NHL 19/20 season – a clearer way forward!
It has been a bit under two months, or a bit over a fourth of the games played, in the NHL and teams have settled in well. Patterns are starting to emerge and we are seeing early signs of teams who look like strong contenders to make it to the postseason. Of course it is too early to confidently call which teams are going to be competing for the Stanley Cup but herein lies the intrigue of sports betting.
When betting pre-season you only have so much information to take in. Some teams may bolster themselves through the draft and ultimately come out flat. So strategically you want to wait and watch a bit of the season before making a more educated guess on which team you want to place your money. This is exactly what we will be looking at in this four part series.
We’ve let the teams marinate, so to speak, a bit and settle into the new season of hockey. We’ll look briefly into each team division wise, East-to-West, North-to-South. Starting with the North-Eastern Metropolitan Division most notably consisting of the Washington Capitals (the caps), the two New York teams the Islanders and Rangers, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Metropolitan Division – The heart of the US
Starting the list in an alphabetical order, we have the Canes. A very interesting a somewhat dark horse team that managed to clinch a Wild Card Playoffs spot in the 2019 Stanley Cup. The Canes to everyone’s surprise managed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 10 years but not only that, more impressively they climbed past Pittsburgh and the Islanders, reaching their first conference final since that 08/09 season.
By the looks of it, they have continued their form from their playoffs into this year. Starting strong, they have positioned themselves as one of the teams that will be fighting for a playoffs spot this year. The one big thing that the Canes have going for themselves is a strong defensive core. Arguably, for many, one of the strongest defensive cores in the NHL, competing versus the Shark’s (albeit an extremely wobbly start to the season) Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson pairing. Currently tied 7th in the Goals Against department, if they keep up their defence and take it through to the final quarter of the season they should be on their way to booking a ticket to the playoffs.
Of course as with every team, the Canes aren’t guaranteed a spot but are predicted to make the playoffs by securing either the final 3rd place in the Metropolitan division or the top wild card spot. Our betting site, Wunderino Sport, has odds of 9/1 for the Canes to win the conference finals.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets managed to pull themselves together at the final hurdle and secure the final spot of last year’s playoffs. Pulling off perhaps the biggest upset of the 18/19 playoffs, they swept the number one team in the Eastern Conference the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1st round and held up a good fight versus the Boston Bruins after but ultimately falling short. Last season was their time to shine but it looks like that is the end of the story for them.
With their stars having left before the start of the season to play for other teams, an inexperienced goalie, and a very young team that will need time to build up, it doesn’t look too bright for the Blue Jackets this season. Already trailing by over 10 points (13 as of writing this piece) and having the second lowest goals for statistic, you should not expect this team to make it anywhere near even the wildcard position.
Expect the Blue Jackets to finish either 7th or 8th by April, barring some miracle happening.
New Jersey Devils
Say hi to the other disappointing team of this season in the Metropolitan division. The Devils are currently ranked as one of the worst teams in the NHL this season. Although many were expecting (and maybe still are) for the Devils to bounce back from their atrocious last year performance. The big hope for them is that they signed Jack Hughes and number of other players who look very promising to them.
The Devils have produced neither defensively nor offensively and that has been costing them points. Perhaps they’ll require less time to fix their issues than the Blue Jackets but as things stand they are predicted to miss the playoffs. Competing with the Blue Jackets for the upside down first place.
Unless the team manages to pull itself together throughout december making them competitive for a wildcard spot, expect them to finish 7th or 8th.
New York Islanders
The rivalry continues and the Islanders are clearly on top… somehow? The first NY team are the Islanders. They had a strong season last year finishing second in the division as well as destroying the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs. A lot went right for them last year and this is what they are counting on this year.
Barring some additions to the team, the Islanders lost Filppula and more importantly their amazing goaltender Robin Lehner who was outstanding last year. Yet, they have the least amount of goals scored against at 54. Sure they haven’t had a goals galore, but they have managed to find a great balance of consistency that has translated into a very strong early season.
If they keep up this balance expect them to be in the top three in the Metro division, probably as the second seed competing with the Washington Capitals. Wunderino Sport has both the Islanders and Caps at a 14/1 odd of winning the conference finals.
New York Rangers
Hopping over to the less impressive brother, the Rangers. Despite signing the number two draft pick Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin from Columbus, the team has struggled to receive any dividends from it. On paper the Rangers should be competitive at least for the wild card positions but has had an underwhelming start to the season. Sitting tightly with the Devils and Blue Jackets.
On the bright side, they are the most likely to break out of the bottom three group and challenge Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.