The dust has settled on NHL free agency, leaving fans with a long wait until the season starts in October.
For most teams, it’s a time of optimism. If your young players take the next step and new acquisitions fit in well, anything is possible.
That will be true for some teams, but given that just 16 of 31 will qualify for the playoffs, there’s bound to be some disappointed fans come April.
But where teams and fans often think with their heart, sports-books think with facts to set gambling odds.
SportsBetting.ag recently set the odds for NHL point totals for the 2019-20 season. We’ve used those point totals to get a look at the predicted standings, as well as some potential playoff matchups.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (108.5)
2. Toronto Maple Leafs (101.5)
3. Boston Bruins (100.5)
WC2. New York Islanders (93.5)
1. Washington Capitals(96.5)
2. Carolina Hurricanes(95.5)
3. Pittsburgh Penguins(94.5)
WC1. Florida Panthers(96.5)
9. Philadelphia Flyers(90.5)
10. New Jersey Devils(88.5)
11. Montreal Canadiens(88.5)
12. New York Rangers(87.5)
13. Columbus Blue Jackets(84.5)
14. Buffalo Sabres(83.5)
15. Detroit Red Wings(75.5)
16. Ottawa Senators(68.5)
1. Vegas Golden Knights (100.5)
2. Calgary Flames (96.5)
3. San Jose Sharks (93.5)
WC2. Winnipeg Jets (95.5)
1. Colorado Avalanche (98.5)
2. Nashville Predators (97.5)
3. St. Louis Blues (96.5)
WC1. Dallas Stars (96.5)
9. Vancouver Canucks (90.5)
10. Arizona Coyotes (90.5)
11. Chicago Blackhawks (90.5)
12. Edmonton Oilers (85.5)
13. Minnesota Wild (84.5)
14. Anaheim Ducks (79.5)
15. Los Angeles Kings (73.5)
This isn’t a place for bold predictions, necessarily, as oddsmakers have 15 of 16 teams that made the playoffs last season returning to the postseason next year.
The team they have missing out is the Columbus Blue Jackets, who lost Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel in free agency. Taking their place are the Florida Panthers – Bobrovsky’s new team.
Oddsmakers don’t seem bothered by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s quick first-round exit last season, awarding them the Presidents’ Trophy for a second-straight year.
They have just three Canadian teams making the playoffs, with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Winnipeg Jets getting in.
The Leafs (101.5 points) would play the Boston Bruins (100.5) in the first round for a third-straight season — this time with Toronto having home-ice advantage.
The Flames (96.5) are predicted to regress next season, following a Western Conference leading 107-point campaign last year. As the second-place team in the Pacific Division, they would open the playoffs with home-ice advantage against the San Jose Sharks.
Calgary could play Winnipeg in the second round, as the Jets would qualify as a wild card team, opening against the Vegas Golden Knights on the road.
After a busy offseason for the Vancouver Canucks, they’re the odds-on favourite to be the best team to not make the playoffs in the West. The Canucks (90.5) are predicted to miss the postseason by just three points, behind San Jose for third in the Pacific.
The Montreal Canadiens (88.5) are predicted to take a step back next season after missing the playoffs by just two points last year. They would miss out by five points next season.
It’s expected to be another sad year for both the Edmonton Oilers (85.5) and Ottawa Senators (68.5), despite predicted point improvements. The Sens have the lowest predicted point total in the league, five points less than the Los Angeles Kings.