NHL betting: Central division odds

Sep 6, 2013 |
NHL betting: Central division odds
The defending Cup champion Blackhawks are -150 to repeat as division champs.
The defending Cup champion Blackhawks are -150 to repeat as division champs.
Our early look at NHL division odds continue as we focus in on the Central division over in the Western Conference. The defending Cup champions are obviously the favorite, but the St. Louis Blues could throw a wrinkle into what might be an intriguing division.

Odds courtesy of Bet365.

Chicago Blackhawks (-150)

The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off their second Stanley Cup victory in the past three seasons. They didn't have to do a whole lot of maneuvering in the offseason but did lock up G Corey Crawford (he of the epic Stanley Cup parade speech), head coach Joel Quenneville, and D Niklas Hjalmarsson on multi-year deals. The Hawks are the overwhelming favorite to win this division and for good reason.

In: Nikolai Khabibulin, Theo Peckham, Mike Kostka
Out: Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik, Ray Emery, Viktor Stalberg

St. Louis Blues (+290)

The Blues are a good hockey team. We know this. They are about as good as anyone at keeping the puck out of the net and are a physical bunch. Are they good enough to dethrone the Hawks in the division? That's the million-dollar question. The problem last year was scoring goals. They were an average at best offensive squad (17th in goals per game) and addressed needs on offense by adding Derek Roy and Magnus Paajarvi - who is a talent, but just couldn't find a niche in Edmonton.

In: Magnus Paajarvi, Derek Roy, Maxim Lapierre, Keith Aucoin
Out: David Perron

Minnesota Wild (+650)

The Wild made their free-agent splash a year ago when they signed a pair of faces for the franchise: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. They found themselves in the playoffs and, certainly, moving in the right direction. Next season is big for the Wild. Star-in-waiting Jonas Brodin will look to improve on a fantastic rookie campaign. They'll get a full season out of trade deadline acquisition Jason Pominville. They've brought in agitator Matt Cooke and took a gamble by acquiring Nino Niederreiter from the New York Islanders. The defense and goaltending is sound, but they need herculean efforts from a young crop of forwards to put pucks in the net. If youngsters like Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund can reach their potential and help out guys like Parise, Pominville and Dany Heatley, the Wild could make some noise in the Central Division.

In: Keith Ballard, Nino Niederreiter, Matt Cooke
Out: Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Cullen, Pierre-Marc Bouchard

Dallas Stars (+1250)

The Stars made one of the biggest moves of the offseason by unloading proven NHL scorer Loui Eriksson (and others) to the Bruins for Tyler Seguin (and others). It could be an incredible trade for both parties if Seguin blossoms into a consistent player; something he showed flashes off while in Bean Town. Also, adding the ageless Sergei Gonchar to provide veteran leadership on the blueline will help.

In: Rich Peverley, Sergei Gonchar, Tyler Seguin, Valeri Nichushkin, Dan Ellis
Out: Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, Joe Morrow

Nashville Predators (+1800)

The Preds' brass must have been wide-eyed when stud-defenseman Seth Jones landed in their laps on draft day. The Preds (I would imagine) made no hesitation taking the 6-foot-4 blueliner at No. 4 overall and immediately give Shea Weber the task of tutoring the star-in-waiting. That's all well and good. But this team scores goal with such infrequency and it's something that hasn't been addressed. Unless they feel strongly that Viktor Stalberg is due for an 80-point season.

In: Matt Cullen, Matt Hendricks, Viktor Stalberg, Seth Jones
Out: Matt Halischuk, Bobby Butler

Colorado Avalanche (+2200)

The Avs are young and, frankly, are some time away from seriously competing for a playoff spot, let alone winning the Central. But they are putting together something interesting in Denver. They've added prized asset Nathan MacKinnon as the top pick in the 2013 draft to go along with super-talented Matt Duchesne and young captain Gabriel Landeskog. I'll take time for the Avs, but in a couple of years they'll be a contender.

In: Nathan MacKinnon, Alex Tanguay, Cory Sarich
Out: David Jones, Aaron Palushaj

Winnipeg Jets (+2500)

The Jets play in arguably the league's loudest barn, but we probably won't be able to witness the atmosphere in the postseason any time soon. They did, however, lock up a few key players on long term deals (Zach Bogosian, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little) and will be piloted once again by star left-winger Evander Kane, which really isn't such a bad thing.

In: Michael Frolik, Devin Setoguchi
Out: Alexander Burmistrov

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