Remember that scene in the movie, “Miracle” when Coach Herb Brooks is threatening to bench starting goalie, Jimmy Craig. They are arguing about the psychology tests Herb had the team take; yet, Jimmy refused. Jimmy says “You want me to take your test, I’ll take your test” and Herb responds with “No, I want that kid in the net who wouldn’t take the test.” That has absolutely nothing to do with this article but that scene really gets me going!
When we look back on this season the Atlantic division will be the opposite of the ending of the Miracle hockey team. There is quite literally no chance of an underdog winning this division. If you plan on betting on anyone besides the Lighting or Maple Leafs, honestly, please donate that money to charity because the bottom of this division is REALLY FUCKING BAD and the top is REALLY FUCKING GOOD.
Let’s take a quick run through the bottom of this garbage pile and get it out of the way so we don’t waste our time.
If you bet on these teams you are a sucker who deserves to lose their money
Ottawa Senators (+5800) – They just traded away the best player on a team that finished with 67 points which was good for the second worst record in the NHL, so what I am saying is, this team has no fucking shot of winning the division.
Detroit Red Wings (+4000) – A bad team in a top-heavy division that didn’t do much of anything to improve themselves. They finished last season with a measly 73 points, hard pass.
Montreal Canadians (+3000) – The Max Pacioretty drama has finally come to an end with him being shipped off to Vegas but unfortunately for the Canadians this doesn’t help them become a better team. Thus, they have no chance of winning this division. With that said, a full season from Carey Price should help them improve on their 71 point total from last season.
Good just not good enough
Buffalo Sabers (+2800) –Finally, a team in this division that is looking to improve by ADDING talent, what a fucking concept. They had the 1st pick in this year’s draft and they didn’t screw it up because Rasmus Dahlin is a stud and should improve a poor defense which allowed 280 goals against last season (sheeeeesh). They also went out and got a scorer in forward Jeff Skinner from Carolina which could help bring the Sabers out of the cellar and maybe even competing for a wild card spot, but in this top-heavy division it doesn’t do nearly enough to have them fighting for a title.
Florida Panthers (+1000) – The panthers are the classic definition of an OK team. Another roster that is a borderline playoff team and just went out there and didn’t do nearly enough to put them over the top in the division. Will Barkov and company compete for a wild card spot? Yes. Will they win the division? Nope.
Really good, just not good enough
Boston Bruins (+175) – The Bruins seems to be that kid in pickup basketball that doesn’t have the most skill but was athletic and tries harder than the other kids so he was always one of the better players, just not the best. They went all in last year by completing a blockbuster to acquire Rick Nash from the Rangers but after being ousted in the 2nd round by the Lightning in 5 games, they seem to be primed for a 3rd place finish in the Atlantic. They were unable to keep Nash, who is considering retirement and failed to upgrade enough to keep pace with the Lightning and Maple Leafs.
Hottest in the Office
Toronto Maple Leafs (-105) – Vegas has them as the favorites and I sure as shit won’t hold it against them, this team is really fucking good. Last year the Leafs collected 105 points in a season in which star center and future American hero, Auston Matthews missed 20 games due to injury. They were also able to capture the crown jewel of this year’s free agent class in center, John Tavares, which gives them as good of a top 6 as anyone in the NHL. In a top heavy division, it isn’t hard to imagine this team with 115 points which would normally be good enough for a division title….
Tampa Bay Lightning (Even) – “You my friend would be da belle of da ball.” The way Michael Scott looks at Ryan as he tells him he would be a snack in prison is me looking at the Lightning roster this season. We finally got a full season together with Stamkos and Kucherov and they did not disappoint with 86 and 100 points, respectively. If Brayden Point can improve on his breakout season, plus a full season with JT miller should help strengthen and lengthen this already potent Tampa offense. What puts this team over the top is their defense: Hedman, McDonagh, Stralman, Sergachev, Girardi, Coburn. That’s the best defensive unit in the Eastern Conference and I don’t think it’s very close. The Leafs added Tavares but in the end, it won’t be enough to pass the Lightning who will be giving their GM a goodbye gift on his way into retirement.
If you are going to bet this division, don’t expect any excitement from a dark horse winning their division like the Golden Knights did last season. However, if you want to place a bet on either the Leafs or the Lightning with 50/50 odds and will come down to the final few games of the regular season, this is the perfect spot for you.
*PS* The Lightning play the Leafs in their second to last game of the season on April 4th and the safest bet of the year is that game is going to mean something.