Connect with us

Make A Bet

Sasha Barkov is a Betting Dark Horse for Hart Trophy



Panthers penguins

The impact of Sasha Barkov on the Florida Panthers extends beyond his offensive statistics, with his defensive prowess playing a crucial role. Despite ranking in the Top 40 with 11 goals and 29 points, Barkov’s overall contribution becomes evident in the context of the team’s defensive needs.

During the first month of the season, when key defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour were sidelined, Barkov stepped up defensively. The Panthers allowed the 10th-fewest goals per game (2.81) in their absence. Barkov, on the ice for just five of the 45 goals conceded, demonstrated a league-leading on-ice goal differential of plus-16.

Teammates recognize Barkov’s defensive impact as immense, with Gus Forsling highlighting his relentless work ethic and leadership as the team’s captain. 

“It’s huge,” Forsling said of Barkov’s defensive impact. “You can see it. He is working so hard every shift. He doesn’t take a shift off and he is a big leader. He’s our captain. And he does it every night.”

According to online casino apps in Ontario, Barkov is a longshot to be named as the NHL’s most valuable player at +15000 odds, which is tied with a field of Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger, Winnipeg Jets sniper Kyle Connor, Ottawa Senators wunderkind Tim Stutzle and Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov for the 16th-best odds to win the award.

Get FHN+ today!

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid leads the pack after helping his struggling team surge back into the playoff race with absurd offensive production while New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes has the fourth-best odds for having a similar effect on his team since returning from injury.

Tampa Bay Lightning star and NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov has the fourth-best odds after becoming the first player to score 50 points this season.

But Barkov has more reasons than just scoring to be considered for the award, and he is a huge reason why the Panthers are winning games.

Barkov’s versatility is further emphasized by the potential for him to contend for the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.

Coach Paul Maurice notes his versatility as a reason why Barkov should be in the race for the MVP award.

“You don’t ever have to hide him on the ice, right?” Maurice said. “If you win a Selke and you are a point-a-game guy, you can play against anybody all night long.

“He is a left-handed draw man, so it makes it really easy. And the best part about Barkov, actually, is that he is still trying to get better and change his game. He is willing to change his game and sometimes, this is understandable when you get an elite player, he’s not adding much to his game. They are like ‘You know, I’m a really good player, I don’t have to change much.’

“But you’ve noticed more physicality in his game going back towards the last month of last season but really into the playoffs. We don’t want Barkov running around, but he is far more physically involved in the game, which is part of the reason why it’s worked so well with Sam Reinhart. Because neither of them are big hitters, but Sam will grind too, and we need them both to do that.

“Barkov just wants to win, right? He will do anything you ask him to do as long as we’re moving forward and he’s been great. I never have to fight him for anything. I’d like him to shoot the puck more, but other than that…”

Get FHN in your inbox!

Be the first to know. Enter your email to get the latest from Florida Hockey Now delivered straight to your inbox.