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Quarterfinal Exits: Finding Value in Next Season’s NHL Futures

None of the four quarterfinal losers in the Eastern Conference playoffs is a sure bet to return to the postseason in 2024-25.

All four had strong stretches during the regular season, but only one made it past Game 5 in the first round. Weaknesses have to be addressed and some important decisions must be made with contracts.

Quarterfinal Exits: Finding Value in Next Season's NHL Futures
Chris Tanev #3 of the Dallas Stars/Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs have the best core to their rosters but must deal with salary cap concerns. Coaches Spencer Carbery of the Washington Capitals and Patrick Roy of the New York Islanders did solid jobs to get those teams into the playoffs.

Where each will go from here is a summer project. When all is settled before training camp in September, expect the Lightning to have the lowest NHL futures odds if they can keep their captain in the locker room.


Stars Make Lightning Good Bet

Tampa Bay had as many as five future Hall of Fame players in the lineup this season. The question is, will they have four or five of them back?

Captain Steven Stamkos is an unrestricted free agent and general manager Julien Brisebois is determined to sign him. But what will the price and term be? There’s no doubt that both sides want a deal done, which makes it a good bet to be worked out.

— Chris Krenn (@Chris_Krenn) May 1, 2024

Nikita Kucherov was +2500 in Las Vegas NHL odds to win the Hart Trophy before the season, putting up a league-high 144 points. Brayden Point, Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Brandon Hagel had at least 75.

The Bolts can score and still have a Conn Smythe-winning goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy. If their backers are to cash a lot of bets next season, they will need to be better than 22nd in goals-against.

Mikhail Sergachev’s return from injury will help. But Brisebois must decide where to go after Hedman, Sergachev, and Erik Cernak on defense.


Roy Makes Isles Value Bet

The Hall of Fame goalie gave the Islanders some life after taking over as coach. It will be interesting to see what Roy does with a full season at the helm.

New York needs to be better than 22nd in the league in scoring and that may take some tinkering with the roster. Long-time fourth-liners Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck are UFAs and Brock Nelson (34 goals) has one year left on his deal.

Mathew Barzal put up a team-high 80 points and defenseman Noah Dobson finished with 70, but they need more depth in scoring after Nelson and Bo Horvat.

Ilya Sorokin will surely find his game after a disappointing season (.909 save percentage) that ended up on the bench most of the playoffs. The Isles are a difficult call for your sports betting going forward, though.


Tough for Caps to Repeat

Carbery did a Jack Adams-worthy job getting Washington to the playoffs after many thought it could be an Eastern Conference doormat.

The former Toronto assistant coach made the Caps a tougher defensive team much of the season and goalie Charlie Lindgren was outstanding with a career-high 25 wins and a .911 SP, beating out Cup-winning goalie Darcy Kuemper.

Alex Ovechkin turned it on late to finish with 31 goals, moving within 41 of Wayne Gretzky for the all-time record of 894. But the key to the Caps matching their 2023-24 form is progress from young players.

Connor McMichael (18 goals) has emerged. The focus is finding more offense to infuse around Ovechkin that helps Washington improve from 28th in the league in scoring. The Caps are probably a bet against in 2024-25.

Leafs Must Recover… Again

It has become a rite of spring in Toronto. The Maple Leafs must lick their wounds after another crushing playoff loss.

Toronto rallied from 3-1 down, took a lead in the third period, and lost in overtime at Boston in Game 7 on Saturday. Injuries hampered the Leafs, but they showed a lot of guts to fight back only to enter another offseason with questions. Retool or tear it up?

Auston Matthews scored 69 goals, William Nylander had 98 points and Mitch Marner added 85. Toronto can score and young players like Nick Robertson and Matthew Knies are going to get better. The over is always a good bet at the sportsbook with the Leafs.

The questions are on defense overall with five UFAs, and in net where they must decide who to pair with Joseph Woll. GM Brad Treliving will either tinker or make major changes, including with coach Sheldon Keefe. Stay tuned. The latest NHL odds can be found here.



Questions Of The Day

Will Stamkos resign with the Lightning?

Yes. Like Jon Cooper said, Stamkos looks like a “Bolt for Life.”

Can the Islanders finish in the top three of the Metropolitan Division next season?

No. Carolina and the New York Rangers look to be significantly better while New Jersey, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia should be improved.

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