NHL Odds: Handicapping the Los Angeles Kings

Originally published by NHLRumors.com

The 2022-23 National Hockey League season will officially begin when the puck drops at the O2 Arena in Prague, the Czech Republic, on Friday, October 7, 2022. The league’s Global Series will pit the Nashville Predators against the San Jose Sharks in a match-up between Western Conference rivals.

Four nights later, on October 11, 2022, the season will open in North America with a nationally televised doubleheader that includes a matchup between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden and the Vegas Golden Knights against the Los Angeles Kings at Crypto.com Arena.

The Kings will look to get off to a good start in what many feel may be a breakthrough season for the team that reached the playoffs last season after missing the previous three post-seasons.

Kings Stanley Cup Odds

While the Kings will undoubtedly be long shots to win the 2023 Stanley Cup, they expect to compete for a playoff spot. Few predicted such a significant step forward last season after a three-season rebuild. The Kings managed to go 44-27-11 last year, good for 99 standings points and third place in the Pacific Division. In the playoffs, they took the Edmonton Oilers to 7-games before bowing out, but not before opening some eyes.

Los Angeles’ 2021-22 season will likely be challenging to replicate. When a team takes an unexpected leap forward, the safe bet is to hedge, and bookmakers seem to be keen on that approach, having them at +3000 in Stanley Cup odds to open the season.

The nagging issue last season for the Kings was their offense. The acquisition of all-star forward Kevin Fiala should go a long way to changing that. Fiala scored a career-high  85 points in 82 games last season for the Minnesota Wild, including 33 goals. It appears he’ll skate with veteran Anze Kopitar on the first line or maybe paired with Phillip Danault. Either way, he adds to a solid core that includes Adrian Kempe, Drew Doughty, Matt Roy, and goaltender Jonathan Quick.

The Favorites

Bookmakers generally lean heavily on previous season results when determining the NHL betting favorites, and this season is no different. Despite some significant roster moves, the defending champion Colorado Avalanche open the 2022-23 NHL season as heavy favorites to repeat at +420.

The Stanley Cup champions lost their second-line center Nazim Kadri and goaltender Darcy Kuemper to free agency but traded for New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev. The team resigned defenseman Josh Manson, forward Valeri Nichuskin, and most importantly, extended Nathan MacKinnon to eight more years in a $100.8 million deal that will keep him in Denver through the 2030-31 season.

Just behind the Avalanche are the Toronto Maple Leafs. Last season the team played to a 113-point regular-season with some of the worst goaltending in the league during the second half of the schedule. Starting goaltender Jack Campbell and backups Petr Mrazek and Erik Kallgren combined for a .887 save percentage to close the season. All three won’t return, as the Leafs will turn to veterans Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray to start the new season. Oddsmakers have the Leafs as +850 to open the season.

After Colorado and Toronto, the top five favorites include the Florida Panthers at +940, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have appeared in three straight finals at +1000, and the Carolina Hurricanes at +1100. At the bottom of the list are the Montreal Canadiens at +13000, the Chicago Blackhawks at +15500, and the Arizona Coyotes at +32000.