Your standard NHL daily roster consists of 18 regular skaters and two goaltenders, yet often the betting odds and outcomes of games are affected by only a few players on each team.
Hockey is still a team sport, but much like baseball, the actions of a few have a tremendous impact on the final results when making NHL picks. With the All-Star break approaching at the end of the month, here are players who in our humble opinion have had the greatest impact on the season to date when doing daily research on the NHL odds.
Alex Ovechkin and Bradon Holtby of Washington
It is not a coincidence Washington is leading the Eastern Conference and has been one of the best bets in the NHL all season with these two players. Holtby has been the best all-around goaltender this season, ranked in the Top 4 in goals allowed, save percentage and wins all year. Plus, he unflappable, durable and wants to start every game, even if coach Barry Trotz wants to give him occasional break.
Ovechkin turned 30 back in September and is now in his 11th season. He remains among the top scorers, but his game today is complete and the Capitals have more balanced talent than in the past when it was all or nothing on Ovechkin. This more well-rounded game is seen by having among the best plus/minus numbers in the sport.
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin of Dallas
The leaders in the Western Conference are the Dallas Stars and why they have such a fine record is an electric offense. The catalysts are Benn and Seguin, who have been at or near the top of as scoring leaders and point producers.
Benn plays left wing and is an excellent playmaker along with being a terrific scorer. He is an assassin on the Dallas power play, ranked second in league in goals. Seguin centers the Stars top line and has a knack for finding shooters at the right time with his passes and like Benn, finds the back of the net frequently. Still only 23, how Boston was willing to trade him away because they were not thrilled to his defense is a mystery, but coach Lindy Ruff and Dallas backers are glad he’s in Stars uniform.
Patrick Kane of Chicago
As good as Patrick Kane has been with the Blackhawks in helping them win three Stanley Cup’s in six years, at 27, he’s having his best year ever. Because of salary cap issues, Chicago has been forced to trade very good players for younger, less costly prospects, but they have done their best to keep the core together.