The Boston Bruins may have some of the longest odds to win the Atlantic Division in the 2022-23 NHL season. But if you ask us at 985TheSportsHub.com, we’d tell you they may be worth a speculative bet.
Ty Anderson and I discussed the Bruins and their division at length as part of the newest episode of the Sports Hub Underground podcast. Check out a clip of our thoughts on the Atlantic above, with the full podcast down below.
As of Thursday, the Bruins are +1100 to win the Atlantic Division at the DraftKings Sportsbook. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the current favorite at +170. It’s probably going to take a major injury or transaction involving a star player for the odds to move before the start of the season, at this point.
Boston has the fourth-best odds to win the Atlantic, overall. But they’re a steep drop-off from the Maple Leafs, Panthers, and Lightning. Here are the full Atlantic Division odds:
Tampa Bay +300 Boston +1100
Jan 12, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) celebrates his goal with defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) and left wing Tomas Nosek (92) during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
To be certain, Ty is by no means saying the Bruins are a lock to win the Atlantic. He just likes the +1100, and the idea of maybe throwing a few bucks down on it. Don’t throw your whole bank account at it.
But don’t scoff at the idea that the B’s are something of a dark horse in the division. There are obvious favorites to rank above them entering the season, but they all have question marks of their own. And, while the Bruins didn’t necessarily get significantly better in the off-season, they did get a little better. They didn’t get worse.
Here’s a quick look at the other key teams in the Atlantic Division, and what could derail their journey to first place.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Thinning Roster
Mar 24, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) awaits a pass in front of Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Expect the hangover to finally set in for the Lightning in 2022-23. They lost Ondrej Palat to free agency in the off-season, with no clear replacement for what was a key cog in the Tampa Bay machine that won two consecutive Stanley Cups and made a third straight Final. They also traded defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators, in what was essentially a salary dump.
If the Lightning can’t continue to find stars and/or core players in the middle rounds of the draft, like they did in building their Cup wagon, they’ll trend toward where the Bruins have found themselves in recent years. Can’t expect Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy to carry an otherwise average roster all the way.
Florida Panthers: Chemistry
Apr 26, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Captains, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) and Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) battle for the puck on a face-off during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Tkachuk is expected to put the Panthers over the top for a Stanley Cup run. Their core of Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov, and Aaron Ekblad should be Cup-caliber. But beyond giving up Jonathan Huberdeau in the Tkachuk trade, they also traded defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, who finished 14th in Norris Trophy voting last season.
Ekblad didn’t seem happy about losing Weegar as a teammate, and the Panthers as a team remain unproven as a championship contender. So their overall chemistry will be something to watch after their major roster shakeup.
Ottawa Senators: Defense
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 09: Logan Shaw #20 of the Ottawa Senators defends Craig Smith #12 of the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden on November 09, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Ottawa could be something of a trendy pick for bettors at +2800, after they made significant off-season additions in forwards Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat, and goaltender Cam Talbot. But on the back end, they find themselves in a similar spot to the Bruins: not great depth behind Thomas Chabot. If they continue to come up short in the division, it’ll likely be because of a thin blue line.
Elsewhere, the Red Wings, Canadiens, and Sabres have a lot to prove before they can be considered among the teams mentioned above.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Goaltending
Nov 6, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins forward Taylor Hall (71) deflects the puck past Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell (36) for a goal in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto may boast the league’s most dynamic goal scorer in Auston Matthews (league-leading 60 goals last season) and should remain among the best offensive teams in the league. But their tenuous goaltending situation could be their ultimate undoing.
Matt Murray has posted a 2.92 goals against average and .907 save percentage over the last four seasons, while Ilya Samsonov had an ugly 3.33/.896 line in 2021-22. That doesn’t seem like division-caliber goaltending, let alone Cup-caliber.
(1:00) Bruins topics include Fabian Lysell and other standouts at rookie camp, Zdeno Chara’s appearance in Boston, and possible in-season trade ideas.
(20:54) Could the Bruins actually have a chance to win their division? Matt & Ty discuss the competition and why it may not be as strong as people think.
(33:52) Matt gives his thoughts on the Patriots’ disappointing Week 1 loss, and the guys discuss the baffling Kendrick Bourne situation.
(59:02) More thoughts on Week 1 of the NFL season and a look ahead to Patriots-Steelers in Week 2.
(1:08:32) The guys pick their “Big 3” jersey numbers they’d want to wear.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.