- BetOnline has updated odds on what teams will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the NHL’s Eastern Conference
- The Florida Panthers are a trendy pick to make the postseason after hiring coach Joel Quennville
- The Philadelphia Flyers hope new coach Alain Vigneault can lead them back to the playoffs
With the possible exception of March Madness, the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the most unpredictable tournament in all of sports.
In a cap era with unprecedented parity across the league, the goal for the NHL’s 31 teams is to simply survive the 82-game regular season and make the postseason, where anything can unfold.
Let’s examine the playoff odds for the Eastern Conference clubs at Bovada and pick three winning bets.
NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF ODDS
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+160||-200|
|Detroit Red Wings||+375||-550|
|New Jersey Devils||-160||+130|
|New York Islanders||-160||+130|
|New York Rangers||+135||-165|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-500||+350|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-350||+275|
FLORIDA PANTHERS MISS THE PLAYOFFS (+180)
Since joining the NHL in 1993-94, the Panthers have managed to make the postseason in just five of 26 seasons and once in the past seven years.
Florida is a trendy pick right now after splurging on a three-time Stanley Cup Champion coach (Joel Quennville) and a two-time Vezina winner (Sergei Bobrovsky) this offseason, but they still play in a tough Atlantic division with the Bruins, Leafs and Lightning.
— BarDown (@BarDown) September 20, 2019
Recent history is also littered with veteran coaches with rings (Mike Keenan, Mark Crawford, Dan Bylsma, Mike Babcock) who failed miserably in their new locations.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS FAIL TO MAKE POSTSEASON (+130)
Barry Trotz is a notable exception to the “Cup-winning coaches always fail in new locations” argument I just laid out.
After raising Lord Stanley in Washington in 2017/18, he led the Islanders to a surprise trip to the playoffs last year after many pundits assumed they’d fall apart without star center John Tavares.
SEASON PREVIEW: The @NYIslanders re-signed nearly all of their own players and return with their core intact, hoping to build off the foundation set in the first year under coach Barry Trotz. https://t.co/lrzcKZax1L
— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) September 25, 2019
While Lou Lamoriello was able to re-sign all their key free agent forwards (Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson), the team only ranked 22nd in goals scored last season.
Third-year center Matthew Barzal should continue to improve, but in order to make the postseason, New York will have to be every bit as good defensively as they were last year when they led the league in goals against.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS RETURN TO PLAYOFFS (-125)
Signing veteran center Kevin Hayes to a ridiculous seven-year deal at $7.14 million per season doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that the Flyers know what they’re doing, but the team made a strong coaching hire in Alain Vigneault.
Vigneault has made the postseason in 11 of 16 seasons behind the bench, leading the Canucks (2011) and Rangers (2014) to the Stanley Cup Final, and is working with no shortage of scoring talent in the City of Brotherly Love.
“I’m excited to be a one-two punch with him.”
New Flyer Kevin Hayes talked about teaming up with Sean Couturier, why he was sold on the Flyers and more.
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) September 23, 2019
Sean Couturier has blossomed into one of the top two-way centers in the league, leading the Flyers in goals the past two seasons (64). They also have Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick up front.
If 21-year-old netminder Carter Hart can pick up where he left off last season, Philadelphia should continue an odd trend that has seen them qualify for the playoffs every second year since 2012-13.