Presumably at the start of every month, Bovada will release updated NHL season props, and there are some up on Tuesday. The most interesting in my mind is which coach will be fired next. Columbus was the first team to dump its coach, replacing Todd Richards with John Tortorella a couple of weeks ago. That hasn't much changed the Blue Jackets' fortunes, however.
The Bovada favorite to be next is Anaheim's Bruce Boudreau at -175. And he should be favored. The Ducks were one of the Stanley Cup favorites entering this season after taking Chicago to seven games in last year's West Finals, but they are just 2-7-2 and with an NHL-low 14 goals. A few days ago, GM Bob Murray addressed Boudreau's status by saying: "We were one game away from the Final just five months ago. So while this has been a terrible start, I'm not inclined to make rash changes. I'm going to be patient."
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Colorado's Patrick Roy is the +300 second-favorite. The Avs are just 3-7-1 -- remember, this team two seasons ago won the ultra-deep Central Division and Roy won the Jack Adams Award -- before falling on its face last season and then so far in 2015-16. Calgary's Bob Hartley is next at +400 and he was last year's Jack Adams winner. The other candidates are Boston's Claude Julien (+600) and Pittsburgh's Mike Johnston (+1200). I'd go with Roy.
The favorites for the Art Ross Trophy for the most points in the NHL are Dallas' Jamie Benn at +375 and teammate Tyler Seguin at the same price. Benn was the NHL's First Star for October and leads the league with 18 points, one ahead of Seguin. Been won the Art Ross last season with 87 points, one ahead of the Islanders' John Tavares (+550), who is my pick this year.
For the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year), Edmonton's Connor McDavid to no surprise is the -250 favorite followed by Buffalo's Jack Eichel at +500. McDavid was the Rookie of the Month for October and has five goals and seven assists. He will win that. And for the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP), Canadiens goalie Carey Price is the +400 favorite to repeat, followed by Benn and Seguin (+600 each). I like Tavares on that too at +850.
Here are some games to watch this week.
Florida at Anaheim, Wednesday: Boudreau might have saved his job when the Ducks ended a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Nashville on Sunday. Had Anaheim lost that and with two days in between games ... well, Murray might have pulled the trigger. It was only the second time Anaheim scored more than three goals this season. Now the Ducks look for the first back-to-back wins of the season. It's not likely that Anaheim will have back star winger Ryan Getzlaf for this one. He hasn't played since Oct. 26 due to an appendectomy. He had just one point in eight games, which shows you how much this team is struggling on offense. This starts a tough three-game road trip through California for the Panthers, who have dropped two straight. The team has played the past two without leading scorer Jaromir Jagr (lower-body injury) but he hopes to return in this one.
NY Islanders at Montreal, Thursday: Will the Habs have Price back for this potential playoff preview? He hasn't played since Oct. 29 due to a lower-body injury. He was originally ruled out a week and is on short-term injury reserve so apparently he won't play. Mike Condon takes over as the starter. Price was named the NHL's Second Star for October, going 7-2-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and two shutouts. It's the first meeting between these teams this season.
Pittsburgh at Edmonton, Friday: The Oilers are still a pretty bad team, but this game will be hugely watched north of the border as it's the first time McDavid and the guy he has been most compared to, Sidney Crosby, share the same ice as professionals. Crosby, if you are wondering, had 39 goals and 63 assists in his 2005-06 rookie season. McDavid won't approach those numbers as it's harder to score in the NHL these days.
St. Louis at Nashville, Saturday: These two, Chicago and Dallas should battle for the Central Division title all season; Nashville is the defending division champion. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is having another terrific season thus far, going 6-1-2 with a 1.92 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. The Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko is +1000 to win the Art Ross Trophy and +700 for the Hart Trophy. He entered Tuesday with six goals and four assists. He missed Saturday's game with an undisclosed injury, but it's not serious and Tarasenko was set to play Tuesday night. Nashville won three of five meetings with the Blues last season.
Chicago will be without first-line winger Marian Hossa for an undetermined length of time. He missed Monday's game with a lower-body injury. The Hawks moved rookie Artemi Panarin to the top line. It's possible the Hawks, who ended the Kings' seven-game winning streak on Monday, get Hossa back as soon as Wednesday. But teams are always vague about these types of injuries.
The Isles' Tavares missed a third straight game Tuesday with an illness, but the team isn't overly concerned. In 10 games this season Tavares has 11 points (five goals, six assists). The Islanders have lost both games that he has missed while scoring just three goals.
Ottawa's Mark Stone missed Tuesday's game against Montreal and will sit Thursday against Winnipeg due to suspension. In Saturday's game against Detroit, Stone hit Red Wings forward Landon Ferraro in the jaw midway through the second period just after he attempted to clear the puck from the defensive zone. Stone, last year's Calder Trophy runner-up, has three goals and 10 assists for the Senators.
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