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Alex Pietrangelo #7 of the Las Vegas Golden Knights (not pictured) gets past goalie Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period on April 03, 2022, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images via AFP.

With the 2022-23 NHL season quickly approaching, we’ll look at potential bets involving a vastly improved team, a playoff MVP, and a goaltender looking to build on an excellent second half. Read on for our bold and long-shot NHL predictions.

Cale Makar continued his ascent to the top of “mount defense” last season, establishing himself as one of the most electric players in the NHL. Can he add a regular season MVP to his already crowded trophy case?

Goaltender Thatcher Demko backstopped the Vancouver Canucks into an exciting playoff race last season, establishing himself as a fringe top-10 NHL goalie in the process. Will 2022-23 be the season he bursts into the league’s upper echelon?

Finally, a rebuilding Ottawa Senators squad added a pair of impact players this offseason. Will these key additions be enough to push them back into the postseason picture?

Here are our bold predictions for the 2022-23 NHL season along with the best long-shot bets to make (Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook).

NHL Long-Shot Picks

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NHL Long-Shot Predictions

Demko To Win the Vezina (+1800)

This bet might hinge on whether or not Vancouver makes a run at the postseason. After Bruce Boudreau took over behind the Canucks’ bench, the team surged into the playoff hunt, falling just five points shy of the final Western Conference Wild Card spot.

Demko was one of the key catalysts of the Canucks’ turnaround, posting elite numbers between the pipes at five-on-five. The 26-year-old netminder finished second in the NHL in goals saved above average (24.71) per Natural Stat Trick, while racking up impressive even strength totals in goals against average (2.12) and save percentage (.932).

Demko finished tied for seventh in Vezina voting this past season and seems poised to vault himself amongst the league’s best in 2022-23. A Vezina trophy could be in the cards if the Canucks as a whole can improve as well.

Senators To Make the Playoffs (+220)

Though this isn’t the boldest pick of all time, the Atlantic Division is still a complete shark tank, and it’s likely the Sens would have to sneak into the postseason in one of the Wild Card spots. Finishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference last season, Ottawa bolstered their talented young roster with the offseason additions of All-Star Claude Giroux and 40-goal sniper Alex DeBrincat.

Adding Giroux and DeBrincat to an offensive corps that already includes Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson, and captain Brady Tkachuk, and the Sens suddenly have an extremely dangerous top-six up front. Will these improvements lead Ottawa back to the postseason? Maybe, maybe not. But they definitely should be a much-improved squad, making this +220 price very appealing.

Makar To Win the Hart Trophy (+1600) 

A defenseman winning the Hart trophy is exceptionally rare, but, luckily for Makar, he’s a rare talent. The reigning Norris Trophy winner as the league’s finest rearguard, Makar’s legend grew during the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup run, racking up 29 points in 20 games en route to capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player.

After a campaign in which he tallied 28 goals and 86 points in 77 games, Makar should flirt with 30 goals and 100 points in 2023. If he reaches either of those plateaus, he should be on the shortlist of potential Hart candidates.

Perhaps the only thing that might hurt Makar’s candidacy is the play of teammate Nathan MacKinnon. A two-time Hart Trophy runner-up, a spectacular season from MacKinnon could take away some of the shine of a potential MVP season from Makar.

Where to Bet on NHL Long-Shot Picks

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

FanDuel Sportsbook
Caesars Sportsbook
DraftKings Sportsbook
PointsBet
BetMGM

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