NHL Betting Preview: Canada’s Best Three Hopes
After starting the 2021-22 season as the Stanley Cup favourites, the Colorado Avalanche delivered on their odds and brought home the hardware at the expense of the Tampa Bay Lightning. This marked the 29th year since a Canadian team has won the Cup despite three teams north of the border making the postseason. The last Canadian team to win the Cup was the 1993 Montreal Canadiens, let’s take a look if the rot can be stopped with Bodog’s NHL betting preview of all things Canada.
The Canadiens (+15000) aren’t expected to be in the mix this season. They’re in year 2 of a rebuild and will be eager to see if their first draft pick, Juraj Slafkovsky, pays dividends in his rookie campaign. Canada’s best hope to contend for the Cup in 2023, according to the NHL odds, will be with the following three Canadian teams.
NHL Betting Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs +700
Expectations have been high in Toronto since they started the Auston Matthews era in 2016-17. The Leafs’ top-heavy forward corps ensures that their offence will be among the NHL’s best; last season they had the second-most productive offence in the league. Matthews, who had a career best 60-goal, 46-assist season, was awarded his first Hart Trophy. However, Matthews’ heroics were not quite enough for Toronto to get the monkey off their back and progress past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs —the last time they accomplished this was in 2004 when they lost in the conference semi-finals to Philadelphia.
Toronto’s talent beyond Matthews includes Mitch Marner, who was 10th in the league in points (97) last season—a career-best for the right winger. Over on the blue line, the team’s brass locked down their top defenseman Morgan Rielly, who plays more time on the ice than anyone else on the team, with an eight-year $60 million extension. Their team captain John Tavares had an incredible 76-point season last year, but he’s at risk of missing the first game of the regular season after suffering a muscle strain in an exhibition game. As for William Nylander, he’ll be extra motivated to play well since he’s entering Year 5 of his six-year contract; he’ll be eligible for extension this upcoming summer.
If Toronto’s goaltending were as consistent as their top forward line, they could quite possibly be at the top of our NHL betting preview and futures market. Goaltending has always been a contentious topic with the Maple Leafs and this upcoming season they will have a completely different goalie makeup. In the offseason, Jack Campbell signed a five-year $25 million contract with Edmonton and backup Petr Mrazek left for the Chicago Blackhawks. To replace them, the Leafs acquired Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray. Who gets the starting gig is up in the air. With Murray signed to a two-year contract and Samsonov on a one-year deal, the risk is low and management has the freedom and flexibility to make changes if the new plan proves ineffective. Murray has lost form since his glory with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017, but Toronto is keen to bring it back out after his dark times with the Ottawa Senators.
NHL Betting Preview: Edmonton Oilers +1400
Edmonton Oilers fans have a lot to be hopeful for this upcoming season. They managed to get to the Conference Finals last postseason with their top-seven offence. Unfortunately, they were significantly outmatched when they met Colorado in the playoffs due to their mediocre defence and 39-year-old goaltender Mike Smith.
The Mikko Koskinen-Mike Smith goaltending tandem has come to an end. Koskinen left the league to play in Switzerland this season and Mike Smith, now 40, has had trouble maintaining composure in postseason play. The team signed Toronto’s former goalie Jack Campbell to a five-year, $25 million contract and is hoping to get Campbell to return to his elite form that petered off in the latter half of last season.
Fortunately for the Oilers, having Connor McDavid up front relieves pressure from a less-than-perfect goaltending situation. The two-time Hart Memorial trophy winner had a career-season in 2021-22, scoring 44 goals and registering 79 assists. The Oilers will go as far as McDavid will take them and hopefully their goaltending can improve from last season. They are a popular pick in our NHL betting preview.
NHL Betting Preview: Calgary Flames +1500
Calgary leaned on their No. 3 defence last season to get them to the postseason after missing out the year before. They beat the Dallas Stars in the first round and then were matched up with their provincial rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, in the second round. Unfortunately, they managed just one win in the five-game series and bowed out earlier than expected.
Much of Calgary’s defensive dominance came from goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who had a remarkable season that was capped off with the fifth-best goals against average in the league (2.22). Markstrom was a finalist for the Vezina and he’ll be back between the pipes for Calgary this season.
At the opposite side of the ice, major changes have come from several offseason trades – none more significant than their star forward Johnny Gaudreau leaving for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaudreau is coming off of a record season with the Flames that includes 40 goals scored and 75 assists. Despite Calgary trying everything within their power to keep him, he signed a seven-year contract worth $68.25 million with Columbus and will hang up his Calgary jersey after nine years.
The Flames will also be without franchise player Matthew Tkachuk, who stated that he wouldn’t be resigning with the team and requested a trade. Management sent him and a conditional fourth-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, a prospect and a first-round pick in 2025. Continuing forward on that momentum, Calgary brought in Nazem Kadri, who is coming off of a career-best season with 59 assists and 87 points. Kadri signed a seven-year, $49 million contract with the Flames.
NHL Crypto Betting
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