The Atlantic Division is the most diverse division in the NHL, since it comprises teams that have a very realistic shot of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup in June and clubs which will likely only be contending for the No. 1 overall choice in the 2019 NHL Draft.
For the first time in recent memory, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the +160 favorites to win the Atlantic at BetOnline, followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning (+165), Boston Bruins (+260), Florida Panthers (+1200), Buffalo Sabres (+3500), Montreal Canadiens (+4000), Detroit Red Wings (+5000) and Ottawa Senators (+6600).
The time is now for the Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs also have the very best opportunity to win the Stanley Cup, along with being branch favorites. The Leafs set franchise records for wins and points last season and were a period away from advancing to the next round of the playoffs before enduring another first-round exit into the Bruins. But Toronto created the biggest splash of this summer by registering hometown boy John Tavares, giving them a three-headed monster down the middle with Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri.
Toronto ranked fourth in the league in goals for some time boasting the second-best power play in 2017-18, therefore adding Tavares into the mix is utterly terrifying for the rest of the NHL. The shield remains a work-in-progress and is obviously the team’s weakest link, and goaltender Frederik Andersen has shown inconsistency at times but stays an excellent starter. The Leafs won’t be going anywhere for a longlong time, along with also an Atlantic Division banner is a really realistic possibility of Mike Babcock’s crew.
Lightning The Lightning have made three trips into the Eastern Conference final in the last four decades, yet they have nothing to show for this. On paper, Tampa Bay possesses what’s arguably the best team in the NHL, as Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, J.T. Miller, Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson make an extremely talented top-six ahead group. Starting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy appeared as the Vezina Trophy favorite for the first half of this 2017-18 campaign before falling off since the playoffs approached but will be new for the season opener.
The Bruins weren’t expected to be this good this fast, but Boston’s young group arrived ahead of schedule this past year along with the Bruins ended with 50 wins and 112 points as a result. The B’s, who ranked sixth in goals for and fourth in goals against, also had the fourth-best power play and third-best penalty kill in the NHL. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak comprise the top lineup in the league, while the remainder of the roster is loaded with both depth and potential.
Apart from the Maple Leafs, Bruins and Lightning, just the Panthers look like a possible playoff team in my eyes. The Sabres, Canadiens, Red Wings and especially the Senators all boast their fair share of issues and shouldn’t be considered as a prospective futures bet.