The return of professional hockey last night didn’t pack quite the same punch as it usually does. Perhaps it was because the terrible matchups between terrible Canadian teams, but more likely, it was because we had already gotten a taste of hockey’s best going at it in the World Cup of Hockey.
Though the best-on-best tournament was just a cash grab, it did provide some nice moments, and optimism for a lot of NHL fans. Brad Marchand can be a sniper! Auston Matthews is a bona fide stud! Jaroslav Halak can still carry a team! These are some of the early lessons that could very well get disproved over the grind of an 82-game season. What will get proven, though, is our genius ability to set odds for stuff!
Here’s a collection of props and futures for the upcoming NHL season and the international hockey scene beyond.
Hockey Odds Collection
NHL 2016-17 Season Odds
Stanley Cup Futures
- Tampa Bay Lightning: 9/1
- Chicago Blackhawks: 10/1
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 10/1
- Washington Capitals: 11/1
- Dallas Stars: 14/1
- Nashville Predators: 14/1
- Los Angeles Kings: 14/1
- Anaheim Ducks: 16/1
- San Jose Sharks: 16/1
- St. Louis Blues: 16/1
- Florida Panthers: 20/1
- Montreal Canadiens: 22/1
- New York Islanders: 22/1
- Minnesota Wild: 28/1
- New York Rangers: 28/1
- Boston Bruins: 30/1
- Calgary Flames: 35/1
- Detroit Red Wings: 35/1
- Philadelphia Flyers: 35/1
- Edmonton Oilers: 45/1
- Colorado Avalanche: 50/1
- Ottawa Senators: 50/1
- New Jersey Devils: 50/1
- Winnipeg Jets: 50/1
- Buffalo Sabres: 70/1
- Carolina Hurricanes: 80/1
- Arizona Coyotes: 100/1
- Toronto Maple Leafs: 100/1
- Columbus Blue Jackets: 125/1
- Vancouver Canucks: 125/1
Heading into the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins had the look of a team perfectly equipped to defend their Stanley Cup championship, something that hasn’t happened since ’97-’98. But then their captain and the league’s best player, Sidney Crosby, suffered a concussion at practice, and the mood changed slightly. Crosby has battled concussion problems before, missing over 100 games from 2010-12. If Crosby’s issues persist, it could hurt a Pittsburgh team that otherwise lacks a glaring weakness.
Right there to take advantage of their misfortune should be the Tampa Bay Lightning, perhaps the most balanced team, front to back. The young Bolts made the Finals two years ago, and lost to Pittsburgh in the East Finals last year. Now loaded with scorers in the primes of their career, Steven Stamkos and company have never looked better.
The West should produce another great Finals team this year, although it will probably be another beaten down one. Chicago and Los Angeles boast championship experience while teams like Dallas, Nashville, and St Louis are looking to make the jump. Then there’s the Ducks and Sharks, whose aging cores would like one more chance to win it all.
Next is a group of teams that could surprise, as long as they aren’t Canadian franchises. It’s been 23 years since a team from the Great White North won, and unless Carey Price can work miracles, that drought figures to endure.
Odds to be the first coach fired
- Willie Desjardins (Canucks): 5/1
- John Tortorella (Blue Jackets): 11/2
- Bill Peters (Hurricanes): 6/1
- Claude Julien (Bruins): 7/1
- Paul Maurice (Jets): 9/1
- Michel Therrien (Canadiens): 10/1
The first coach fired is rarely the most deserving one to go, but such is the business of hockey. Desjardins doesn’t have much to work with in Vancouver, and being in a Canadian market means more pressure to make changes when a team starts terribly. Tortorella has proven the modern game of hockey has completely passed him by, but Columbus has been so bad that it could take the franchise a while to notice that “Torts” isn’t the right man for the job.
The most deserving man of a canning is Montreal’s Therrien. But since GM Marc Bergevin seemed to back his head coach by trading PK Subban out of town, Therrien’s leash will be longer than it probably should be.
O/U date of first meaningful* midseason trade: Dec 31
*We’re talking actual roster players or quality prospects, not Kevin Poulin for future considerations.
