In the NFL, the NFC East is known as the NFC Least.
Well, the same cannot be said of the NHL’s East Division. Instead, it’s quite the beast.
Because of COVID-19, the league’s divisions have been revamped for 2020-21. All teams are scheduled to play a 56-game schedule this season beginning Jan. 13, with the Stanley Cup Final ending in early July. That’s quite a six-month sprint to the finish.
In the newly-formed East Division, the Bruins are the favorite at +275, with the Flyers hot on their trail as the second choice with odds of +325 ($10 bet to win $32.50). Out of all four realigned divisions, the Bruins have the highest odds to win their respective group.
Boston won the Presidents’ Trophy last season as the team with the most points in the regular season. Add in familiar division foes like the Penguins, Capitals and Islanders, who ousted the Flyers in the playoffs, and points will be at a premium.
As for the odds to take home Lord Stanley’s Cup, the Avalanche are the favorites at +700, while the Flyers have the sixth-best odds at +1600 ($10 bet to win 160). What a difference a season makes for the orange and black. Entering the 2019-20 campaign, the Flyers’ odds to win the title were around +3200.
The defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights have the second-best odds at +800.
If the Flyers are going to end their Stanley Cup drought, then the guy between the pipes will need to be standing on his head. In this case, the focus is on 22-year-old goaltender Carter Hart. Hart’s goals-against average dipped from 2.83 to 2.42 in his second season and that has caught the oddsmakers’ eyes.
Hart has the third-best odds (+1000: $10 bet to win $100), along with his idol Carey Price of the Canadiens, to take home the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender. The favorite is Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy at +600. He took home the Vezina back in 2018-19. Last season’s winner, Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck, is second at +700.
Now Hart is a long shot to win the league’s most valuable player that ironically bears his name, the Hart Trophy. However, if he were to accomplish the feat, he currently has odds of +6000 ($10 bet to win $600) to earn the league’s highest honor. Furthermore, only four players in league history have ever won the Hart and Vezina trophies in the same season. The last coming in 2014-15 when Hart’s idol Price captured both awards.
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