2018/19 NHL Guide

2018/19 NHL Guide

The NHL season is about to begin, and 30 teams are dreaming of winning the title. But the 2018-19 campaign will have to put on quite a show to outdo what we witnessed last season, as captain Alex Oveckin and the Washington Capitals won their first-ever Stanley Cup title, and the Vegas Golden Knights became the only first-year expansion team to win a game in the Stanley Cup final.

The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup, it was 25 NHL teams and 51 years ago. The Leafs haven’t even made it back to the Cup final series since their 1966-67 triumph, so there’s been a festive atmosphere brewing in the GTA ever since July 1, the day the Leafs signed center John Tavares, the top available unrestricted free agent. Could this finally be the Leafs’ year? A lot of people think so, and for a change it’s not just Leafs fans who feel that way.

Then the San Jose Sharks went out and acquired defenseman Erik Karlsson from Ottawa, and the lanscape tilted to the West Coast. Coupling Karlsson with Brent Burns puts two Norris Trophy winners on San Jose’s back end. The Sharks are the fifth team in NHL history to suit up a pair of Norris Trophy winners. Four of the previous five teams to do so won the Stanley Cup.

Our 2018-19 NHL betting guide previews the odds of all 31 teams from the Eastern and Western Conference.

Division by Division

Atlantic Division

Boston Bruins

  • Stanley Cup titles: 6
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +1100
  • Odds to win Conference: +600
  • Odds to win Division: +190
  • Major players for this season: Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara

Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak all scored 30 goals last season and formed the NHL’s most potent forward line, but will the Bruins remain a one-trick pony when it comes to offense? Chara logs tons of minutes, is a former Norris winner and a fitness freak, but he’s also 41.

Buffalo Sabres

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +10000
  • Odds to win Conference: +5000
  • Odds to win Division: +3000
  • Major players for this season: Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin

The Sabres figure to suit up as many as five players taken in the top eight picks of their draft years, including a pair of twos (Eichel, Sam Reinhart) and Dahlin, the first selection of the 2018 draft, and destined to be a generational defenseman. But is career backup Carter Hutton good enough to be a No. 1 goalie?

Detroit Red Wings

  • Stanley Cup titles: 11
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +6600
  • Odds to win Conference: +10000
  • Odds to win Division: +20000
  • Major players for this season: Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha

The departure of captain Henrik Zetterberg due to a degenerative back condition officially passes the torch to the youth of this rebuilding team, which has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since the early 1980s. Larkin (63 points) led the Wings in scoring last season, while Mantha (24) led in goals.

Florida Panthers

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +4500
  • Odds to win Conference: +2400
  • Odds to win Division: +1600
  • Major players for this season: Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau

The Panthers missed the playoffs by one point last season, but won an NHL-leading 28 of their final 35 games. They were one of three NHL teams with four 27-goal scorers and the only team with four 65-point producers (Barkov, Huberdeau, Evgenii Dadonov, Vincent Trocheck). 

Montreal Canadiens

  • Stanley Cup titles: 24
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +10000
  • Odds to win Conference: +5000
  • Odds to win Division: +5000
  • Major players for this season: Carey Price, Max Domi

The Canadiens have missed the playoffs in two of the past three seasons. Price, the 2014-15 Hart and Vezina Trophy winner, must improve on a .900 save percentage that rated 39th in the NHL. Domi will skate on the top line and must score more than his nine goals of a year ago.

Ottawa Senators

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +20000
  • Odds to win Conference: +10000
  • Odds to win Division: +6600
  • Major players for this season: Matt Duchene, Mark Stone

By dealing away all-star defenseman Erik Karlsson, the Senators have already written off this season. Stone and Duchene, Ottawa’s top returning scorers, are both pending unrestricted free agents. Goalie Craig Anderson requested a trade in the summer.

Tampa Bay Lightning 

  • Stanley Cup titles: 1
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +850
  • Odds to win Conference: +400
  • Odds to win Division: +190
  • Major players for this season: Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman

Despite the resignation of GM Steve Yzerman on the eve of training camp, it’s still hard to look past the Lightning as Stanley Cup favorites. They’ve been to the conference finals in three of the last four springs. Hedman won the Norris, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was a Vezina finalist and Kucherov collected 100 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs 

  • Stanley Cup titles: 13
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +700
  • Odds to win Conference: +375
  • Odds to win Division: +165
  • Major players for this season: Auston Matthews, John Tavares

The buzz among Leaf Nation is palpable. Adding Tavares to Matthews and Nazem Kadri gives Toronto the NHL’s best 1-2-3 punch at center. But is the Toronto defense deep enough and is goalie Frederik Andersen good enough to take this team on a long playoff run? 

Metropolitan Division

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Stanley Cup titles: 1
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +9000
  • Odds to win Conference: +4000
  • Odds to win Division: +900
  • Major players for this season: Dougie Hamilton, Scott Darling

The Hurricanes, who’ve missed the playoffs for nine straight seasons, have a new coach in Rod Brind’Amour. They added Hamilton, who shared the NHL lead for goals by a defenseman with 17, but they desperately need goaltender Darling (3.18 GAA, .888 save percentage) to step up his game.

