It’s a great time to be a sports fan, as all four major sports leagues will be active towards the latter half of October. The National Hockey League joins the NBA in renewing their regular-season campaign, and now’s a great time to know more about hockey’s biggest stars in preparation for the intense hockey betting action ahead.
NitroBetting is here to deliver the latest news from the on and off the NHL’s rinks. This time, let’s take a look at the top 10 players to keep an eye on this season (in alphabetical order). Be on top of all the developments in the NHL by tuning in to NitroBetting’s odds, previews, and predictions for all the exciting hockey action ahead.
2021 NHL Season’s Top 10 Players
Aleksander Barkov, C – Florida Panthers
Florida is one of the more intriguing teams to follow this season, mainly because of Aleksander Barkov’s emergence as the best defensive forward in the league. Barkov won the Selke Trophy last season in honor of that distinction despite not posting high offensive numbers, but his two-way prowess has certainly paid off for the Panthers.
Sidney Crosby, C – Pittsburgh Penguins
Future Hall-of-Famer Sidney Crosby is still playing at a high level and will be the focus of opposing defenses once more. However, Pittsburgh needs more out of the last drops of Crosby’s decorated career considering that the Penguins are merely (+2,630) sleepers to win their first Stanley Cup title since their back-to-back reign from 2016-2017.
Patrick Kane, RW – Chicago Blackhawks
Although the Blackhawks are still quite far from playoff contention this upcoming season, Patrick Kane will make watching Chicago’s games all the more entertaining. Kane finished in the top five last regular season with his 66 points and should have an even better season with fellow forward Jonathan Toews back from a serious health concern to help him out on the attack.
Nikita Kucherov, RW – Tampa Bay Lightning
Despite multiple bouts with injuries of late, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov remains one of the most productive players in the NHL. The two-time Stanley Cup champion joined Mario Lemiux and Wayne Gretzky as the only players to log 30 or more points in back-to-back playoff appearances, as the Lightning look to also win back-to-back titles this season.
Connor McDavid, C – Edmonton Oilers
Reigning League MVP Connor McDavid will be the apple of many hockey fans’ eyes once more. In just 56 games played last season, the four-time All-Star led all NHL players with his 72 assists and 105 points to win his third-career Art Ross Trophy as well as his second Hart Memorial Trophy. Once the Oilers can get the playoff monkey off their backs, that’s when conversations of McDavid being one of the best hockey players of all time will really intensify.
Nathan MacKinnon, C – Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche are the current odds-on favorites at (+450) to win the Stanley Cup this season, and a huge part of the Avs’ success has been none other than Nathan MacKinnon. The 2014 Rookie of the Year is giving McDavid a run for the title of the best player in hockey as we speak, as MacKinnon has averaged over 1.34 points per game in each of the last four seasons.
Auston Matthews, C – Toronto Maple Leafs
Rounding out the NHL’s three big Ms is Toronto’s Auston Matthews, who still led the league in goals last season despite playing with a bad wrist for a good chunk of the campaign. Matthews is on pace to become the first player to score 60 goals in a single season in a decade and win back-to-back Rocket Richard Trophies in the process.
Alex Ovechkin, C – Washington Capitals
At 36 years of age, Alex Ovechkin has certainly lost some steam. However, Ovi is still playing well in the twilight of his career, cracking the 40-point mark last regular season in 45 games played. This could be Ovechkin’s last hurrah as the captain of the Caps, making Washington a must-watch team as it has been for the past decade.
Artemi Panarin, LW – New York Rangers
The Rangers are slowly getting back into title contention in large part due to the arrival of Artemi Panarin in MSG. In just two seasons in New York, Panarin is now the current franchise leader with his 1.38 points-per-game average. The Russian winger could find himself as a Hart Memorial Trophy contender by season’s end if the Rangers do indeed improve their record for the third straight year.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, G – Tampa Bay Lightning
The only goalie deserving recognition in our list of top 10 NHL players to watch this season is Tampa Bay’s very own Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning are second only to the Avs with a price of (+550) to win the Stanley Cup, and the Lightning wouldn’t be in their lofty position to repeat without Vasilevskiy’s services. The 27-year-old netminder has led the NHL in wins over the last four seasons and has plenty more left in his tank to keep that streak going for the fifth consecutive time.
READ MORE: 2022 Stanley Cup Odds, Preview & Predictions
*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.