- BetOnline has the Washington Capitals (+400) as the slight favorite to win their fifth-straight division title
- The Pittsburgh Penguins have 5/1 odds to win the Metropolitan after shipping off star forward Phil Kessel
- The New York Rangers are at 8/1 after signing high-scoring winger Artemi Panerin
Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals are coming off a much quieter offseason than the 2018 ‘Summer of Ovi’ that fell somewhere in between a Stanley Cup celebration and a living reenactment of The Wolf of Wall Street.
Will the extra rest help Washington claim their fifth-consecutive division title or will another team emerge in the Metropolitan? Let’s examine the odds at BetOnline.
NHL METROPOLITAN DIVISION ODDS
|New York Islanders||+500|
|New Jersey Devils||+600|
|New York Rangers||+800|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+1400|
CONTENDING WITH THE CAPITALS
The Penguins handed high-energy winger Brandon Tanev a generous contract and then cleared cap space by shipping prolific-goal-scorer Phil Kessel to the Coyotes for center Alex Galchenyuk.
The key to Pittsburgh’s season, however, will be whether defenseman Kris Letang can stay healthy (for a change), and if Evgeni Malkin can rebound from a disappointing 21-goal season where he was a minus-25, the worst rating of his 13-year NHL career.
Evgeni Malkin’s not messing around this season! ?
(? IG/e.malkin71geno) pic.twitter.com/FJMvlRDge0
— NHL (@NHL) August 30, 2019
Making an easy to decision to match Montreal’s offer sheet for 22-year-old forward Sebastian Aho, Carolina and their talented young corps will look to build on last year’s deep playoff run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite captain Justin Williams’ decision to step away from the NHL, the arrow is pointing up on the Canes.
Barely missing John Tavares at all, the Islanders finished just a point back of the division-champion Capitals last season.
The team re-signed No. 1 center Brock Nelson and captain Anders Lee on long-term deals, but Barry Trotz’s boys will need young center Matthew Barzal to rebound from a sluggish sophomore season that saw him put up 23 less points.
the flyers’ ability to compete in the metro comes down to young players all taking a step simultaneously https://t.co/pPltdaFEeV
— ? ryan lambert ? (@twolinepass) September 3, 2019
Philadelphia made a strong hire in veteran coach Alain Vigneault, but grossly overpaid third-line center Kevin Hayes to a seven-year, $49.9M deal. After alternating missing the playoffs with first-round losses in each of the past seven seasons, the Flyers will continue that trend with a postseason berth.
REBUILDING ON THE FLY
The Rangers expedited their rebuild in signing Russian sniper Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5M deal and trading for defenseman Jacob Trouba.
New York also added highly-touted D-man Adam Fox in a separate move and drafted Finnish-forward Kaapo Kakko with the No. 2 overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.
P.K. Subban doing play-by-play for his dogs eating lunch is fantastic ?
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 13, 2019
Just across the river in New Jersey, GM Ray Shero took 18-year-old American phenom Jack Hughes first overall and swung a deal for Lindsey Vonn’s smooth-skating fiancée P.K. Subban. After missing the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons, the Devils are in win-now mode in an effort to convince forward Taylor Hall to re-sign.
The news isn’t so rosy in Columbus where the Blue Jackets will be forced to rebuild after losing Panarin, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and trade-deadline pickup Matt Duchene over the summer.