We provide a betting breakdown and analysis for solid NHL picks for the Eastern Conference Division.
Montreal and Tampa Bay both finished with 50 wins last season but the Canadiens earned an extra two points based on a pair of losses that came after regulation and that was the difference when it came to the Atlantic division title. The Lightning earned their revenge by beating the Canadiens in the playoffs and while they didn’t do much to upgrade their roster in the offseason they simply didn’t have to. Tampa Bay has one of the deepest rosters in the NHL including several key young stars like Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman that have the potential to be even better with another year of experience. Combine that young talent with veterans like Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan and goaltender Ben Bishop and Tampa Bay has all of the pieces to win the Atlantic this season. Montreal should be able to challenge the Lightning as the second-best team in the Atlantic this season. Don’t sleep on the Detroit Red Wings as a talented young team that has been somewhat overlooked on the NHL odds as a potential challenger for top spot in the Atlantic this season.
Predicted Winner: Tampa Bay Lightning +200 at Bodog
Next In Line: Montreal Canadiens +200, Detroit Red Wings +700
New York won’t necessarily take a step back with a strong returning cast led by Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist but the other two teams that they will have to contend with in the Metropolitan have significantly improved at least on paper and that should change the dynamic in their division. Washington should improve with the additions of TJ Oshie and Justin Williams up front along with the rise of young stars like Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky but the team to look out for is Pittsburgh after making some major moves to go for it all this year. The Penguins added sniper Phil Kessel to play with Sidney Crosby and with a top-six forward group that includes Crosby, Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, David Perron and Patric Hornqvist they should be one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL. Pittsburgh also added a pair of solid two-way players in Nick Bonino and Eric Fehr that will help their overall two-way play and as long as Marc-Andre Fleury can put together a decent campaign it should be the Penguins that edge out New York and Washington to win the Metropolitan division this season. Take Pittsburgh with your NHL picks.
Predicted Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins +250 at 5Dimes
Next In Line: New York Rangers +250, Washington Capitals +400