- BetOnline lists the Tampa Bay Lightning (+125) as favorites to repeat as division champions
- The Boston Bruins have 3/1 odds to win the Atlantic after making it to the Stanley Cup Final last season
- The Florida Panthers are at 6/1 after hiring head coach Joel Quenneville
With young, restricted-free-agent stars such as Leafs’ forward Mitch Marner, Lightning center Brayden Point and Bruins’ defenseman Charlie McAvoy all still without new contracts, the NHL’s best division remains in a state of flux as training camps set to open around the league.
Let’s look at the odds at BetOnline to see if we can skate away with any values in the Atlantic Division.
NHL ATLANTIC DIVISION ODDS
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+125|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+275|
|Detroit Red Wings||+10000|
THE FAVORITE: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
After tying an NHL record with 62 regular-season wins, the Lightning were promptly swept in the first round of last year’s playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Despite the embarrassing end to their season, Tampa Bay has mostly stood pat in the offseason, inking reigning Vezina-winner Andrei Vasilevskiy to a massive eight-year, $76M contract extension.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were clear-cut Stanley Cup favorites, but adding two talented free agents leaves no question: it’s all or nothing this season. @THNJaredClinton with more:https://t.co/wKzFLg2OHZ
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) August 26, 2019
The team also brought in defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on a cheap one-year deal after he was bought out by the Rangers, and added some veteran depth in Cup-winner Patrick Maroon.
OTHER ATLANTIC CONTENDERS
The Maple Leafs made a blockbuster deal, acquiring mobile D-man TJ Brodie and Alexander Kerfoot from the Avalanche for long-time center Nazem Kadri.
The move was probably necessary given Toronto’s seventh-overall pick in the 2009 draft got himself suspended in two-straight first-round losses to the rival Bruins, who have had a quiet offseason after their heart-breaking Game 7 defeat to the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.
— Eric Alt (@Eric_Alt) July 9, 2019
With 42-year-old captain Zdeno Chara coming back for his 22nd season in the league, the corps of a Boston club that has made three Cup Finals in nine years (Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand) remains in tact.
Having failed to qualify for the playoffs in three straight seasons (and with only two postseason berths since the year 2000), the Panthers signed netminder Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70M deal and brought in three-time Cup champion head coach Joel Quenneville.
DIVISIONAL BOTTOM DWELLERS
The Canadians narrowly missed the postseason after being surprisingly competitive last year, but after their weak offer-sheet to Sebastian Aho was easily matched by the Hurricanes, Montreal is in danger of completely wasting Carey Price’s prime.
Looking for their first playoff berth since 2011, the Buffalo Sabres thought outside of the box in hiring coach Ralph Krueger, who (somewhat bizarrely) spent the past five years as chairman of an English Premier League soccer club.
— NHL (@NHL) July 12, 2019
The Red Wings made a much stronger hire in bringing back legend Steve Yzerman as Executive Vice President and General Manager.
But where there is new hope in Detroit, there is very little in Ottawa where fans continue to show frustration with cheapskate owner Eugene Melnyk.