- Canadiens, Predators are near misses
- Devils look like they are out, but have value
- Senators, Blue Jackets, and Ducks are longshots
There are long roads ahead for several teams as the NHL gets back to its traditional schedule of 82 games and an April start to the NHL Playoffs.
Most of the teams on the odds boards are those who have settled in a tailspin and can’t pick up enough talent, chemistry, and momentum to make it to the second season.
Two names that may be a surprise to miss the playoffs are the defending Eastern Conference champion Montreal Canadiens (+185) and the Nashville Predators (+240). Montreal barely made the playoffs last season as the Canadiens sat at a (+600) to just make the playoffs at the beginning of last March. However, they promptly dispatched the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Oddsmakers do not have confidence in Montreal because they barely made the playoffs last year, and then they lost goalie Carey Price in free agency and will be missing Shea Weber, who continues to repair from injuries that derailed him in 2020.
Currently, Les Canadiens are a paltry (+5000) to win the Stanley Cup as they are (+2200) to win the Eastern Conference and (+3500) to win the Atlantic Division.
The Predators are hitting a (+240) as of now, and they are in rebuilding mode as Juuse Saros takes over in goal for the venerable Pekka Rinne, who is off in retirement.
They paid off on their (-135) odds to make it to the NHL Playoffs before a first-round exodus against the Central Division champion Carolina Hurricanes.
OT W! 😄
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) September 21, 2021
Losses on the roster to players like Ryan Ellis and Erik Haula with the idea of young, untested rookies are a huge reason why the NHL sportsbooks see the Preds on the outside looking in.
Nashville is laying (+7500) odds to win the tough Central Division as their odds are only ahead of the Arizona Coyotes (+30000).
Surfing the Atlantic
Treacherous waters in the NHL’s tough Atlantic Division as the Detroit Red Wings are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Oddsmakers do not concur with the Red Wings’ futures as Detroit is listed at (+1000) in an Atlantic Division, which could be the toughest in the NHL. They were also a (+1000) to make the playoffs last season.
Detroit signed goalie Alex Nedeljkovic off of the Hurricanes roster as a free agent. He did a solid job in his rookie season in Carolina as he shared time with often-injured Petr Mrazak. However, Detroit is work in progress with little depth on it’s roster as well as lots of young, inexperienced players.
Detroit checks in at (+15000) to win the Stanley Cup as the Red Wings also sport odds at (+10000) to win the Eastern Conference and (+10000) to win the Atlantic Division.
The Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres are both casting (+1400) odds to make it to the NHL playoffs this season.
The Senators were a defensive nightmare a year ago as they started the season at only (+900) to make the playoffs. They gave up the fourth-most goals in the NHL at 18 and Ottawa needs stellar goal-tending from Matt Murray, who had an eye-popping 89.5 percent save percentage last season.
The Sens sit at (+2000) odds to make it to the playoffs while (+10000) to win the Eastern Conference with only (+15000) odds to win the Atlantic Division.
Buffalo is buried in the Eastern Conference as the Sabres (+1400) odds to make the playoffs are light years away from the (+325) from last season.
Devilish Dealings in the Metropolitan
The New Jersey Devils are considered a value pick to make it to the playoffs by several online sportsbooks as they check in with (+200) odds. Last season, the Devils were a (+350) to push into the postseason, but they missed by going only 19-30-7 and accumulating 45 points.
The Devils surrounded their young talent with proven vets such as defenseman Ryan Graves of the Colorado Avalanche. New Jersey is posting odds at (+5000) to win the Stanley Cup and (+2200) to win the East. They still have only the seventh best odds to win the Metropolitan Division where they are at (+1700).
The Columbus Blue Jackets are another work in progress as they sit at (+1100) odds to make it to the NHL Playoffs in 20-21.
Patrick Laine clashed with former coach John Tortorella over playing time as he was benched several occasions and now that Tortorella was released, Laine might be able to once again find his game as he struggled last season.
The Jackets are checking in at (+20000) to win the Stanley Cup with (+10000) odds to win the East and (+13000) to win the Metropolitan Division.
More Bark than Bite
It has been many-a-moon since the Arizona Coyotes howled as they haven’t made it to the playoffs since the 2011-12 season. That streak will likely be intact this season as they sit at (+1600) to make a playoff appearance, which is way down from (+175) of a year ago.
Arizona is laying odds at (+20000) to win the Cup while they are at (+10000) to win the West and (+30000) to somehow pop out of the cellar and win the Central Division.
The San Jose Sharks (+250) and the Anaheim Ducks have (+400) odds to make a run into the postseason.
Both franchises have had their moments as the Sharks made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016, but have missed the playoffs in the last two seasons.
Meanwhile, the Ducks were in the Western Conference Finals in 2015 and 2017, but they have missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
San Jose had odds at (+10000) to win the Stanley Cup while the Ducks post odds at (+20000).
Oddsmakers say that winning the Pacific Division will be a chore as the Sharks yield to odds at (+5000) while the Ducks are still grounded at (+25000).