Our NHL consultant has taken the time to review the future odds in the Eastern Conference. Join us in reading his insightful article that highlights the top nine teams.
Montreal Canadiens (+400)
The Canadiens are currently 3rd in the Atlantic Division, three points behind 1st place Tampa Bay, and trail the Detroit Red Wings by two points. However, Montreal has four games in hand on Tampa Bay, and two games in hand on Detroit. When it’s all said and done, I maintain my position that I’ve alluded in several past articles, the Canadiens will win the Atlantic Division, and we’ll be a prime contender to capture the Stanley Cup.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+400)
The Lightning caught a terrible break at the tail end of the 2013-2014 NHL regular campaign when they lost their top goaltender Ben Bishop to a season ending injury. As a result they were easily disposed of in the first round of the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens. Pending that Bishop stays healthy the Lightning is an extremely talented team that is capable of making a serious postseason run. With a 19-4-1 record at home, not a lot of teams will be lining up for the chance to play the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
New York Islanders (+450)
Without beating a dead horse, I’m still not fully sold on the Islanders, and there’s definitely no value in making them one of your NHL picks to win the East at this price. Jaroslav Halak has provided the Islanders with stability in goal which they sorely lacked in recent years. However, his postseason resume as a former member of the St. Louis Blues leaves a lot to be desired.
Detroit Red Wings (+500)
The Red Wings have been too inconsistent this season for me to even consider making a wager on them to win the East. They go stretches where they struggle to score, and have been the beneficiaries of attaining nine points in the standings by virtue of sustaining losses in overtime. They do enter the break on a five game winning streak, but they also suffered through a six game losing streak in December which saw them score only a combined six goals during that span.
New York Rangers (+500)
After a relatively disappointing start to the season, the Rangers have come on like gangbusters since early December. They enter the break having gone a sizzling hot 16-3 in their last nineteen games. They’re #6 in the NHL averaging 3.0 goals per game, and are #3 in scoring defense allowing 2.32 goals per contest. There won’t be a lot of teams come playoff time that will look forward to having to face this well balanced team, and one that possesses one of the best goaltenders in the world in Henrik Lundquist.
Boston Bruins (+550)
Like many objective observers of the NHL, I’ve been thoroughly disappointed by the performance of the Bruins at this juncture of the season. Yet, this is a team that will still potentially dangerous at playoff time.
Pittsburgh Penguins (+600)
The big question mark for the Penguins come playoff time will be the play of Marc-Andre Fleury in goal. Fleury has been superb thus far this season, but we’ve watched this show before, and it never has a happy ending. The sequel this time around might be different, and this is an attractive price in NHL odds that certainly carries value with all considered.
Washington Capitals (+1000)
I can’t see the Capitals being a threat in the postseason. As a matter of fact, I think they’ll have a battle on their hands with the upstart Florida Panthers to capture the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Florida Panthers (+3000)
Saying that the Florida Panthers have overachieved thus far in the season would be an understatement to say the least. They’re currently seven points behind both Boston and Washington for the final playoff position in the East. The good news is, the Panthers have four games in hand on the Bruins, and two game in hand on the Capitals. In my professional opinion, this is a team that’s still a year away.