We still have plenty of top-shelf talent left to be signed for this NHL Free Agency. But the biggest names, like Johnny Gaudreau, have come off the board. The 28-year-old stunned the NHL Free Agency odds by signing with Columbus. That is just one of a few big moves that have adjusted the betting odds on the outright table.
Blue Jackets, Devils, and Senators Win Free Agency
Going by the NHL Free Agency odds movement, we have a trio of teams that have seen their odds improve. Columbus, New Jersey, and Ottawa all opened in the preseason as 100-1 longshots to win the Stanley Cup. Since after Free Agency (and the 2022 NHL Entry Draft), Columbus has dropped to 75-1, New Jersey to 60-1, and Ottawa to 50-1.
Those odds indicate that neither of the three teams is still expected to win the Cup. Heck, none of them may make the playoffs, but it does mean that they are all significantly improved. Columbus acquired Gaudreau, as mentioned, while New Jersey signed Ondřej Palát and Ottawa acquired Claude Giroux.
In the 2022 NHL Draft, New Jersey took Slovakian defenseman Šimon Nemec with the second overall pick while Columbus drafted David Jiříček, a Czech d-man with the sixth pick. Ottawa traded its first-round pick to Chicago for 40-goal scorer Alex DeBrincat. Together with Giroux, Ottawa has improved the most of the three hence why they now have the shortest odds among teams that opened at 100-1.
Chicago Joins Arizona at the Bottom
The Blackhawks may still have Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but the team could finally be headed for a full-blown rebuild. The team shipped away DeBrincat, its leading goal-scorer from last season. Chicago also shipped away Kirby Dach. DeBrincat and Dach combined for 104 points in 2021-22 leaving Chicago without two of their better forwards.
The post-NHL Free Agency odds then bumped Chicago’s outright line from 100-1 to 500-1 joining Arizona as the two worst teams in the NHL. This is a significant move considering the Blackhawks still have Kane, who had just 92 points. It’s unclear if Chicago will now start pursuing trades for him and Toews as the franchise remains a mess.
As for Arizona, the Coyotes have stayed quiet outside of drafting Logan Cooley with their third overall pick. Two other teams that also saw a lengthening of odds are San Jose and Seattle. The Sharks were also busy trading assets, most notably former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Brent Burns. Seattle drafted Shane Wright with the fourth overall pick and signed Andre Burakovsky though that has not moved them in the right direction.
A Bit Of Shuffling at The Top
As for the NHL’s elite, Colorado remains unmoved at the top of the outright board at +400 just like three weeks ago. The Avalanche lost Burakovsky and goaltender Darcy Kuemper but remains a potent team. Nazem Kadri is expected to re-sign with the team and the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Gabriel Landeskog will return.
Florida has moved up to join the Leafs, who lost goaltender Jack Campbell, as the favorites from the Eastern Conference. The Lightning lost Palat but re-upped Erik Černák, Anthony Cirelli, and Mikhail Sergachev meaning they are still more than a Stanley Cup threat.
The Oilers and Golden Knights trended in different directions with their offseason moves. Edmonton nabbed Campbell who could be a slight upgrade over Mike Smith in goal. The team also brought Evander Kane back. As for the Golden Knights, Vegas let go of another important player as they sent Max Pacioretty to the Hurricanes for virtually nothing (future considerations). Edmonton leapfrogged Vegas on the NHL betting odds.
Carolina also saw their outright odds shorten a bit with a pair of big moves. The Hurricanes lost Tony DeAngelo and Vincent Trocheck but got Burns and Pacioretty. On paper, Carolina improved as Burns and Pacioretty are more experienced All-Stars.
Calgary, who lost Gaudreau and Erik Gudbranson, saw their betting odds go up from 18-1 to 22-1. The Flames remain a contender though losing two key players will hurt their chances as the line movement indicates.Follow us on Twitter