Pucks will drop Wednesday for opening night of the 2021 NHL season.
It follows what was one of the most bizarre hockey seasons in history, ending with a 24-team postseason capped by a six-game Stanley Cup Final win by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Two games short of that ultimate series: the New York Islanders, whose 4-2 series loss against the eventual champions included a 2-1 overtime defeat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Islanders’ potential encore this season leads the New York storylines as the NHL rushes toward its 104th season.
Will the Islanders again buck expectations and make a deep playoff run? What about the New York Rangers? Can they rebound from a disappointing 2020 playoff sweep? Can the Buffalo Sabres surprise the hockey world and end a nine-season playoff drought?
To get a sense of how the sports betting market feels about those questions — and because New York has not authorized online wagering yet, though the state is working on it — let’s take a look at futures odds posted in New Jersey by DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks.
New York teams not among favorites to make playoff runs
No betting portfolio is complete without its share of NHL futures bets.
The NHL is no exception, and both DraftKings and FanDuel offer a litany of look-ahead wagers for New York’s hockey teams.
Both books expect the Islanders to enjoy the best season among the three Empire State franchises, followed closely by the Rangers. The Sabres sit as the state’s underdog.
The Islanders and Rangers, for example, feature close to pick-‘em odds to make the playoffs, while the Sabres lag behind.
|New York Islanders
|New York Rangers
What about division, Stanley Cup futures?
All three New York franchises will compete in the MassMutual NHL East Division after the league sold naming rights to four divisions.
According to oddsmakers, the Islanders own the best shot at winning the eight-team division, with +650 odds at FanDuel and +1000 odds at DraftKings. The two books list the Rangers close behind (+700 and +800, respectively), while the Sabres sit far behind (+1600, +2000).
FanDuel and DraftKings favor the Boston Bruins to win the East. Each book set the line at +250 for Boston to do so.
Similarly, not one of New York’s three teams appear in contention to win the Stanley Cup.
|New York Rangers
|New York Islanders
The shortest odds to win the league title include the Colorado Avalanche (+650), Tampa Bay Lightning (+750) and Vegas Golden Knights (+800).
Individual NHL futures betting outlook
At DraftKings, users can also wager on which player will score the most points for his respective team.
Fresh off a brief holdout that ended with a new three-year deal, Mathew Barzal (-250) expects to pace the Islanders. He is followed by Brock Nelson at +700 and Anders Lee at +800.
For the Rangers, Artemi Panarin leads the way at -286, followed by Mika Zibanejad at +250. The next closest player is center Ryan Strome at +2000.
Expected to lead the revamped Sabres franchise in points is Jack Eichel, at-139, followed by Taylor Hall at +250 and Sam Reinhart +650.
Could New York players contend for leaguewide awards?
Panarin and Eichel, in fact, are New York’s best hopes to bring the Hart Trophy to the state.
Panarin has the third-best odds to win the MVP on FanDuel, at +1000. Ahead of him, the Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (+460) and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (+600).
DraftKings pegs Panarin at +1100 to win the award. That vaults Toronto’s Auston Matthews (+800) and Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (+1000) ahead of him.
Eichel sits at +1500 on FanDuel and +2000 on DraftKings.
Users can also bet on other individual awards through DraftKings and FanDuel. That includes:
- Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie)
- James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenseman)
- Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)
- Art Ross Trophy (points leader)
- Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (top goal-scorer)
Bets can even be placed on the Jack Adams Award, given to the league’s top coach. Best bet there: the Islanders’ Barry Trotz at +1000.