- BetOnline has updated odds on what teams will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the NHL’s Western Conference
- The Chicago Blackhawks will soar back into the postseason after improving their goaltending and blueline
- The Winnipeg Jets might be in for a crash landing after a miserable offseason
Everyone knows that having a high playoff seed means nothing in the National Hockey League.
The Tampa Bay Lightning tied an all-time record with 62 regular-season wins last year and were swept out of the postseason in four games by Columbus while the St. Louis Blues hoisted Lord Stanley after a pedestrian 45-win season.
In the NHL, the objective is simply to get to the tournament healthy and see what happens. Let’s look at the Western Conference playoff odds at BetOnline and make a few bold bets.
NHL WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF ODDS
|Los Angeles Kings||+275||-350|
|San Jose Sharks||-210||+170|
|St. Louis Blues||-260||+200|
|Vegas Golden Knights||-350||+275|
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS RETURN TO THE DANCE (+125)
The Blackhawks have hit a four-year dry spell after winning three Cups in a span of six seasons, missing the playoffs in each of the past two years. Unlike with the Los Angeles Kings, however, there are signs of life in Chicago.
Both Patrick Kane (44G/66A/110PTS) and Jonathan Toews (35G/46A/81PTS) are coming off career offensive seasons and are still squarely in their primes at age 30 and 31, respectively.
General Manager Stan Bowman also found a steal in the second round of 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Alex DeBrincat, who notched 41 goals and 35 assists in his sophomore campaign.
Patrick Kane is coming off of the highest-scoring season of his career.
— Chicago Sports Nation (@CHISportsNation) September 17, 2019
After allowing the second-most goals (291) in the league last year, the Hawks brought in 2018/19 Vezina-finalist Robin Lehner to share the net with Corey Crawford, and landed defensemen Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan in two separate deals.
Last year’s mid-season coaching change also seemed to be just what the team needed. Chicago hit a groove after canning Joel Quenneville, going 20-10-3 in their last 33 games under new head coach Jeremy Colliton.
WINNIPEG JETS UNEXPECTEDLY GROUNDED (+150)
Don’t get me wrong. The Jets’ future remains bright with some of the league’s top young goal scorers in Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine, but it was an ugly offseason in Winnipeg.
Stud defenseman Jacob Trouba forced his way to the Big Apple and the team is again thin at center ice after Kevin Hayes signed a huge deal in Philadelphia.
Connor and Laine are expected to miss the start of the season as two of the NHL’s last three RFAs still without new deals.
Patrik Laine & Mikko Rantanen are having a good time in Switzerland???
— Nathan “Grav” (@NathanGraviteh) September 21, 2019
There’s also questions over whether beefy blueliner Dustin Byfuglien will retire after he skipped training camp. Lastly, you have to wonder if Paul Maurice’s act is beginning to wear thin in Winnipeg as he enters his seventh season as the team’s head coach.
The Jets went 13-17 in their last 30 games of 2019 before being bounced out of the playoffs by the Blues in six games.
Bet against Winnipeg making playoffs and net yourself a nice return.