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@TopCheddarPicks' NHL 22-23 Offseason Longshot Futures

NHL 22-23 Offseason Longshots

The NHL Draft has come and gone, and we are only three days away from NHL Free Agency opening up on July the 13th at 12 PM EST. Although the draft itself rarely has a direct impact on the upcoming season, there were some big trades and other rumors that I think clearly will impact the NHL playoff race and will have future implications for years to come.

I do have to stress, there is a lack of future options right now and this is the longshots article. There will be another article, once the cloud of doubt surrounding free agency clears up. Many of these teams I would want to take bets on whether or not they will make the playoffs, but a small sprinkle on their Cup futures can prove to be profitable with cash out options opening up on books such as FanDuel etc. If you want a safer option, wait until the sportsbooks open up “Make Playoffs” bets. As of right now we don't have these lines opened and are unsure when they will release, however I think it makes sense to do small sprinkles on these longshots and wait for a cashout option, should they start the season strong. Right now, pre Free Agency is the time to take these risks as I believe lines will move heavily if big moves are made by these teams, and they are all rumored to do so.

The Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators (+4000 to win the East / +8000 for the Cup) have to be seen as the early winner of the off-season. Often criticized, GM Pierre Dorion made a big move before the NHL Draft by trading for NHL star Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat is coming off a 41 goal season and has proven to be one of the premier goal scorers in the NHL. The Ottawa Senators are a team filled with young talent, including Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson, and last but not least defensemen and shot on goal king Thomas Chabot. Adding Alex DeBrincat to this core of young talent and supplementing it with young prospects such as Tim Stutzle, Jake Sanderson, Shane Pinto, and Erik Brannstom the Senators seem poised to take that next step and contend for a playoff spot in the Atlantic division.

This is the part of the article where I said the Senators needed a goaltending upgrade, and literally hours before this article was released, they acquired Cam Talbot from the Minnesota Wild. I love that pickup. and think he is one of the better goalies in the NHL. With almost 21 million dollars in cap space, I expect the Senators to be aggressive this offseason and have been one of the teams linked with Coyotes defenseman Jakub Chychrun. If Dorion can continue to mold the team round this young talented group, I expect them to be contenders sooner rather than later. Their division is stacked and won't be easy. With the Panthers, Leafs, Lightning and Bruins all vying for a spot, there isn't much room for a slow start, but I love the young core they are building around and see a bright future for the Senators.

The Los Angeles Kings

The other big trade this offseason took place between the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings picked up star forward Kevin Fiala, who put up 85 points in 82 games this past season. Fiala gives that foreward core a much needed boost and another elite level talent to score goals. The Kings (+1800 to win the West) are coming off a Game 7 playoff loss to the Edmonton Oilers, in which their goal scoring was their downfall. I think upgrades are required and they are not done just yet. It's important to remember the Kings were without their #1 Dman Drew Doughty and he will come back fully for this upcoming season. The Kings also hold the #1 prospect pool in the NHL and if trade reinforcements are on the horizon, no one in the NHL has more assets to make moves to improve their roster.

The reason why I like the Kings is due to all the uncertainty surrounding the West Coast teams this year. The already mentioned Wild lost one of their top forwards in Kevin Fiala and are now seeing a saga unfold with superstar Kirill Kaprizov. The Avalanche, coming off their cup win, are set to lose at least 2, if not 3 of Darcy Kuemper, Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin. The Calgary Flames may potentially lose forward Johnny Gaudreau to free agency as he has not re-signed yet with just 2 days to go and finally the Edmonton Oilers are set to lose top playoff goal scorer Evander Kane to free agency and still have improvements needed to be made to their goaltending.

The New Jersey Devils & Philadelphia Flyers

There are 2 other teams that I would like to take on them making the playoffs, but as of right now it's purely based off of speculation. The New Jersey Devils (+3000 to win the East / +6000 to win the Cup) are one as their young core took a huge next step last year and were hindered by goaltending. They did pick up Vitek Vanacek, which is an upgrade in net but have yet to make the big moves that fans were expecting with their 27 million dollars of cap space. The Devils will certainly be in the discussion to sign Johnny Gaudreau and if you think that pickup moves the needle, it may be worth a sprinkle pre free agency as the lines will move sharply should they make that big move.

If you like the Devils sprinkle on the premise of a big off-season, you have to include the Philadelphia Flyers (+3000 to win the East) in your bets. They hired veteran NHL coach John Tortorella, who for all of his deficiencies gets his teams to play winning hockey and make the playoffs. On top of this they acquired a polarizing face in Tony DeAngelo, but he's a very good defensmen who will add points to the blue line in Philly. Finally, they are the favorite to sign Johnny Gaudreau, in my opinion. Johnny is from the Philly area, grew up a fan and makes a ton of sense for him to “go home” in my opinion. The Flyers would need to clear up some cap space, but he is good enough to where you make it happen. James Van Reimsdyk has been the rumored casualty, and I think the Flyers find a way to move his contract to acquire Johnny Gaudreau.

The Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings (+5000 to win the East / +10000 for the Cup) are the last team, who I believe are poised to break out soon. They have over 31 million dollars in cap space, and with GM Steve Yzerman, have to be expected to become a contender soon. No one in the NHL has a better track record than Yzerman at building a contender and the early pieces are in place with some incredible young talent on the roster already. They have upgraded their goaltending department by acquiring Ville Husso and I believe they will use their cap wisely and continue to bolster and build around their young talent.

As we get closer to the season, I will post my more realistic picks. I believe there is a lot of uncertainty right now and taking these longshots early makes sense. All of these teams I will be playing them to make the playoffs and the odds should be great, however if they make any more big moves this off-season, as they are rumored to, then their odds will continue to tank. As we wait for those lines to open up, make sure to keep these 4 in mind for that market.

For the Conference / Cup Futures, remember these are all small sprinkles, I will be putting .1u on all of these at most. I will be eyeing early cash outs for them for profit, should the teams continue to improve and start the season strongly.

Until then, I will be eagerly awaiting free agency and may have another post out shortly should any big moves surface. Make sure to keep and eye out on @FlashPicks and @TopCheddarPicks as I will be updating once playoffs futures release.