Things could look much different in the Atlantic Division with the Boston Bruins – fresh off a record-breaking season – the Tampa Bay Lightning and Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers all seeing their NHL odds change due to salary-cap-forced deals.
The biggest question is whether this is the season when the young Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens defy the NHL predictions with strong showings during the regular season. The Toronto Maple Leafs certainly made an attempt to get tougher.
Atlantic Division: Offseason Outlook
- Key Signings: LW James van Riemsdyk, LW Milan Lucic, C Morgan Geekie, D Kevin Shattenkirk
- Top Draft Pick: C Chris Pelosi
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +1200
The biggest question in Boston is whether veteran centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will retire or return for one more run at the Stanley Cup. Once their intentions become official, that will make the NHL betting lines move significantly for a team that just set NHL records with wins and points during the regular season.
The players picked up at the trading deadline (wingers Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway and defenseman Dmitry Orlov) were not brought back. Winger Taylor Hall was traded away in a salary-cap-cutting move, with defenseman Connor Clifton also moving on. The additions of Lucic and van Riemsdyk will be worth watching.
Toronto Maple Leafs
- Key Signings: C Max Domi, LW Tyler Bertuzzi, D John Klingberg
- Top Draft Pick: RW Easton Cowan
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +1200
Tired of seeing other teams in the division make strong playoff pushes, Toronto is going for it this offseason, with Domi and Bertuzzi added up front and Klingberg giving Toronto another puck-moving defenseman.
They also added physical winger Ryan Reaves as the Maple Leafs look to become harder to play against.
There are plenty of questions about forward William Nylander as he is asking for quite the contract.
🖊 We’ve signed forward Ryan Reaves to a three-year contract
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 1, 2023
Tampa Bay Lightning
- Key Signings: D Calvin de Haan, LW Conor Sheary
- Top Draft Pick: RW Ethan Gauthier
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +1400
After keeping the team together for playoff runs, times are changing with forwards Ross Colton, Alex Killorn, Patrick Maroon and Corey Perry all heading elsewhere.
Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy will continue to be the faces of the Lightning franchise. Still, the Lightning aren’t viewed in the same way in the eyes of those who bet online.
- Key Signings: LW Evan Rodrigues, D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D Niko Mikkola
- Top Draft Pick: C Gracyn Sawchyn
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +1600
Florida had some salary cap issues to contend with after its surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final. Physical defenseman Radko Gudas was not re-signed, and winger Anthony Duclair was traded.
Ekman-Larsson and Mikkola could factor into a defensive corps that could look a little different. Goalie of the future Spencer Knight is expected to return after a trying 2022-23 season.
- Key Signings: D Connor Clifton, D Erik Johnson
- Top Draft Picks: LW Zachary Benson, C Anton Wahlberg, Maxim Strbak
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +4000
The focus with the Sabres is keeping the young squad together. An effort was made to improve the group of defensemen, so perhaps Clifton and Johnson will battle it out to be part of the top four.
With so many high draft picks in recent years, look for some of those players to make an impact sooner rather than later.
- Key Signings: G Joonas Korpisalo
- Top Draft Picks: N/A
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +5000
The Ottawa team will look very similar to the one that took to the ice a season ago.
Keeping everybody healthy will be crucial, while Korpisalo will be part of the goalie rotation as the Senators look to strengthen that position.
It was strange seeing Ottawa with no picks in the top 100, considering how busy the Senators have been in recent drafts.
Detroit Red Wings
- Key Signings: C J.T. Compher, G James Reimer, RW Christian Fischer, C Klim Kostin
- Top Draft Picks: C Nate Danielson, D Alex Sandin-Pellika, G Trey Augustine, D Andrew Gibson, D Brady Cleveland
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +8000
Detroit was pretty active in free agency as the Red Wings look to become relevant again.
Compher should make an immediate impact, while time will tell what the impact will be of the other new acquisitions. Will Reimer make a difference between the pipes?
Detroit had five picks in the top 50 in the draft, but don’t look for any of them in the NHL this season.
- Key Signings: LW-C Alex Newhook, C Lias Andersson
- Top Draft Pick: D David Reinbacher
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +25000
The Canadiens re-signed winger Rafael Harvey-Pinard after he scored 14 goals in 34 games as a rookie. Newhook gives Montreal another young piece to work with as the Canadiens look to continue rebuilding their roster. Plenty of eyes will be on last year’s top overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky.