One of the more interesting divisions within the NHL is the Atlantic Division, this Eastern Conference division has a lot of playoff potential with up to six teams with a legitimate chance of making the post-season.
Featuring back-to-back Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning, last season’s runners up the Florida Panthers, last year’s regular season total points record breakers the Boston Bruins, and this season’s Stanley Cup market favorites the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Check out why we believe Toronto will win this division and who else we believe can make the playoffs.
Toronto Maple Leafs (+200)
The Toronto Maple Leafs managed to pick up their first playoff victory in 19 years last season during the first round, where they knocked out the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2, but their journey concluded in the 2nd round when division rivals the Florida Panthers beat them easily 4-1 in the series.
Boasting one of the deepest rosters in the league is the main reason we are betting on Toronto to finish top of the Atlantic Division for the first time since the year 2000, and with ex general manager Kyle Dubas now out of the picture, there could be a change in the air in Toronto.
The Maple Leafs are one of the biggest franchises in the entire NHL and with the likes of Mitch Marner, Ilya Samsonov in the crease and superstar Auston Matthews on their roster, fans will expect a 1st or 2nd place finish in the division this year, and given how weak the Boston Bruins might have become, this could be their chance to secure first spot in the division for over 20 years.
Toronto has turned into regular season experts, having made the playoffs in their previous seven seasons, they should have enough about them to win the division, and at +200 betting odds, we like their chances of doing so.
2022/23 Points Total: 111
2023/24 Points Prediction: 113
Florida Panthers (+500)
Can the Florida Panthers repeat their success of last season? Having made it into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, the Panthers went on to win every series as an underdog before eventually making it to the Stanely Cup finals, where they ran out of gas as the Las Vegas Golden Knights easily disposed of them 4-1 in the series.
Their GM spent the majority of the off-season filling the holes in the team, with no major signings or departures the Panthers have brought in 9 new plays with a further 7 having already left.
Last season, the depth of their roster was an issue. This season they have made moves to improve that and offensively should be incredibly dangerous with the likes of Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett, and Carter Verhaeghe to call upon, all of whom combined for 367 points last season.
The Florida team should improve on last season’s 4th place finish, and despite having them down to finish 2nd overall, don’t be surprised if they end up in 3rd as their competition is not easy.
2022/23 Points Total: 92
2023/24 Points Prediction: 105
Buffalo Sabres (+850)
Having made the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years last season, the Buffalo Sabres are looking to make the post-season in back-to-back years for the first time since 2010/11.
The Buffalo Sabres are the best value pick to win the division this year in our opinion, last year they just about snuck into the playoffs having finished 5th in the division, but we are confident this relatively unchanged team from last year can improve on their performance last season and finish inside the top 3 within the division.
Although it’s unlikely they finish ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, they should be strong enough to finish 2nd or 3rd, maybe even 4th in a worst-case scenario.
Last season their main issues were defensively but they brought in two veterans in Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton. Tage Thompson could be in for another breakout year, having had 94 points last season, he should be capable of hitting over 100 this season if he stays fit and healthy.
This team is pretty much unchanged from last season because it didn’t need much improvement. Overall, Buffalo should be in for another exciting season and in our eyes are playoff-bound.
2022/23 Points Total: 91
2023/24 Points Prediction: 102
Tampa Bay Lightning (+475)
At its core, this is pretty much the same Tampa Bay Lightning team who lifted back-to-back Stanley Cups, but at the same time, their backups have pretty much all left at this stage due to the team’s high salary cap, with Alex Killorn and Ross Colton having been lost to free agency this summer.
Replacements have not been major, with Conor Sheary the biggest name along with some bottom liners, but the Lightning did overpay to keep the likes of Victor Hedman, Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev part of their core lineup.
At the end of the day, this is still a very scary team to deal with and despite having them down as 4th-place finishers in the division, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish 3rd or even 2nd. Their roster depth might not be as strong as previous seasons but their core lineup and experience could be enough to see them outshine some stronger teams around them.
A bounce-back season is expected of Andrei Vasilevskiy in the crease as he had not been the dominant force of previous years last season, especially in the playoffs.
Overall, the Lightning are a very dangerous team, but they need all their stars fit and out of the injury list if they wish to be serious contenders this season.
2022/23 Points Total: 98
2023/24 Points Prediction: 97
Boston Bruins (+375)
Despite the Boston Bruins being the second favored to win the division this season, we are not gone on them doing so, especially at the current odds of +375 at the top betting sites.
Last season seemed to be their best opportunity to lift the Stanley Cup since 2011, having shattered the regular season record, but eventually went on to lose to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round.
The Bruins lost a lot of players during the off-season due to the salary cap being too high, with the likes of Nick Foligno and Taylor Hall departing, as well as major losses due to the retirement of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
They do still have David Pastrnak and one of the best goaltender parings in the league as well as a solid defense, so all things are positive except for the fact their bottom six players are a major drop in roster depth. The Bruins have a solid 6/7 players but outside of them, there’s not much to write home about.
It’s a gamble betting against this team but with so many strong players having left and not being adequately replaced, they’re in for a rougher ride than their previous few seasons that’s for sure.
2022/23 Points Total: 135
2023/24 Points Prediction: 95
Ottawa Senators (+1000)
The Ottawa Senators are under new ownership and they are looking for an instant turnaround in fortunes as the Senators look to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season, where they lost in the conference final.
Offensively this team is strong. Despite losing Alex DeBrincat, they have a solid top-six forward line with some experienced players such as Vladimir Tarasenko and Claude Giroux as well as youngsters such as Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle. They brought in a nice edition for their 3rd line in Dominik Kubalik, a player we wouldn’t be surprised to see finish the season out as a 2nd line player.
Overall the Senators have a strong-ish offense and defensively their top two lines are solid, but between the goalposts is where we start to lose confidence in this team making it into the playoffs; if they do so, it will likely be a wild card spot and then who knows how far they can go. Ultimately, we can’t see them making it past the first round if they only sneak in through the back door.
2022/23 Points Total: 86
2023/24 Points Prediction: 85
Detroit Red Wings (+1500)
The Detroit Red Wings have a formidable top line in Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Larkin, as well as some nice support players such as Lucas Raymond, Robby Fabbri and David Perron.
Overall, Detroit doesn’t have a bad team, but the question we have to ask ourselves is how many teams within the division are they capable of finishing ahead of? The simple answer is not many, with the Atlantic Division being one of the toughest in the league, the Red Wings will likely find themselves outside of the playoffs come the end of the regular season.
In a weaker division, this team might scrape into 4th or 5th, but in the tough Atlantic, we don’t believe they will amount to much, especially if they suffer any injuries to their key players in Larkin and DeBrincat.
The GM has made 9 changes to the roster this off-season in an attempt to reach their first post-season since 2016, if not he will likely be outed come the end of the season after being at the post since 2019.
2022/23 Points Total: 80
2023/24 Points Prediction: 82
Montreal Canadiens (+7500)
Ah the Montreal Canadiens, where do we start? Well, they made the Stanely Cup finals very unexpectedly during the Covid season, where they started the playoffs as the biggest ranked outsiders.
Ultimately, they lost 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning that year and last season finished dead last in the Atlantic Division, with a total of 18 points less than 7th place.
The Canadiens didn’t make many moves during the off-season, bringing in just two players and releasing none, but it’s not all doom and gloom in Montreal.
The Canadiens have a young core group who are looking to build this team from the ground up, but the fact remains they are still the worst team in this division by far. Even a 7th place finish would be likely considered a good season.
2022/23 Points Total: 68
2023/24 Points Prediction: 70
*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.