After almost one month into the NHL season, Canadian teams, including the Montreal Canadiens, have seen major fluctuations in their projected season outcomes.
At the start of the season, NHL odds had the Canadiens slated for a bottom-10 finish in the NHL standings for the 2023-2024 season.
After a hot start, the Montreal Canadiens have seemingly come down from their cloud and sit at 12 points in 12 games with one of the hardest remaining schedules left to play.
Injuries have played a major part, yet again, for the Canadiens as losing Kirby Dach and David Savard right off the bat was a major blow to the lineup.
Currently riding a four-game losing streak and facing an imposing next 10 games against some of the league’s top teams, bookies aren’t confident that Montreal will rise out of it.
That being said, it wouldn’t be the first time the Canadiens have defied the odds, but after recent performances, there is reason to believe they could be in for a bit of a slide down the standings.
But the Montreal Canadiens aren’t the only team that has seen a major fluctuation in expectations.
The Vancouver Canucks have shot right out of the gate this season with a 9-2-1 record over their first 12 games, placing them third in the NHL Standings and at -250 to make the NHL Playoffs.
Rebounding in a big way, thanks in large part to the hot starts of both Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, the Canucks look rejuvenated this season; picking up right where they left off last year.
If goaltender Thatcher Demko can continue his excellent play in net, the Canucks will most certainly have earned all the praise they’ve received of late.
Same Old Story In Ottawa
Even after ending the 2022-2023 on a strong note after the acquisition of Jakob Chychrun, the Ottawa Senators seem to be right were they were last year; struggling early on for their playoff lives.
The Senators currently sit in 29th place with a 4-6-0 record, but have two-to-three games in hand on most of the league; giving them enough wiggle room to turn things around.
However, bookies aren’t very confident in the team given their on-ice play, the suspension to Shane Pinto and recent firing of GM Pierre Dorion. The club’s odds to make the NHL Playoffs have consequently shrunk to -196 odds of missing the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season.
Holding Out for the Oilers
Despite the Edmonton Oilers holding the second-worst record in the NHL at the moment at 2-8-1, there seems to be hope that they can turn it around.
With their league-worst goaltending and top stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl slumping to start the season, NHL bookies seem to think there’s nowhere to go but up.
Even with their disastrous start, the Oilers are still favoured at -210 to make the playoffs; with the expectation that either their big names or their goaltending will be resolved in short order.
It’s hard for any bookie to rule out a team that has Connor McDavid on it, but another miserable dozen games and it could become a real possibility.
Flames Fizzling Out
Although they may have won their last game against fellow bottom-feeders, the Nashville Predators, things are not right at the moment in Calgary.
With their 4-7-1 record and underwhelming offensive performances from top stars like Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri, there’s a reason that murmurs are starting to increase about the club’s plans with their many pending free agents.
The Flames’ odds of making the playoffs slid from slight optimism to disfavour very quickly, now sporting a -160 probability of missing the playoffs. If they aren’t able to turn it around it short order, the trade rumours will only intensify and their fates sealed before the halfway point of the season.
Which Canadian Team Can Beat The Odds?
Although the Montreal Canadiens had a very strong start to the season, they had arguably one of the easiest October schedules in the NHL; couple that with a growing list of injuries and the goaltending duo of Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen playing well above expectation and it’s a palatable recipe for regression.
The Vancouver Canucks currently look unstoppable to start this season with no signs of slowing down. The Calgary Flames look like they’re well on their way to a retool with ownership pausing extension talks with pending free agents.
That leaves the Ottawa Senators as the most likely team to shake off their current funk, either by improved on-ice play or a long-rumoured coaching change. The Senators have everything you would need to be competitive in the East, it’s now up to them to take advantage of it.
Owner Michael Andlauer and interim-GM Steve Staios aren’t about to let the team miss the playoffs again, and changes will likely follow shortly if they don’t turn it around.
One shouldn’t rule out the Montreal Canadiens completely, but bookies believe their time has not yet arrived to take that next step.
Time will tell.