NHL 2018: New Year's Resolutions for All Seven Canadian Teams
Long 2018 Ahead for Canada's Teams
The 2017 NHL season ended with plenty of promise for Canadian teams but the 2017 year itself... not so much. After a productive 2016-17 season saw five Canadian teams make the NHL playoffs, if the current 2017-18 season stays on pace, only two teams will be playing come April 12: the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets. The rest all look ready for the NHL Draft. And the golf course... We put our thinking hats on and thought of New Year's Resolutions for Canada's teams. A "resolution" is something these teams will either do or not do depending on their situation:
Ottawa Senators - Blow everything up and start over
- 2017-18 Record: 12-17-9 (Seventh in Atlantic Division)
- Odds to Win Pacific Division: +6600
- Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +10000
Just a few months ago, the Senators came one double-overtime goal away from taking out the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins. They were so close yet it all meant nothing as the franchise is now caught in the middle of a feud between owner Eugene Melnyk and the fanbase. Franchise player Erik Karlsson could be on his way out and the team sucks. Cleaning house and starting over seems like a given.
Vancouver Canucks - Protect Brock Boeser at all Cost
- 2017-18 Record: 16-19-5 (Seventh in Pacific Division)
- Odds to Win Pacific Division: +2000
- Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +10000
For but a brief moment this season, the Canucks actually looked like a playoff contender before injuries began to derail those hopes. But still, the future is bright, just not this season. By protecting Boeser, we also mean getting the best medical staff, equipment, and defencemen. Everything! With 21 goals in 37 games, Boeser is a truly gifted scorer and one worth building around. Defend him or die trying.
Montreal Canadiens - Embrace for a Rebuild
- 2017-18 Record: 17-20-4 (Sixth in Atlantic Division)
- Odds to Win Atlantic Division: +5000
- Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +7500
When the Habs bottomed out two seasons ago, they had Carey Price's injury to blame. This season the Habs have no excuses. Their Subban-Weber trade has clearly backfired and now is an opportune time to blow it all up and trade away every key asset save for Price. At 30, Price still has up to six solid years of hockey left. If they rebuild now, they could be a contender before Price becomes expendable.
Edmonton Oilers - Fix the Penalty Kill
- 2017-18 Record: 18-20-3 (Sixth in Pacific Division)
- Odds to Win Pacific Division: +1600
- Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +2800
How bad are the Oilers this season? Historically bad as this article shows how inept they are on the penalty kill on home ice. This is mostly the same Oilers team that went on a deep playoff run last season and finished sixth in goal differential. This season, the Oilers are giving up the fifth-most goals and plenty of that is coming from the PK. If they can somehow fix this issue, the wins should follow.
Calgary Flames - Beat Conference and Division Rivals
- 2017-18 Record: 20-16-4 (Fifth in Pacific Division)
- Odds to Win Pacific Division: +800
- Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +3300
The Flames are currently a few spots out of the playoffs and are just about a 50-50 team with an even home record (11-11) and conference record (13-10-2). Being 50-50 won't do. The Sharks, two spots ahead, have a 10-3-4 conference record and 8-2-3 division record. The Flames have 25 conference games remaining. If they win this at the pace of the Sharks, they could just switch places with them.
Winnipeg Jets - Win on the road
- 2017-18 Record: 23-11-7 (Second in Central Division)
- Odds to Win Central Division: +800
- Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +225
The Jets are the NHL's surprise team thanks to the emergence of goaltender Conor Hellebuyck who has backstopped the team to potentially winning the division. They're only behind St. Louis by a point and have two fewer games. Their record would be better if they converted some close road losses to wins. Six of the Jets' seven OT/SO losses came on the road. If they get the extra goal to win these games, they'll be on top.
Toronto Maple Leafs - Learn from the Lightning
- 2017-18 Record: 24-16-2 (Third in Atlantic Division)
- Odds to Win Atlantic Division: +475
- Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +1200
The Leafs started 2018 with a harsh wake-up call when they got thoroughly outplayed and shut out by the NHL's top team: the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was only the second time this season the Leafs failed to light the lamp and with the loss comes a valuable learning experience. They play the Lightning three more times and beating them at least twice will be a huge morale boost.
Betting on NHL Hockey
The New Year promises a more torrid pace of hockey. After the All-Star break late in January, expect all teams to go on a run as the playoffs draw near. Canadians need not be focused on just the Canadian teams as these online sportsbooks offer lines on everything hockey-related. Watch and learn to bet hockey before making commitments.
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