The NHL preseason begins this weekend, and the New York Rangers host rival New York Islanders on Monday to start the 2022-23 hockey season.
The Rangers had elevated expectations last year and exceed them in the postseason, winning Game 7s over Pittsburgh and Carolina and taking a 2-0 lead against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final before dropping four-straight games to the Lightning, who had won the previous two Stanley Cups and lost their bid for a third to Colorado after eliminating the Blueshirts.
Due to offseason moves to bolster the lineup, the return of Vesina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin in goal, and being one of the league’s most popular teams in its biggest market, expectations are high for the Rangers this year across the sports-betting landscape.
Rangers Slotted in the Third Tier of Teams in Stanley Cup Futures
Last year’s final four teams are in the top-eight in 2022-23 NHL Stanley Cup futures odds this year. The first tier is a team that stands alone: the defending Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. Despite losing goaltender Darcy Kuemper to Washington, the Avs are overwhelming favorites to repeat after having little trouble advancing through the postseason a year ago.
The second tier features four Eastern Conference contenders, of which the Rangers are not one. Toronto, who had a spectacular year last season that was overshadowed by a first-round playoff defeat to Tampa Bay in Game 7 on home ice, is among that group with Florida (2021-22 Presidents Cup winners), Carolina (who the Rangers beat in Game 7 last year), and Tampa Bay, who has played the maximum amount of hockey possible over the last three seasons.
Tier 3 Western Conference studs Edmonton, Calgary (who will no doubt feel the sting of losing Johnny Goudreau), Las Vegas, and Minnesota along with the Rangers and Pittsburgh from the east.
Here are the futures odds from BetMGM.
|TEAM||ODDS TO WIN 2022-23 NHL STANLEY CUP|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+800|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+1200|
|New York Rangers||+1800|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+1800|
Oddsmakers Expect Slight Decline in Points Total
In somewhat of a surprise, oddsmakers are expecting the Rangers to not fare quite as well as they did in the 2021-22 regular season, where they racked up 110 points, which was good enough for second place in the Metropolitan Division behind Carolina.
According to over-under point totals by Caesars Sportsbook, the Rangers’ number is set at 101.5.
Based on last year’s standings, if the Rangers go under that total, they would struggle to make the playoffs, as Washington earned the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with 100 points.
The Rangers were a few bounces from a first-round exit last season, but they were also up 2-0 on the Lightning in Game 3 of the conference final, so as is the case in hockey, the margin between elimination and victory is razor thin.
Shesterkin is one of the best goaltenders in the league, and it would be hard to see the playoffs not transpire without him in net. New York also signed Jaroslav Halek (who had a .916 save percentage with Winnipeg) to serve as the backup, and they also grabbed Louis Domingue to a two-year deal after he was pressed into emergency duty in the first round last year and scored some wins over the Blueshirts for Pittsburgh.
The Rangers’ biggest offseason acquisition was center Vincent Trocheck, who will provide great depth at the position and help assist goal-scorers Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Artemi Panarin.
The defense was a bit of a sore spot last year, but Jacob Trouba was named captain and the hope is that he and Adam Fox will provide better leadership at the position to lead to improved play.
We believe there is good value in the over for New York. Prediction: NYR Over 101.5 points.