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NHL playoff odds 2020: A look into 1st-round series on Day 1

NHL playoff odds 2020: A look into 1st-round series on Day 1

The time has finally arrived — the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs are here and you can just feel the excitement in the air. The top 16 teams are set and ready to push toward the Final. 

With crazy upsets and twists among the qualifying round and round robin tournament, let’s take a look at the odds for each series on Day 1, per DraftKings. 

Blue Jackets-Lightning 

CBJ +185 — TB -225

It’s a reunion in the first round for the Blue Jackets and Lightning, as this will be the second consecutive season where the teams are meeting in the first round. 

As one of the biggest upsets in the 2018-19 playoffs, the President Trophy recipients were sent packing by a wild card team in sweeping fashion. The Lightning aren’t going down without a fight this time around and are looking for revenge in the sweetest way possible, a series win. 

The Blue Jackets lost numerous assets in the offseason, but that hasn’t stopped them from making yet another push in the playoffs. Will this new-looking squad be able to pull off another upset against one of the best in the league that has Nikita Kucherov and Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy? 

Flames-Stars 

CGY +100 — DAL -118 

The Stars bumped up their seeding by one in the round robin, finding themselves third in the west, while the Flames breezed by the Jets in four games in the qualifying round. 

Tyler Seguin, one of the Stars’ top players, is considered day-to-day after missing the final round robin game against the Blues. His return would be significant, but only if he finds a way to start contributing offensively. While that’s a fairly obvious statement, Seguin hasn’t recorded a point dating back to Feb. 29, so it’s important for him to start connecting. 

The Flames’ edge in this series looks to be special teams. They connected on the power play five times in the qualifying round (29.4%) and have been equally as impressive on the penalty kill (88.2%). 

Hurricanes-Bruins 

CAR +135 — BOS -159

A team that entered the return-to-play setting as the top in the east is now preparing to face the Hurricanes as the fourth seed. While a best-of-seven series is a much different scenario than the round robin tournament, the Bruins looked nothing short of lost in their opening three games — going 0-3 and only finding the back of he net four times. 

On the other hand, the Hurricanes are about to be a force. Granted, they had some time off following a sweep of their series against the Rangers, but it’s nothing much to worry about. The duo of Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho have been a force, combining for 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in only three games. 

If the Bruins can’t get that ‘perfection line’ of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak brewing early on, it’s going to be trouble for Boston. 

Blackhawks-Knights 

CHI +225 — VGS -315

The Blackhawks become a different team once the playoffs start — even entering them as the 12th seed in the west. After sending the 5th-seed Oilers packing after four games, it’s clear that they shouldn’t be overlooked — even though the odds in the first round make the Golden Knights look pretty favorable. 

Truth be told, Chicago just knows how to handle the playoffs — and that’s mainly due to the ample amount of experience over the past decade, with three Stanley Cups to show for it. 

The Golden Knights, though the most recent expansion team in the league — certainly hasn’t played like one. In the three seasons of their young franchise history, they’ve made it to the playoffs, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance in the inaugural season. With unfinished business, they look as driven as ever to add the Cup to their already impressive résumé.

Day 2 odds coming soon ...

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Source: Former Flyers prospect Wyatt Kalynuk to sign with Blackhawks

Source: Former Flyers prospect Wyatt Kalynuk to sign with Blackhawks

The Flyers' depth and prospects on the blue line make up an organizational strength.

In this one instance, that organizational strength probably didn't help the Flyers.

Wyatt Kalynuk, a prospect the Flyers lost exclusive rights to last month, will sign with the Blackhawks, a source confirmed Monday night.

The Athletic's Mark Lazerus first reported the news.

The 23-year-old defenseman is a skilled skater and puck mover out of Wisconsin. Kalynuk was a 2017 seventh-round draft pick of the Flyers, when Ron Hextall was general manager and Chris Pryor was director of player personnel. In three years with the Badgers, the 6-foot-1, 189-pound Kalynuk developed into an offensive-minded, push-the-envelope blueliner.

"He’s got special offensive ability that other defensemen don’t have," Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato said in March. "He’s confident, his skating ability allows him to be able to have opportunities offensively that other players won’t have and he can beat the first forechecker.

“He was our go-to offensive defenseman, he got the most minutes on the power play, he was the guy we wanted the puck to go through. He’s an elite offensive defenseman that has the ability to run a power play. We asked a lot of him."

The Flyers are pretty deep and young on the blue line, which we noted would likely factor into Kalynuk's decision. Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Robert Hagg and Mark Friedman are all 25 years old or younger. And then there are prospects Egor Zamula, Wyatte Wylie and Linus Hogberg, all three of whom are turning pro in 2020-21, while 2019 first-round pick Cam York isn't far behind.

The Flyers certainly were open to signing Kalynuk; they didn't want to lose him as he has grown into a defenseman with NHL potential, a prospect that suits their style at the position. But he was an older seventh-round pick who developed and earned himself options at the pro level. The Flyers were an option with noticeable depth at Kalynuk's position.

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Broad Street Bullies era snubbed from making this NHL Stanley Cup ranking

Broad Street Bullies era snubbed from making this NHL Stanley Cup ranking

The “45 years,” jokes about the last time the Flyers won the Stanley Cup are overused and frankly — have never been funny. With nine of the current 31 NHL teams still without a cup and the powerhouse team that was the Broad St. Bullies who had two, things never added up. 

Well, they still don’t. 

Thursday afternoon, the NHL released a super 16 ranking of the best teams to ever win the Stanley Cup — and guess who shockingly didn’t make the cut? 

Even though it has been decades since a championship parade for the Flyers had a route down Broad St., that era of the team is one for the ages and rightfully deserves some respect. 

Both the 1974 and 1975 teams have strong cases to have made this list, so let’s break it down. 

The Boston Bruins were a force in the 1970s, appearing in the Stanley Cup Final five times. One of the biggest factors into that was having Hall-of-Famer and NHL legend, Bobby Orr on their side. 

With finishing first in the league with 113 points, just slightly edging out the Flyers (112 points) and Orr finishing the regular season second overall in the in points with 122, they were the team to beat.

The Flyers did just that and had the last laugh.  

Now, on to the thrilling 1974-75 team. Philadelphia was coming off of their first Stanley Cup victory in franchise history, were still a hot threat across the league and ready to try and do it all over again. 

They were a force to be reckoned with and went into the playoffs high and mighty as top dogs in first place with 113 points. With Bernie Parent holding down the fort between the pipes and Bobby Clarke reaching his second of three 100-point seasons of his career — they were ready to defend their title against the Buffalo Sabres. 

After Game 6 in the Final, the Flyers were able to hold on to Lord Stanley for their second straight year. Doing so, they became the first of the 1967 expansion teams to win in back-to-back seasons. 

And you mean to tell me neither of these teams made this ranking? It’s preposterous.

To make this ranking wound even deeper — there are three teams that beat the Flyers in the Final that did make the cut. 

First up are the 1984-85 and 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers — a team that has every right to be on this list. You can never go against the greatest of all time in Wayne Gretzky, especially during the prime of his career. The Oilers were in the midst of what would be a decade with five cup victories. 

Second comes the 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens. The two previous cup victories from the Flyers helped break up one of — if not, the most successful — decade a team in any professional league has seen with the Canadiens, who won six titles in the 1970s. 

The third team is simply cruel, if you ask me — sneaking in the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks at the bottom as if no one would notice. Well, we noticed … and are now going to have nightmares about that absurd overtime goal for the next week because of it. 

Just show some respect for the Bullies who helped pave the way of the NHL. It’s all we ask for. 

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