NHL Atlantic Division Preview: A Look at How The 2022-2023 Season Could Shake Down

Toronto Betting favorite to Win Division

NHL Atlantic Division Preview: Another Presidents Cup Trophy winner goes down early in the postseason when the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the current Atlantic Division champion Florida Panthers in the second round. Head Coach Andrew Brunette was not asked back, paving the way for Paul Maurice to take over. Boston is hoping to make one more deep run in the postseason with Patrice Bergeron back along with David Krejci. The Leafs are the odds-on favorites while everyone else in the division has made strides to become better in what will be an incredibly competitive division.

Opening Night

Toronto Maple Leafs (54-21-7, 115 points)

  • Division Odds: +175
  • Conferece Odds: +450
  • Stanley Cup Odds: +1000
  • Season Projected Points: 107.5 (over -130)

Continuing our NHL Atlantic Division preview: Let the talk begin about the Toronto Maple Leafs’ inability to find success in the postseason. Toronto has now lost six straight times in the opening round of the playoffs but when you have a core that includes Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares; a quick analysis of NHL statistics tells you that they own one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. Just like last year like last year, there are goaltending questions.

Jack Campbell signed with the Edmonton Oilers, replaced by Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov. Murray, who is trying to regain the form that made him a 2-time cup winner in Pittsburgh, is no stranger to the NHL injury report playing in just 20 games last season in Ottawa. Murray is 15-25-3 over his last two seasons.

Samsonov owned a .896 save percentage last season with the Washington Capitals along with a 23-12-5 record.  Defensemen Morgan Rielly signed an 8-year deal over the offseason, he’ll anchor a defensive unit that was often criticized for how they played in front of Campbell and Petr Mrazek. Tavares and Jordie Benn will not be available to start the season.

One interesting note, the Leafs are favored to win the division but Tampa has better Stanley Cup odds, tells you exactly what the oddsmakers think of Toronto’s postseason chances.

Florida Panthers (58-18-6, 122 points)

  • Division Odds: +185
  • Conference Odds: +450
  • Stanley Cup Odds: +1000
  • Season Projected Points: 105.5 (-115)

The Florida Panthers were disappointed by last season’s early exit, but the defending Presidents Cup winner didn’t stand pat over the offseason. GM Bill Zito won the Matthew Tkachuk sweepstakes while bringing in former Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice to give that veteran presence behind the bench that they felt they lacked with interim Andrew Brunette.

To get firepower sometimes you have to give something up, and the Panthers did just that with the loss of fan favorite Jonathan Huberdeau in addition to MacKenzie Weegar and deadline acquisition Claude Giroux. From a betting perspective, the Panthers were the most profitable team in the NHL over the last two seasons with a 95-43 record, good for 1507 units of profit.

As a favorite in that span, the cats are 84-30 (.737) +1557 units. In case you’re wondering about Maurice and how he stacks up against the number in his career, the first-year Panthers coach is 204-168-1 since 2017-18, good for a 1,205 unit profit. Last season was the first time since 2016-17 that his team didn’t turn a profit for bettors.

Tampa Bay Lightning (51-23-8, 110 points)

  • Division Odds: +275
  • Conference Odds: +400
  • Stanley Cup Odds:+900
  • Season Projected Points: 107.5 (Over -130)

Bettors are in the same boat this season as they were last. Two years ago the Lightning had to replace an entire third line while dealing with various injuries. A healthy Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov will go a long way in determining how far into the postseason the Lightning will go.

Head Coach Jon Cooper will once again have to figure out new line combinations with the loss of Ryan McDonagh (Nashville) and Ondrej Palat (New Jersey). There was a valuable lesson to be learned from last season, no matter how unreliable the Lightning looked during the regular season at times, never count out a team that has the experience and arguably the world’s top goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy.

No matter how much success the Lightning have had, be careful when betting on Tampa during the regular season. Since 2021, Tampa is 87-51 (.630) but still has failed to turn a profit with -438 units lost. The playoffs are where the Lightning do their most damage against the books, winning 95 of their last 157 NHL playoff matchups while turning a 2172 unit profit.

Boston Bruins (51-26-5, 107 points)

  • Division Odds: +800
  • Conference Odds: +1400
  • Stanley Cup Odds: +2800
  • Season Projected Points: 94.5 (over -125)

Where to start with the Boston Bruins? Boston lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round last year after failing to win a game on the road. Changes were going to be made. Let’s start at the top when team president Cam Neely and good friend/general manager Don Sweeney decided it was time for head coach Bruce Cassidy to take his talents elsewhere.

They bring in former Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery who won an NCAA National Title in 2016-17 with the Denver Pioneers. Montgomery has a checkered past (Fired for alcohol abuse by Stars) but has a talented roster returning or at least will return.

Four-time all-star Brad Marchand will not be back in the line-up until late November at the earliest. When he does return how long will it take to for him to return to full strength after double hip surgery? In addition, Defensemen Charlie McAvoy will not return until early December after shoulder surgery.