Odds on the next player to score his 1,000th point
- Henrik Sedin: 13/10
- Alexander Ovechkin: 13/10
- Sidney Crosby: 11/1
- Daniel Sedin: 13/1
- Shane Doan: 100/1
Henrik has a slight lead on Ovi heading into this season, but is also closer friends with Father Time than the Russian sniper (no matter what his grey hair suggests). Still, the Sedins might be able to bounce back from a down year thanks to the arrival of Swedish scorer Loui Eriksson.
Crosby sits 32 points behind Henrik, but certainly looked capable of closing that gap quickly in the midst of an impressive 2016 run. Though with the concussion worries rearing their head again, that now seems like a longshot.
Over/under goals this season by players from …
- Canada: 3,280
- USA: 1,450
- Sweden: 660
- Russia: 330
Odds on the name of the new Las Vegas franchise
- Desert Knights: 2/1
- Golden Knights: 2/1
- Silver Knights: 2/1
- Boogie Knights: 200/1
Odds on the first captain of the new Las Vegas franchise
- Dustin Brown: 3/2
- Rick Nash: 2/1
- Jack Johnson: 7/1
The Las Vegas Something Knights won’t have a great selection of veteran talent through the expansion draft, but a few retreads figure to be available to the budding franchise. Brown lost his captaincy of the Kings last year, but he could find a new home for himself and the remainder of his absurd eight-year deal in Sin City. Since leadership is just about the only skill he and Nash can provide anymore, the role of captain should be theirs.
Odds Auston Matthews breaks the rookie goal record: 200/1
Sure, the 19-year-old phenom is on pace to pot 328 scores after his outstanding four-goal debut on Wednesday. But nobody has even come close to touching Teemu Selanne’s rookie record of 76 since the NHL lockout: not just rookies, but any skaters. Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos are the only players to top 60 goals since 2004-05, so don’t get carried away about the first-overall pick rewriting the record book just yet.
Odds Auston Matthews breaks the Leafs rookie goal record: 2/3
Matthews only needs 30 more to tie Wendel Clark’s record of 34, a marker that feels almost inevitable at this point. Last year’s rookie of the year Artemi Panarin notched 30 goals in 80 games, and Matthews is certainly above his level. However, he will find space harder to come by as opposing team’s begin focusing solely on stopping him. Because, if there’s any lesson to take from Toronto’s 5-4 loss to Ottawa, it’s that the team outside of Matthews’ line is poo.
International Hockey Odds
Odds NHL players participate in the 2018 Olympics: 3/5
Neither the NHL or IOC has blinked yet, and with the games still two years away, it’s unlikely either party will anytime soon. But ultimately, an agreement should be reached that allows the best players in the world to play on the game’s biggest stage. The Winter Olympics doesn’t have much else going for it. Losing what is essentially the main event would be a tragedy.
Odds Team North America will return in the next World Cup of Hockey: 1/1
The darlings of the tournament, the speedy under-23 team won over just about anybody who turned on the TV during the World Cup. There’s no reason they can’t return next time, but given the NHL’s history of making the wrong choices, this seems like a toss up.
Odds Team Europe will return in the next World Cup of Hockey: 12/1
The only way for the World Cup to grow like the NHL wants is to sacrifice this year’s runner-up. In the future, Team Europe nations will likely go back to competing against one another for the right to get stomped on by the bigger hockey countries.
Odds when next World Cup of Hockey will be held
- 2020: 1/4
- Field: 4/1
Odds any team besides Canada wins a best-on-best tournament in the next ten years: 1/6
Is USA basketball all of a sudden going to stop being the best? Neither is Canadian hockey. They have too much talent coming up each year. Just as Crosby may start to decline, they produce a Connor McDavid who could be even better. But there’s still a boatload of talent elsewhere in the world, and winning every best-on-best tourney for a decade is too tall an order.
Odds ESPN returns to broadcasting hockey full-time: 3/1
NBC will hold American broadcasting rights until 2021, at which point ESPN could try to get back in the mix. But given the underwhelming response they got from the World Cup of Hockey, it’s understandable that they wouldn’t rush out to place a bid.
Top photo credit: Joey Gannon (Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]