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +3000
  • Odds to win Conference: +1400
  • Odds to win Division: +600
  • Major players for this season: Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin 

Here’s a team that could be in for a Humpty Dumpty-type fall. Seth Jones and Zach Weresnki, the Blue Jackets’ top two defenseman, start the season on the injured list. Bobrovsky, their Vezina Trophy-winning goalie and Panarin, their leading scorer, are pending UFA’s who could be traded.

Columbus Blue Jackets
To Win the 2018/19 Stanley Cup Odds
+3000

Bovada

New Jersey Devils

  • Stanley Cup titles: 3
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +4000
  • Odds to win Conference: +2200
  • Odds to win Division: +1400
  • Major players for this season: Taylor Hall, Cory Schneider

The Devils ended a six-season postseason drought last spring and Hall collected 93 points and won the Hart Trophy. Hall had 41 points more than Nico Hischier, New Jersey’s second-leading scorer. Goaltender Schneider will miss the start of the season after undergoing offseason hip surgery. 

New York Islanders

  • Stanley Cup titles: 4
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +10000
  • Odds to win Conference: +5000
  • Odds to win Division: +1800
  • Major players for this season: Mathew Barzal, Robin Lehner

The moment Tavares signed with Toronto, a pall was cast over the Islanders, and the gloom hasn’t lifted. Calder Trophy winner Barzal, who had 85 points, must step up to be the No. 1 center. Robin Lehner, signed to fill the Isles’ goaltending void, recently revealed that he suffers from depression. 

New York Rangers

  • Stanley Cup titles: 4
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +8500
  • Odds to win Conference: +4000
  • Odds to win Division: +1800
  • Major players for this season: Henrik Lundqvist, Mika Zibanejad

Thin at center, the Rangers need more from Zibanejad, who scored 27 goals, but just 13 at even strength. Goaltender Lundqvist has won every honor for a goalie save the Stanley Cup, but with the Rangers in rebuild mode, his best hope for that might be a trade. 

Philadelphia Flyers

  • Stanley Cup titles: 2
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +2600
  • Odds to win Conference: +1200
  • Odds to win Division: +600
  • Major players for this season: Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek

Philly’s top four scorers – Giroux, Voracek, Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere – combined for 328 points last season, second only to the 330 accumulated by Pittsburgh’s top four. Goaltending continues to be the Flyers’ Achilles heel. They went through four netminders last season. 

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Stanley Cup titles: 5
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +1200
  • Odds to win Conference: +500
  • Odds to win Division: +180
  • Major players for this season: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin

Their Stanley Cup reign ended after two years, but as long as the Penguins have Sid and Geno, you can’t count them out. Along with Phil Kessel, they gave Pittsburgh three of the NHL’s top 10 scorers. But goalie Matt Murray wasn’t as sharp in his first season without competition from veteran Marc-Andre Fleury.

Washington Capitals 

  • Stanley Cup titles: 1
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +1100
  • Odds to win Conference: +240
  • Odds to win Division: +600
  • Major players for this season: Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson

They kept all but two of their 20 players who dressed for the Cup-clinching win over Vegas, but coach Barry Trotz is gone and replacement Todd Reirden has never been an NHL head coach. Carlson, who led all NHL defensemen in scoring, reupped and perennial Rocket Richard Trophy winner Ovechkin is still potting goals. 

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks

  • Stanley Cup titles: 6
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +3500
  • Odds to win Conference: +2200
  • Odds to win Division: +2000
  • Major players for this season: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews

Three-time Stanley Cup champs from 2010-15, it’s like the Blackhawks just got old all of a sudden. Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner Kane still has game, but Toews and defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have slowed considerably. And the status of injured goalie Corey Crawford remains uncertain.

Colorado Avalanche

  • Stanley Cup titles: 2
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +4000
  • Odds to win Conference: +2000
  • Odds to win Division: +1800
  • Major players for this season: Nathan MacKinnon, Tyson Barrie

The Avs increased 47 points in the standings to jump from last overall in the NHL to the second Western Conference wildcard in one season. Defenseman Barrie posted a career-best 57 points, while MacKinnon collected 97 points and was in the Hart Trophy argument. But Colorado won just 15 road games.

Dallas Stars

  • Stanley Cup titles: 1
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +3000
  • Odds to win Conference: +1400
  • Odds to win Division: +600
  • Major players for this season: Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin

New coach Jim Montgomery is the fourth coach in NHL history to jump directly from NCAA to NHL bench boss. He inherits a team with two potent scorers in Benn and Seguin, a Norris Trophy-caliber rearguard in John Klingberg, but none of it will matter if goalie Ben Bishop doesn’t regain his form. 

Minnesota Wild

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +3500
  • Odds to win Conference: +1500
  • Odds to win Division: +900
  • Major players for this season: Eric Staal, Ryan Suter

The Wild are the epitome of treading water. They’ve gone out in the first round of the playoffs three years in a row and five times since 2007. Can Staal, 33, repeat his 42-goal output of a season ago? How will Suter, 33, who led the team in ice time (26:47 per game) rebound from a fractured right ankle? 

