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Elias Pettersson’s Hart Trophy odds set for 2023-24 NHL season, but what are the chances he wins the Selke?

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
6 months ago
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Over the last few days, we’ve broken down the lines set by our friends over at Betway for the 2023-24 NHL season. More specifically, we’ve looked at how those lines relate to the Vancouver Canucks’ 2023-24 campaign. So far, we’ve determined that the oddsmakers view the Canucks as a fringe playoff team that’s more likely to miss the dance than make it, and that Quinn Hughes is a top-five candidate for the Norris Trophy.
Naturally, our next step is to look at what the oddsmakers are saying about Elias Pettersson’s upcoming campaign, and how likely he is to take home the league MVP award this season.
Pettersson finished 18th in Hart Trophy voting this past season after picking up one fourth-place and one fifth-place vote. Considering the number of players he’d need to leapfrog to accelerate from his place in the Hart conversation, he’s going to be hard-pressed to even finish as a top-three finalist, let alone to win the award itself. As of today, Betway has Pettersson with the 11th-best odds to win the award, tied with Connor Bedard and Jack Eichel at +5000.
Some names ahead of Pettersson on Betway’s list are Mikko Rantanen (+4000); Jason Robertson (+3300); Tage Thompson (+2800); Cale Makar (+2200); and Jack Hughes (+1800). Of course, the usual favourites such as David Pastrnak (+1200) and Leon Draisaitl (+1200) sit near the top of Betway’s list.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Connor McDavid is the odds-on favourite by a sizable margin to take home the award at +100, with Auston Matthews and Nathan MacKinnon tied as the runner-up(s) with +1000 odds.
But what we really want to talk about are Pettersson’s odds to win the Selke Trophy — the award he picked up the most votes for this past season. The Selke, awarded annually to the forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game, has a bit of a reputation as being a reputation-based award. This is due in part to the fact that measuring a forward’s defensive impact is a somewhat arbitrary exercise.
As somebody who has voted on the Selke for the past two seasons and has spoken with other voters about their ballots, I can tell you that everybody’s process is different. For example, I look predominantly at a player’s quality of competition, overall shot suppression metrics, and of course, the good ol’ eye test to come to my conclusions for the Selke. Others go heavier into the eye test, while others go more into analytics. The truth is, there’s no “right” method, and everybody’s doing their best. That being said, how can I — or any voter for that matter — really be certain that Patrice Bergeron, the landslide winner of the award and my first-place vote this past season, was the league’s best defensive forward? I didn’t watch every Bruins game, and I don’t talk to many people from Boston.
How can I be absolutely certain that he was better than Nico Hischier, the player I put second on my ballot?
I can look at numbers to help me make a more educated decision, but the point is that to some extent, reputation has to play some sort of factor, whether voters or fans like it or not. That’s why when you see a player like Pettersson pick up more and more votes each year (from Eastern-based writers especially) you have to wonder how likely Pettersson is to actually win the award someday.
Most odds sites don’t have odds listed for the Selke Trophy, so we’re left to figure this one out ourselves.

The Competition

With Patrice Bergeron calling it a career this offseason, the door is wide open for a new “Selke King” to emerge. As a refresher, here’s the voting breakdown from this past season.
Who on this list, aside from Pettersson, could see their stock increase in the Selke conversation? Aside from an already-known player turning in an undeniably great defensive season (Kopitar, Staal, Crosby, etc), other younger players like Noah Cates, Roope Hintz, Joel Eriksson-Ek, and even Mitch Marner could see their names higher on next year’s Selke voting breakdown.
If you’re trying to determine today who could win the award next year, 24-year-old Nico Hischier seems like a solid pick, as with Bergeron now out of the way, 2023’s runner-up to the award looks primed to take it home next season.
Again, this is a combination of great defensive play (obviously), but also reputation. There will be a number of voters who had Hishcier in the fourth or fifth spots on their ballots, or maybe left him off their ballots completely that will see the results and think to themselves that they must have missed something this past season. They’ll watch Hischier closer in 2023-24, and will almost certainly have him higher on next year’s ballots as a result. Reputation matters, whether we like it or not.
We’ve already seen Quinn Hughes’ reputation as one of the game’s elite defencemen grow when looking at the Norris conversation, and although there are no odds for the Selke, we’d bet that Pettersson’s reputation as one of the league’s elite two-way players only continues to grow in 2023-24.

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