- BetOnline favors the Colorado Avalanche (+300) to win their first division title in six years
- The Stars, Predators and Blues are all at 4/1 to win the Central
- The Jets (+450) young guns keep them in the hunt despite the loss of Jacob Trouba
The NHL’s Central Division odds seem askew at first glance. St. Louis isn’t the favorite despite raising the franchise’s first Stanley Cup a few months ago and neither are the Predators, who won the division in each of the past two seasons.
Using the odds at BetOnline, let’s dig into why the Avalanche and Stars might have the best chance to win the Central despite having flimsier resumes than their competitors.
NHL CENTRAL DIVISION ODDS
|St. Louis Blues||+400|
After upsetting the Flames in the first round of the playoffs and almost doing the same to the Sharks, the Avalanche had the luxury of picking fourth in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft thanks to a trade with the lowly Ottawa Senators.
With that selection, the team added Bowen Byram to a talented young D-corps that also includes Cale Makar, last year’s Hobey Baker Award winner as the top player in NCAA hockey.
Do @Mackinnon9 and Mikko Rantanen make up the best duo in the NHL? @Avalanche pic.twitter.com/CF1TQnUthW
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) September 2, 2019
To supplement the scoring of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, Colorado also swung a big deal in the offseason, landing gritty center Nazem Kadri from the Leafs.
Like the Avalanche, the Stars pulled off a Round 1 upset in dispatching the Predators and took the Blues to double OT in Game 7 before falling 2-1 to the eventual Cup champs.
Seeing just how close his club came to raising Lord Stanley, GM Jim Nill used the summer to bring in veteran scorers Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry (over 700 combined goals) to supplement Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov up front.
Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry will give the Stars exactly what they need to take the next step this season, forward Tyler Seguin said.https://t.co/YuICWVW5BE
— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) August 27, 2019
With ascending Scandinavian talents (John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen) patrolling the blue line, Dallas is the best bet to win the Central and a sneaky pick to raise the Cup.
THE REST OF THE CENTRAL
Nashville shipped defenseman P.K. Subban to New Jersey to make cap room for incoming free-agent forward Matt Duchene.
With the 28-year-old joining Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris and Nick Bonino up the middle, the Predators are deep at center and still strong on the back end with Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm.
What can we expect from Patrik Laine in 2019-20? https://t.co/0LHC0sUH6v
— NBC ProHockeyTalk (@ProHockeyTalk) August 31, 2019
The Blues, whose minor offseason moves are covered in the Early 2020 Western Conference picks, started their Cup run by defeating the Jets in six games. Winnipeg’s once promising future took another hit when 25-year-old D-man Jacob Trouba forced his way to New York this summer, but this is still a team with tons of talent.
Assuming RFA-forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor eventually sign on the dotted line and rejoin fellow studs Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Nik Ehlers, the Jets are worth taking a flyer on in the Central.