Then there was the drama of whether Patrice Bergeron would return or retire. Cassidy leaving for Vegas helped Bergeron put off retirement for at least one more season. That opened the door for former Boston Bruin, David Krejci, to return. If this team can keep it together until after the first of the year they’ll be dangerous in the East. That’s a big if and their lack of consistent quality goaltending is a major problem.

Ottawa Senators (33-42-7, 73 points)

  • Division Odds: +2200
  • Conference Odds: +3000
  • Stanley Cup Odds: +6000
  • Season Projected Points: 86.5 (-115)

The five-year drought of not making the postseason may not come to an end this season, but the future is bright after a terrific offseason. In, are veterans Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat to play with newly signed Tim Stutzle, who is likely one of the NHL best players you’ve never heard of.

The chemistry on what will be their second line should be a terrific compliment to their top line of Josh Norris, Brady Tkachuk, and Drake Batherson. You start rebuilding by having a top six that can carry a team on most nights.

Going deep into the postseason is predicated on a team’s quality of depth and that’s what the Senators have to work on next. It seems as if Defensemen Thomas Chabot is on the ice for all 60 minutes most nights, 26 to be exact. Depth is talked about most when you’re talking about forward scoring, but for the Sens to be in the playoff discussion, they must find someone to compliment Chabot. Over the last five seasons, bettors have lost 3008 units (138-235) betting Ottawa. Perhaps pump the brakes on betting the Sens until they prove to be reliable.

Detroit Red Wings (32-40-10, 74 points)

  • Division Odds: +2500
  • Conference Odds: +2800
  • Stanley Cup Odds: +5000
  • Season Projected Points: 84.5 (-115)

The rebuild has taken longer than most thought it would in the Motor City after missing the postseason for the sixth straight season in 21-22. Beforehand, Detroit made the playoffs 25 straight seasons and 30 of the last 32. One could make the assumption that in order for this franchise to sniff the playoffs this year they must be a tougher team to play against.

On most nights few teams had fear going into Little Caesars Arena, that was not the case when the Wings played at the Joe. Detroit was 18-23 (-565 units) last season at home, adding to the drought for hometown bettors. Taking out the Covid season, Detroit is 259-252 at home, but that cost bettors 4640 units.

Only the Edmonton Oilers have been worse at home (-6133 units) at home. Lack of grit and toughness can be measured by their five-on-five goals allowed (3.04/60), the fourth worse in the league.

Playoff teams keep the opposition to the perimeter on a consistent basis while limiting center ice drives to the net. New Wings include Ben Chiarot (Panthers), Andrew Copp (Rangers), and Olli Maatta (Kings).

Buffalo Sabres (32-39-11, 75 points)

  • Division Odds: +6600
  • Conference Odds: +5000
  • Stanley Cup Odds: +10000
  • Season Projected Points: 77.5 (-115)

Concluding our NHL Atlantic Division Preview: There is light at the end of the tunnel for the Buffalo Sabres. Young players like Owen Power and Jack Quinn give the Sabres hopeful a reason to go back to the KeyBank Center after finishing next to last in the league with just 53.7% of their seats sold. Only Ottawa was worse with 47.8% sold.

The franchise won’t come close to the league-leading Vegas Golden Knights (104.2% capacity) but they’re closer with Owens and Quinn in addition to former Golden Knights, Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs acquired in the Jack Eichel trade.

Buffalo, who have not made the postseason since 2011, is 306-522 since their last postseason appearance, causing bettors 10,349 units, almost 2600 units worse than the next closest team (New Jersey -7789 units). The franchise is on the right path but bettors should wait until they prove that they’re turning around a ten-year trend.

Montreal Canadiens (22-49-11, 55 points)

  • Division Odds: +10000
  • Conference Odds: +8000
  • Stanley Cup Odds: +15000
  • Season Projected Points: 71.5 (over -130)

Let’s see what head Coach Martin St, Louis can do with a full camp and a full season.. Last year, the first-year head coach took over for Dominique Ducharme and led the Canadiens to a 14-19-4 record, which doesn’t look good on paper but it was a major improvement over the team’s 8-30-7 start.

The locker room morale improved compelling GM Kent Hughes to offer St. Louis a 3-year deal. They’ll head into this season with a brand new captain, Nick Suzuki, and a new offensive weapon in Sean Monahan who has three 30-goal seasons to his credit. Management also thinks they can get more out of the newly acquired Kirby Dach (Chicago) who likely was desperate for a change in scenery.

They still have massive quotations in goal, as they’ve had for years after Carey Price was placed on LTIR. With Price seemingly lost for the season, the Canadiens will rely on Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault.

Last year was a nice story for St. Louis, but a new voice in the room can only take you so far until you have to prove you can beat the top teams in the league through old fashion X’s and O’s. I think St. Louis will be out coached for most of the year while Montreal struggles to stay out of the basement of the Atlantic.

Predicted Order Of Finish

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs
  2. Florida Panthers
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning
  4. Ottawa Senators
  5. Boston Bruins
  6. Buffalo Sabres
  7. Detroit Red Wings
  8. Montreal Canadiens
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