This 2022-23 NHL regular season has been extremely competitive so far. If you remove the Boston Bruins, who are running away with the league’s overall top seed, every team is within a few points of the team just above or below them in the standings.
Most of the 2023 NHL trade deadline action revolved around what’s shaping up to be an extremely competitive Eastern Conference race. If you are an Eastern Conference team and didn’t get better at the deadline, you got worse. The second half of the season should be a truly thrilling stretch run, leading into an even more exciting postseason. Make sure you get those NHL futures in now while there’s still value attached to even the best teams.
It seems to be one of those years when truly any team can make a run at the Stanley Cup finals, and trade deadline moves often have a substantial influence on which teams end up making that run. Here are the teams that most significantly increased and decreased their title odds at the deadline.
Devils Pin Hopes on Meier
Timo Meier was involved in trade rumors to the New Jersey Devils for the better part of this season, as he ranks top-15 in the NHL in goals but was stuck on a tanking San Jose Sharks club. He will join a Devils team that is fourth in the NHL in goals this season and will turn a dangerous offense into a deadly one.
New Jersey is third in the NHL with 88 points to date and will be fighting with the Carolina Hurricanes (90 pts) for the Metropolitan division title. The Devils are also very strong on defense, allowing the fifth-least goals in the NHL this season. With a top-5 ranking on both offense and defense this team is locked and loaded to make a deep run in the postseason.
They began the season at +50000 to win the Stanley Cup but have now dropped all the way to +800 at Caesars.
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Rangers get Pair of Scorers
Before the deadline the New York Rangers were firmly in a playoff spot but lacked the firepower required to compete in a very talented Eastern Conference. The team has allowed the sixth-least goals in the NHL so far this season and the offense has talent but showed some inconsistencies during the first half of the season.
The Rangers’ front office wanted to build a more consistent offensive attack to balance out its team and they did just that with their recent trades. In separate trades the team was able to secure a pair of 40-point veteran scorers in Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko. They also bolstered their strong defense by grabbing Niko Mikkola along with Tarasenko from St. Louis. The team set themselves up nicely to compete in the Eastern Conference playoffs and +1100 to win the Cup is some solid value. They began the season at +1200.
Panthers Stand Pat
A year ago, the Florida Panthers were extremely active at the deadline, en route to posting the NHL’s best regular season record. They fell short with a second-round exit at the hands of in-state rival and eventual Eastern Conference champion, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This showing must have deterred the Florida front office from going all-out again this season. The Panthers made exactly zero trades. This is an odd strategy for a team sitting just three points outside of a playoff spot. The team’s chances of earning a postseason berth now look much more grim.
They have fallen hard in the Stanley Cup odds. They opened the season at +1500 but are now at +4000 at BetRivers.
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Pittsburgh Moves Minor
The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently holding onto the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference and have gotten to this point by being essentially league-average across the board. The Penguins are 15th in goals scored and 16th in goals allowed.
To make a deep run in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season the team needed a real difference-maker. Preferably someone to help put the puck in the net. Instead the team opted to make a few minor moves. They added three players in their 30s that offer minimal production. This deadline seemed more like a step sideways. That’s not what the doctor ordered in Pittsburgh. Expectations can remain low for this group. They opened the season at +2800 but have moved to +5000 at BetMGM.
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