Sportsbook users who bet on NHL games are counting down the days until October 12th (its 75). Last year’s NHL season was one for the record books – it was only the 2nd time that the playoffs consisted of all US based teams – and this season is shaping up to be even more remarkable. After arguably the craziest offseason in NHL history hockey fans are ready for anything. While the Pittsburgh Penguins may be the favorites to take home the Stanley Cup next season, those who bet on NHL futures are well aware of the scarcity of repeats in the NHL. Ruling out a miracle on ice, the likelihood of the Penguins repeating is slim to none. With that in mind hockey fans have to scourge the NHL in order to find a new favorite; that team could just be the Boston Bruins.
The sportsbooks may not favor the Bruins, their Stanley Cup odds are currently pegged at +2550, but they certainly don’t rule them out. Last year the Bruins both began and ended the season with disappointment. The opening game saw Boston lose to the Winnipeg Jets 6 – 2 and the final game of the season saw the Bruins miss out on the playoffs. While last season may not have been one for the highlight reel, it was one for the record books. The Bruins were able to reach a milestone for the franchise by winning its 3,000th game on January 8th 2016. That record was the most remarkable aspect of their 2015 – 2016 season as the Bruins were unable to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Boston was just shy of making the playoff last season, and this year may prove to be even more difficult. The East is loaded with talent, including the defending champion Penguins. Pittsburgh will more than likely clinch the #1 spot in the division and the Washington Capitals are heavy favorites to take the #2 position. Both of these teams have solid rosters, and it’s unlikely that they get beat out for the top of the division. The Tampa Bay Lighting are ready to avenge their loss late in the playoffs last season and they will be vying for the 3rd or 4th spot. Ultimately the Bruins will have to compete with the Rangers, Islanders, and Panthers for a playoff spot. These teams all played exceptionally well last season and Boston certainly has their work cut out for them.
The Bruins will be looking for David Backes to help lead the way to the playoffs. Boston took a bit of a gamble by signing the 32-year old to a five-year contract, but that might have just been a way of telling Backes they’re confident in both his play and leadership abilities. While 32 may be old for an athlete, it’s not uncommon for a hockey player to play into his 40s. Backes will be joining a squad of centers who are all past their 30s, but their age shouldn’t lead fans to question their talent. While Backes is a great addition, the fact that east is loaded with beasts might be enough to deter hockey fans from picking the bruins as their favorite for a bet on NHL futures.