The NHL will be dropping the puck for the start of the regular season tomorrow. The season will kick off between the Sharks and Predators, who will be playing back-to-back in Prague, Czech Republic. It will be the first NHL game held outside North America since the Covid-19 Pandemic shut the season down in March of 2020.
The Colorado Avalanche were able to prevent the Tampa Bay Lightning from three-peating in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. With the preseason well underway it’s already clear that oddsmakers like the Avs to repeat this year.
The NHL off-season was hectic. There were plenty of moves capable of shifting the Stanley Cup odds. The Blue Jackets and Flames were the teams that made the biggest noise. The Jackets signed Johnny Gaudreau and then Patrik Laine to deals. After the departure of Gaudreau, the Flames were able to acquire Nazem Kadri. Jonathan Huberdeau was another star that had to pack his bags this off-season. The star Panthers winger was traded to the Flames in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk.
Let’s see where the New York teams stand, as the NHL finally returns to its normal schedule.
Rangers Looking to Build on Impressive Season
The Rangers went on a deep run in last year’s postseason, before faltering to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals(ECF). A 2-0 series lead had the Rangers on the doorstep of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers went on to lose the next 4 but It was still the deepest the team had gone since losing in the conference finals in the 2014-2015 season.
Rangers fans have a lot to look forward to. Their team is one of the youngest in the league, but it also has its share of veteran talent. Artemi Panarin will be the guy leading the offensive production for the Rangers. The Russian left winger will be looking to build on his 96-point season from a year ago.
Igor Shesterkin will be between the pipes once again. Shesterkin’s 2.07 GAA was good for the best in the NHL last season and helped the goaltender win his first Vezina Trophy.
The Rangers will be returning most of the same team from last year. The ‘kid line’ featuring Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil will be hoping to replicate the kind of performance they had in last year’s postseason. The Rangers won’t have to wait long for revenge. They’ll begin the regular season on October 11th at Madison Square Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Will This Be A Bounce Back Year For The Islanders?
The Islanders came into last season with high expectations, after going on a run to the ECF the year before. They ended up coming well short of these expectations and didn’t come close to making the playoffs.
The Islanders also had a disappointing off-season. They were reportedly in the mix for Johnny Gaudreau and Nazem Kadri before each player decided to go elsewhere. GM Lou Lamoriello has faced plenty of criticism for the way he’s handled his team, especially this off-season. Another rough year could send Lamoriello out the door.
The Islanders will be hoping to get more out of their star, Mathew Barzal this year. The team just signed Barzal, 25, to an 8-year extension. The deal will lock him down in an Isles uniform for the remainder of his prime.
Anthony Beauvillier will also need to have a much better season. Last year, Beauvillier only managed to register 34 points and his shot percentage was down to a career-low, 7.8 percent.
What the Sportsbooks Think
NY Sportsbooks have the Avs as big favorites to repeat this June. Oddsmakers also seem to like the Maple Leafs to end their postseason curse this year. Caesars is giving them +900 odds to hoist Lord Stanley in June.
As for the New York teams, here’s a table of the Rangers and Islanders Stanley Cup odds:
Oddsmakers have the Rangers as a top-10 team this year. Caesars likes them the most, giving the Rangers +1200 odds to win it all, which puts them in a tie with the Lightning and Oilers for the fourth-best odds.
The Islanders have longer odds, but if they can stay healthy and their stars can step up the way they did 2 years ago, look for them to move up Stanley Cup odds tables quickly. The Islanders seemed fatigued last year with the short rest after a long playoff run. This year the team has had a 5-and-a-half month off-season. They should be ready to go when the Panthers come into town next Thursday.