To no one’s surprise, the Colorado Avalanche remain the kings as per the NHL futures betting odds. The defending Stanley Cup Champions lost a few key players but are still projected with the highest point total with 111.5. Jared Bednar’s crew can be counted on to dominate in the regular season as it remains a step ahead of the competition. And unlike the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference has a huge disparity between the contenders and the rest.
Fab Four: Colorado Leads Projected 100-Point Teams
The Avalanche, more or less, will be in the Presidents’ Trophy race. At least one team has hit the 110+ point mark (or has been on pace for it with the two shortened seasons) since after the 2004-05 NHL Lockout. The Avalanche re-signed Nathan MacKinnon and kept the main core intact. But losing the likes of Losing Nazem Kadri and Darcy Kuemper is a big deal.
Kadri left Colorado for a rival in the West: the Calgary Flames. Daryl Sutter’s crew is projected at 102.5 points, which puts them as the third-best team via the point totals. Calgary lost Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk but added Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau. The NHL futures betting odds see them being just as good as last season. The same can be said for their archnemesis: Edmonton.
The Oilers did not make any big moves in the offseason outside of signing Jack Campbell away from Toronto. The goaltender started the 2021-22 season on fire but fatigued down the stretch. If he can recapture his form from the early half of the season, the Oilers can do better than their 103.5-point projections.
Despite being eliminated in the first round, the Wild can only get better with its young core. Kirill Kaprizov solved his VISA issues and will be back with the team.
Last but not least are the Minnesota Wild. Despite being eliminated in the first round, the Wild can only get better with its young core. Kirill Kaprizov solved his VISA issues and will be back with the team while Marc-Andre Fleury, the future Hall of Famer, should be solid in goal. Minnesota is projected at 101.5 points, which puts them as fourth in the Western Conference NHL standing.
The Messy Middle: Expected Playoff Contenders
There are a slew of contenders listed at the 90-point range led by the Vegas Golden Knights at 97.5 This team was crippled by endless injuries last NHL season and it starts the 2022-23 season without its starting goaltender in Robin Lehner. The Knights also let Max Pacioretty go for virtually nothing. But if this team stays healthy, a 100-point season is possible though the public is fading it.
The Nashville Predators, who many believe overachieved last season, are right behind Vegas with 96.5 points. It may be hard for Roman Josi and Juuse Saros to replicate their award-worthy seasons. But their point totals are where they finished last year with 97.
In a similar spot are the Los Angeles Kings. This mixed crew of young stars and grizzled vets earned 99 points last season, the most since the 2015-16 season. Kevin Fiala has big shoes to fill in longtime winger, Dustin Brown’s retirement. Quinton Byfield should also see an expanded role. The 2020 second-overall pick had 10 points in 40 games last season.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues are expected to struggle more in 2022-23 partly due to the absence of starting netminder: Jordan Binnington. The Blues got 109 points last season but are projected at just 95.5, which puts them in danger of missing the playoffs. The last time St. Louis missed the playoffs (2017-18), the team had 94 points.
And finally, the Dallas Stars constitute the last of the 90-point teams with the NHL futures betting odds giving them 94.5 points. This is cutting it close for Dallas, which will have a new head coach for the fourth time in six seasons. Dallas has made consecutive playoff appearances just once in the last 14 seasons.
Which Teams Can Return to The Playoffs?
Now, this is where it gets a bit chaotic. We left the Vancouver Canucks at this part even if they are listed at 92.5 points. The book expects them to be a fringe playoff contender. Vancouver was on a 106-point pace when Bruce Boudreau took over the head coaching duties. Of his 11 full-season coaching stints, his teams have made the postseason 10 times.
Also looking to return to the playoffs are the Winnipeg Jets. The team had an embattled 2021-22 season thanks to Paul Maurice abruptly resigning from the team 29 games in.
Also looking to return to the playoffs are the Winnipeg Jets. The team had an embattled 2021-22 season thanks to Paul Maurice abruptly resigning from the team 29 games in. Now, the Jets have former Stars coach Rick Bowness in charge while the team will have a new captain for the first time since 2016. The 87.5 points won’t cut it. But Winnipeg has gone over their projected point totals in seven of their 10 seasons (not counting the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season).
A pair of Pacific Division teams are also in the hunt for the third and final playoff spot in the division. Seattle (81.5) and Anaheim (80.5) are unlikely to get there. Their estimated point totals are an improvement over last season but each team will need at least 95 points to solidify their hopes.
Anaheim signed John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov to bolster their thin defense while Seattle nabbed Andre Burakovsky from Colorado and drafted Shane Wright in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The Ducks have not made the playoffs since 2017-18 while Seattle is in its sophomore season as the league’s newest expansion team.
Three-Team Race to The Bottom?
While the Ducks and Kraken hope to contend, the San Jose Sharks are selling off assets as it finally embraces a rebuild. The Sharks traded away longtime defenseman Brent Burns and goaltender Adin Hill. Next up could be Erik Karlsson and even team captain Logan Couture. Projected at 74.5 points, it may be a popular play to bet the ‘under’ as San Jose “tanks”.
But the Sharks will have to catch up with the likes of Arizona and Chicago. Both teams will “contend” for the worst record in the league with 65.5 points each. Bettors are already hammering the under on their totals.
Arizona is already ahead of schedule with their NHL three best players all reportedly missing the season. On top of that, 20 of their first 24 games will be played on the road. This will be the worst opener of the NHL schedule 2022. Just ask the Islanders last season how a lengthy opening road trip felt (they missed the playoffs).
As for Chicago, the Blackhawks still have upper-tier talent in Patrick Kane and Seth Jones. But the team has begun a firesale of their assets including Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach. It is possible that we see Kane and/or longtime captain Jonathan Toews in different uniforms before the season ends.Follow us on Twitter