 goals last season, and more of the same is expected from him in the upcoming campaign. Matthews leads the way as the +150 betting favourite on the Rocket Richard Trophy odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Matthews opened last season on a torrid pace. He potted 18 goals in his first 18 games, and flirted with a run at 50 goals until cooling off during a March slump. While his 41 markers last season fell short of the 47 goals he scored during the 2019/20 campaign, he set a career-high by tallying an average of almost 0.79 goals per game.

The 23-year-old subsequently stumbled during Toronto's first-round playoff series loss to the Montreal Canadiens. That has contributed to the Maple Leafs' struggles to keep pace with the favourites on the Stanley Cup odds, where they lag as a +1200 wager. However, Matthews should benefit from the club's decision to stick with its core for at least one more season.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid sits second to Matthews on the Rocket Richard Trophy odds as a +190 wager, just ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl at +300. McDavid led the NHL in points for the second time in his career last year, racking up 105 points in 56 games. But while McDavid has emerged as a constant presence at the top of the player stats, he has yet to be a serious contender in the race to lead the league in goal scoring, trailing the league leader by an average of 10 goals over the past four seasons.

Draisaitl has emerged as a much stronger challenger to claim Rocket Richard Trophy honours. The 25-year-old German fell just one goal shy of the honour during a career-best 50-goal campaign in 2018/19, and sits second only to Matthews in total goals scored over the past three seasons.

Further down the Rocket Richard Trophy odds at sports betting sites, Nikita Kucherov joins Mikko Rantanen and David Pastrnak at +750, while nine-time winner Alex Ovechkin sits with Brad Marchand and Alex DeBrincat at +1200 odds.

A 40-goal threat in his previous four seasons, Kucherov was sidelined by injury for the entirety of the 2021 regular season. However, the 2019 Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy winner rebounded in the playoffs, tallying eight goals while leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a second straight Stanley Cup victory.

Rantanen, meanwhile, has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, but showed glimpses of his vast goal-scoring potential by scoring 30 goals in just 52 games with the Colorado Avalanche last season.

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