Was a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals enough to get the New York Islanders good odds to win the Stanley Cup this year?
The Islanders open up the season against the rival New York Rangers in the first of two games against their Manhattan rivals. The two clubs will face each other eight times over the course of the season thanks to the newly realigned divisions and teams only playing opponents within their own division.
“I’ve been thinking about them for about three weeks right now,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said about the upcoming matchup with the Rangers. “I think the Rangers have a very good hockey team. They’ve had good success in the draft getting the first and second pick the last two years. They’ve developed those players, they drafted well and getting (Artemi) Panarin the year before.
“They’ve got a really good roster just as every team in this division does.”
Considering the Rangers nearly leapfrogged the Islanders last season in the standings before COVID-19, it shouldn’t surprise too many people where the oddsmakers have the two New York hockey teams. As of Monday morning, the Islanders are getting +3000 odds to win the Stanley Cup, level with the Rangers as fifth-best in the temporarily formed East Division, behind Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, and Pittsburgh.
Boston has the best odds in the East Division at +1500, with Philadelphia right behind them at +1800.
There’s no question the Islanders have an uphill battle facing them in their quest to make it to the Stanely Cup Final. Heck, just making the playoffs will be a tall order.
Under the new alignment for the divisions, only the first four teams from each division make the postseason. The Islanders will have to pass two teams to qualify for the playoffs in the first place.
The season will without a doubt get pretty chippy since teams will pay opponents eight times over the course of the year. “I know when you play someone eight times you’re not going to like them very much,” Trotz said.