The NHL trade deadline has passed and hoo boy, it will be a fun run to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Well, that is if you’re a fan of one of the teams still in the mix. It seems like every contending team in the Eastern Conference got better at the deadline, including league-leading Boston. Will anyone be able to catch the Bruins in the East?
With the trade deadline behind us, let’s take a look at some NHL futures in the form of Stanley Cup bets and some bets to win the Eastern Conference. The Atlantic Division is all but locked up but the New Jersey Devils could catch the Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan.
NHL Stanley Cup Futures: Three Value Bets in the Eastern Conference
NHL Futures: Eastern Conference Odds
|Team||To win Eastern Conference||To win Stanley Cup|
There are a few tiers here.
The Bruins are pretty much in a class of their own, then you have the Hurricanes down to the Rangers. After that, it’s five teams fighting for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference — and the odds reflect that.
Saying to bet on the Bruins, Hurricanes, or even the Maple Leafs after their deadline moves is easy. I’m going to look beyond the cream of the crop for some value bets here.
Eastern Conference Best Value Bets
New York Rangers
To win Eastern Conference: +700
To win Stanley Cup: +1300
The Rangers made it to the Eastern Conference Final last year where they fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. They overcame the Penguins and Hurricanes before falling victim to the NHL’s most recent dynasty.
This year, the Rangers are back and made some key additions at the trade deadline. After signing former Hurricane Vincent Trocheck in the offseason, they bolstered their forward group even more with trades for Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane.
⚠️ HIGHWAY TO THE KANGER ZONE ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/tMCXUqRs53
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 1, 2023
Igor Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy last year and although he’s been human at times this year, the Russian goalie was tremendous in the playoffs. He allowed three goals or fewer in his final 16 playoff games, including two or fewer in 10 of them. The Rangers now have the offense to win a lower-scoring game in the postseason and the experience to boot.
To win Eastern Conference: +1800
To win Stanley Cup: +3000
The Penguins have flailed at times this year but all signs point to them making the playoffs. They currently hold the second wild-card spot (although they have a better point percentage than the Islanders) and Ron Hextall stupidly spent some future assets on veteran rentals at the trade deadline.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang are looking to take one more run at the Cup, and Tristan Jarry may be able to help them out there. The Penguins’ contending window is closing and they aren’t the team they once were.
Nevertheless, 18/1 to reach the Stanley Cup Final and 30/1 to win it seems a bit high. Anything can happen in a seven-game series and the top teams in the East may cannibalize themselves if the Penguins are able to knock off the Hurricanes in the first round.
To win Eastern Conference: +7500
To win Stanley Cup: +15000
You want to get nuts? Let’s get nuts!
The Senators probably aren’t making the playoffs. They’re four points back of the Islanders — with three games in hand — and three points back of the Penguins — with the same amount of games played.
Ottawa went out and added a few key pieces last offseason in Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux. The Senators then acquired Jacob Chychrun at the trade deadline. This is a good young team that could make some noise down the stretch.
Having said all of that, I would advise making this bet with the plan to hedge or cash out if the Senators do make the playoffs. Alternatively, you can find the Senators to make the playoffs at +450 if that’s more up your alley.
Follow Ryan Gilbert on Twitter (@RGilbertSOP)