The NHL National League has been going through a major evolution in the past couple years. There have been major shake ups to the top teams and there are new teams that are in the mix as well. With this many changes it is hard to make predictions with any consistency, but it may be possible to make a few educated guesses about what the line for the playoffs will look like.
First of all, it is important to recognize that since the expansion draft only came about three years ago there have been some key additions to the biggest teams in the league. These include the Los Angeles Kings as well as the Ottawa Senators. The New York Rangers has also lost several key players to long term injuries. These factors along with the recent firing of the infamous John Tortorella as head coach have created a sense of instability for the entire league. This has shaken up the competition in the Eastern Conference even more.
In terms of the Western Conference, the Chicago Wild has had a difficult time of it lately. They were one of the favorites to win the Presidents’ Trophy last season, but things have been far from smooth there. The defending champion San Jose Sharks have added some big names to their roster and the Wild have gone just a couple of games against the Sharks this season. The Vancouver Canucks have also been playing well, but they are no longer the team to beat in the Pacific. The Anaheim Ducks has also won a couple of tough games lately, but they are no match for the dominant Predators in the Central.
One of the newer teams to make an appearance in the playoffs is the Philadelphia Flyers. Many had thought that the Flyers would be a middle of the pack team in the Eastern Conference, but they have surprised everyone so far. Many experts have the Flyers as a team that could miss the playoffs entirely. The Flyers are probably the underdog in these tough Eastern Conference races, but they do have a couple of bright spots that could help them reach the playoffs. That includes a strong defensive unit that leads the league in points percentage allowed.
The Columbus Blue Jackets is another team to keep an eye out for in the near future. As one of the stronger contenders for second place in the Atlantic Division, the Jackets have a very bright future. With star forward Jackets player Alex Ovechkin, they have a player that can really bring the team together on the ice. With a strong defense and an underrated goalie, the Jackets have a very good chance to make an impressive run through the playoffs. Keep an eye out for the frequent trips to Ottawa, Canada for games against the Sens and Leafs.
The Florida Panthers is another team to keep an eye on this year. Although they have not been doing well lately, it is still early in the season and every team has to start somewhere. The shorthanded game is where the Panthers really shine. With the likes of Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Marchessault and others leading the charge, the Panthers are a formidable opponent for any team in the NHL. Make sure to weigh your options on various betting lines before pulling the trigger and placing your bets so you can win big!