- Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the NHL season has been suspended indefinitely
- The Boston Bruins will enter the break as the favorite to win the Eastern Conference while the Vegas Golden Knights are favored to win the West
- Which teams will benefit from a break and which teams will lose momentum?
With the coronavirus outbreak, the NHL – like all of the other major sports – has put its season on pause. We’re not expecting to see any action for at least the next 30 days. Given the huge recess, which gives teams a chance to rest and recover, who figures to benefit the most in terms of the Stanley Cup futures? Let’s take a closer look at the impact this will have.
2020 Stanley Cup Odds
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+700|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+700|
|St. Louis Blues||+900|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1800|
|New York Islanders||+5000|
|New York Rangers||+5000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+10000|
Odds as of Mar. 13
Who Loses Momentum?
One of the keys to this long layoff could be the loss of momentum. Teams that were playing well and were hoping to carry that confidence in the playoffs will now have to do a big reset. It’s important to note because those teams might have been good bets but now the sentiment should cool.
Specifically, the Boston Bruins probably aren’t thrilled with this news as they led the NHL with 100 points going into the break. They had also won 16 of their last 20 games. Another team that was on a roll was the Philadelphia Flyers, who had gone 19-6-1 in their last 26 games. They really looked like they were on the rise.
In the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche had won 17 of their last 24 while the St. Louis Blues had won 10 of their last 12. With all of these teams, they’ll be favored when we get back to action but we’ll have to see if they can regain this momentum.
Injuries Will Impact the Playoff Picture
One of the biggest beneficiaries to this long pause will be players who are banged up or teams who have a key star that was supposed to miss a chunk of games. For example, the Vancouver Canucks lost goaltender Jacob Markstrom to a lower-body injury and he probably would have missed some more time.
On the year, he’s a guy who is 23-16-4 with a 2.75 GAA and a .918 save percentage. The backups haven’t played nearly as well as Thatcher Demko, who has started 27 games, has a 3.06 GAA and a .905 save percentage. The Canucks are tied for the final playoff spot, so this gives them a boost.
Meanwhile, a bigger picture injury is the one to Steven Stamkos, who just completed surgery on March 3rd and was originally expected to miss six-to-eight weeks of action. Beyond that, it might take him time to get back in the flow of the game. He might not miss any game time now, which would be a huge boost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Avalanche should be one of the biggest beneficiaries as they were playing without Nathan MacKinnon, Joonas Donskoi, Andre Burakovsky, Mikko Rantan, Philipp Grubauer and Nazem Kadri when action last stopped. The New York Islanders were another team that was all banged up. These types of teams will benefit big time.
What’s the Best Bet?
I’ve been bullish on the Avalanche’s 2020 Stanley Cup odds all season long and I think this helps them a lot. They were missing a number of big contributors and still had won 17 of their last 24. If they can get healthy during the break, they’ll be locked and loaded for a Stanley Cup run.
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