By: Brock Seguin
Over 67.5 -130
Less than 67.5 +100
Pace of 82 games in 2021 = 79.07 points
The Arizona Coyotes are at their lowest this year. We may not have seen such a bad NHL roster since the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabers tried to land Connor McDavid. With goalies like journeyman Carter Hutton and youngster Josef Korenar (who had a 0.898 save percentage with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last year), Arizona lose a goal early and often. It won’t translate into a lot of wins.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Coyotes selling coins throughout the season. It is already said that Phil Kessel is about to be released. They were busy in the offseason selling Oliver Ekman-Larsson for draft picks and losing their pay wherever they could. They have seven draft picks in the 2022 NHL Draft and appear to be very focused on the future rather than the present. The Coyotes are really hoping for a next stop from Clayton Keller, but don’t have a number one center to pass him the puck. Their defense begins with Jakob Chychrun, who stood out last year. Victor Soderstrom has promises, but is only 20 years old and struggled last year.
The Coyote roster has been gutted, and I love getting more money here. They will be one of the worst teams in the league and their offseason turmoil will carry over into the season. Take the under 67.5 points for the Coyotes.
Over 110.5 -139
Less than 110.5 +110
2021 82 pace of play = 120.07 points
Colorado is a team that should be in talks as the top team in the NHL. Last year, they lost to the Golden Knights, 4-2, in the second round of the playoffs. For the purpose, they acquired Darcy Kuemper after Philipp Grubauer went to Seattle. Kuemper had a .907 save percentage with Arizona last year, but the team ahead of him is improving significantly. He could be in talks to be the Vézina candidate at the end of the year. Pavel Francouz is a good replacement and will lighten the load for him, even if he is injured to start the season.
Colorado is full of stars across the gamut. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar are all top 10 players in their position and are playing a possession game. The Avalanche have the depth and talent to give any team in the league a fit. Depth pieces will also be important here. They will be there to help the stars where needed. Colorado has a few younger plays that could help, with Alex Newhook and Bowen Byram in the lead.
Much of the focus will be on preparing the Avalanche for the playoff race. They remind me of the Lightning two years ago. An exciting team trying to overcome the bump, with a very real chance to lift the cup. I think this team is exceptional and could even challenge the Lightning’s total of 128 points in 2018-19. We need to put some money here, but this team is ready for the next step. Take over 110.5 points for the Avalanche.
Over 97.5 -115
Less than 97.5 -115
2021 82 pace of play = 109.82 points
The Wilds are all-in this year. After buying Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, they hit an astronomical ceiling in 2022 and beyond. Both players were slowing the growth of this exciting team and the torch was passed to a new core of leadership. The Wild have also re-signed Joel Erikkson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov in the long run, meaning a change of guard for this team.
Apart from these two, there are some interesting pieces. Marco Rossi is a flashy rookie who messed up all last year with COVID-19 and Matthew Boldy was ranked 12th overall in 2019. Kevin Fiala settled in as a solid second liner and Mats Zuccarello also had a solid year last season. The D-core is solid even if it is not spectacular. There are similarities to how the Carolina Hurricanes built their defense. Lots of second pair defenders, but no real number 1.
The Wild are a team that seems built to take advantage of the regular season. I think they will make the playoffs, but the roster doesn’t seem like one that can compete with the alpha teams in the league. Their points rhythm last year denotes a very good team and paid them a visit. I think it will continue this year. Take over 97.5 points for the Wild.
Over 92.5 -130
Less than 92.5 +100
2021 82 pace of play = 92.25 points
Since the Jets traded Jacob Trouba, they’ve been looking for a way to bolster their defense. This year they signed Brenden Dillon and the always underrated Nate Schmidt. In net, Connor Hellebuyck is one of the top five goalies in the NHL and will always keep the Jets in any game. He finally has some help up front as he faced the most shots against in the league last year. After Laurent Brossoit leaves, Winnipeg also needs Eric Comrie to be a decent replacement to give Hellebuyck some rest. Hellebuyck played 45 of 58 games last year.
The Jets have a great talent pool on their first two lines. Ehlers is set to be a top player and Kyle Connor is perhaps the most underrated player in the league. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler dominate every power play opportunity and are among the leaders every year. But, both players focus a lot on offense and their defense is somewhat lacking. Neal Pionk was a bright spot in defense last year and put in exceptional performances in attack and defense. It should also take a new step in its development. Morrissey is reliable if he is not spectacular. The added defensive depth will help both players with their ice time and stabilize the blue line.
Paul Maurice has been the coach of this team for seven years; second to Jon Cooper. The market believes the Jets will be better this year, as the shading of their point total here indicates. I do not agree. I think Blake Wheeler is really starting to show his age and Paul Maurice won’t be quick to make the switch here. Take the under 92.5 points for the Jets.