The Art Ross Trophy goes to the NHL player with the most points on a season. It is named in honor of Arthur Howey Ross, who ironically never led the NHL in scoring.
In fact, he only played three games in the NHL, as a defenseman, scoring one career point. But he was an innovator as a player in the old National Hockey Association, generally regarded as the first defenseman to skate up the ice with a puck instead of just passing it to forwards.
And he was an innovator as a longtime NHL coach, becoming the first to pull goalies near the end of games for the extra skater.
While the Art Ross Trophy is awarded to an individual player, it really is a team award. While goals are credited to only one player, up to three players are awarded points on a goal. You can’t win this award without quality teammates.
And it’s a lot tougher to forecast than when betting on a top NHL goal scorer.
Alexander Ovechkin won the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2007-08, the award given to the player with the most goals in a season. Ovechkin scored 65 for the Washington Capitals that season, and his 112 points overall were good enough to win the Art Ross as well.
Entering the 2018-19 season, Ovechkin’s feat had yet to be duplicated from that point.
It’s easier to get one of the two assists on a goal than it is to score the goal. So, that’s the No. 1 rule you should go by when making futures bets on the Art Ross winner. You’re essentially betting by the rule that two chances out of three are better than one out of three. And, they are.
Astoundingly, only two players won the Art Ross from 1981-94 - Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. But, even as great as those two were, there were seven seasons in that span where the top goal scorer was someone else (Mike Bossy, Jari Kurri, Alexander Mogilny and Teemu Selanne (tie), Pavel Bure and Brett Hull (three times).
Evgeni Malkin no doubt remembers the 2008-09 season quite fondly, as does Martin St. Louis in 2003-04. Not only did they win the Art Ross those seasons, but their teams also won the Stanley Cup. You have to go all the way back to 1992-93 to find the previous player (Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh) to pull off the same feat.
Translation: The best team doesn’t often produce the top scorer. Why is that? Good question, but here’s a theory: Top teams are probably going to have scoring that’s spread out more broadly than bad teams.
If you’re on a bad team, but a top scorer, you’ll probably get more ice time than a top scorer on a good team. The bad team needs you on the ice more. More ice time means more chances to score.
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