Connor McDavid closes gap in race for Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy

Profile Picture: Cam Tucker

March 11th, 2021

Auston Matthews is still favored to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer, but the race has tightened considerably, with Connor McDavid now within striking distance.

Matthews scored twice against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday to give himself 20 goals in 24 games this season, the most in the NHL. However, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ star had been going through a mini slump up to that point, with only two goals in his past six games. 

A wrist injury is likely the cause of the downturn, as Matthews has been in and out of the lineup over the last few weeks. The injury, and recent cold streak, have allowed McDavid to sneak into the conversation as a legitimate threat for the goal scoring title.

Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy 2020/2021

Tue, May 11 2021, 4:03 AM

Matthews, Auston


McDavid, Connor


Boeser, Brock


Pastrnak, David


Draisaitl, Leon


Toffoli, Tyler


Rantanen, Mikko


Kane, Patrick


Ovechkin, Alexander


Couture, Logan


McDavid is making his move

Toward the end of February, McDavid had odds of +900 to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, which seemed like a tall order given how prolific Matthews is. Now that he has 16 goals, McDavid's odds have shifted to +300 at TwinSpires Sports

There was never a guarantee that Matthews would win the NHL goal scoring title, and that was before his injury. The All-Star center had been scoring on 22% of his shots, which was six points above his career average. That's a difficult rate to maintain over a long season. 

McDavid has goals in five of his last nine games, including a hat trick in February. He has scored on 14.5% of his shots, which is slightly below his career average. However, McDavid is so explosive with his top-end speed, size, and strength that he's capable of closing this gap to two goals in just one night. 

Matthews remains the frontrunner, but the intrigue around this race has grown. The fact it features two of most entertaining players in hockey should excite not only fans but bettors eager for an opportunity to wager on this futures market. 

Keep an eye on Brock Boeser 

Are there any players that could challenge either Matthews or McDavid for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy at this point in the season? 

Tyler Toffoli of the Montreal Canadiens has sole possession of third place in the NHL goal scoring race, with 15. He’s followed by Leon Draisaitl of Edmonton, Brock Boeser of Vancouver, and Alex DeBrincat of Chicago – each with 14 goals. 

Boeser has the third best odds at +1000 at TwinSpires Sports, and has re-emerged as the scoring winger Vancouver had envisioned before past injuries set him back.

But don't get too excited. It would take the combination of an absolutely sensational second half from the Canucks winger and a significant drop-off from Matthews and McDavid to give Boeser - or any other longshots - a path to the trophy.