Nashville Predators

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +1100
  • Odds to win Conference: +550
  • Odds to win Division: +150
  • Major players for this season: Pekka Rinne, P.K. Subban

All the pieces for a Stanley Cup run look to be in place. Rinne is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Subban and Roman Josi both garnered 50 points last season and are Norris contenders. Filip Forsberg has led the team in scoring in three of the past four seasons. 

St. Louis Blues

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +2000
  • Odds to win Conference: +1200
  • Odds to win Division: +800
  • Major players for this season: Jake Allen, Vladimir Tarasenko 

A busy offseason saw the Blues add forwards Ryan O’Reilly, Patrick Maroon, David Perron and Tyler Bozak. Tarasenko has averaged 37 goals over the past four seasons, captain Alex Pietrangelo is a Norris-caliber defender, but Allen needs to be more consistent in goal if they are to be an elite team.

Winnipeg Jets 

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +850
  • Odds to win Conference: +550
  • Odds to win Division: +160
  • Major players for this season: Patrik Laine, Connor Hellebuyck

Apologies to Toronto fans, but this is the team with the best chance to end Canada’s 25-year Stanley Cup drought. Western Conference finalists last spring, Hellebuyck set a record for U.S.-born NHL goalies with 44 wins. Laine (44 goals) was one of five players with at least 23 goals. Jets defensemen scored 31 goals.  

Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks

  • Stanley Cup titles: 1
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +3000
  • Odds to win Conference: +1400
  • Odds to win Division: +550
  • Major players for this season: Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell.

Analysis: Already there are concerns for the Ducks, who’ve lost veteran winger Corey Perry for five months following knee surgery. Goalie John Gibson was locked up to an eight-year contract extension that will keep him with the team until he’s 36.

Arizona Coyotes

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +10000
  • Odds to win Conference: +4500
  • Odds to win Division: +4000
  • Major players for this season: Alex Galchenyuk, Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Galchenyuk and Michael Grabner, both former 30-goal scorers, were added to boost an offense that finished 30th in the league. All-Star defenseman Ekman-Larsson agreed to an eight-year contract extension. The Coyotes are improving, but still don’t have enough to end a playoff drought extending back to 2011-12. 

Calgary Flames

  • Stanley Cup titles: 1
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +3300
  • Odds to win Conference: +1500
  • Odds to win Division: +650
  • Major players for this season: Johnny Gaudreau, Noah Hanifin

The Flames underwent a major overhaul after missing the playoffs, getting a new coach (Bill Peters), young defender Hanifin and 30-goal scorers James Neal and Elias Lindholm. Added to a young core of Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk, this team could be a real sleeper to win the division at that price.

Edmonton Oilers

  • Stanley Cup titles: 5
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +3000
  • Odds to win Conference: +1400
  • Odds to win Division: +600
  • Major players for this season: Connor McDavid, Cam Talbot

Second round playoff participants in 2016-17, the Oilers slumped and missed the playoffs last season for the 11th time in 12 years. Still, any team with reigning scoring champ and Hart Trophy favorite McDavid can never be discounted. But goalie Talbot (3.02 GAA, .908 save percentage) will have to be more consistent.  

Los Angeles Kings

  • Stanley Cup titles: 2
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +3000
  • Odds to win Conference: +1400
  • Odds to win Division: +600
  • Major players for this season: Anze Kopitar, Ilya Kovalchuk

The Kings determined that the cure for getting old and slow was to get older and slower. They signed two-time 50-goal scorer Kovalchuk, 35, who’s played in the KHL since 2013. Kopitar enjoyed a bounce back year, going from 52 to 92 points and finishing as a Hart Trophy finalist. 

San Jose Sharks

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +1200
  • Odds to win Conference: +700
  • Odds to win Division: +240
  • Major players for this season: Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns

Karlsson and Burns give the Sharks two Norris Trophy winners on the back end. San Jose had 11 players reach double digits in goals last season. The Sharks scored 21 percent of their goals last season on the power play. They were second in the NHL on the penalty kill.

Vancouver Canucks

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +12500
  • Odds to win Conference: +6000
  • Odds to win Division: +5000
  • Major players for this season: Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser

True, Daniel and Henrik Sedin are gone, but Vancouver is equipped with the deepest prospect pool in the NHL. Horvat and Boeser, who was a surprise Calder contender, are evidence of that. This season unveils Elias Pettersson, last season’s Swedish Elitserien scoring champ.

Vegas Golden Knights

  • Stanley Cup titles: 0
  • Odds to win Stanley Cup: +1100
  • Odds to win Conference: +600
  • Odds to win Division: +260
  • Major players for this season: Marc-Andre Fleury, William Karlsson

When you’ve just accomplished what no team in the history of the game had achieved, what you do for an encore? The only first-year expansion team to win a Stanley Cup final game, does Fleury have another all-world puckstopping performance in him? Can Karlsson pop another 43 goals?

2018-19 NHL Predictions

2018-19 NHL Predictions

Eastern Conference Champions

Tampa Bay Lightning +400

Western Conference Champions

San Jose Sharks +700

Stanley Cup Champions

Tampa Bay Lightning +850

See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:





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