NHL Previews

2018 NHL Atlantic Division Preview

Who Will be the Team to Beat in the Atlantic?

Our 2018 NHL Atlantic Division Preview hub page offers quick information about each team as well as the projected standings at the end of the season. Links to each club’s full 2018 preview, providing complete analysis of each Atlantic Division team, are included as well. Use the short, bulleted previews on this page to get a solid idea of each Atlantic Division team’s strengths and weakness. Then, for our in-depth previews, use the links to navigate to each club. We’ve made a lot of solid information to NHL bettors. Use it to get an edge.

2017- 2018 Atlantic Division Season

The 2017-2018 Atlantic Division season saw a polarization in its’ standings. While the Tampa Bay Lightning (54-23-5, 113 points) and Boston Bruins (50-20-12, 112 points) finished with the two best records in the Eastern Conference, the Buffalo Sabres (25-45-23, 62 points) and Ottawa Senators (28-43-11, 67 points) finished as the bottom two teams in the entire NHL. Apart from Tampa Bay and Boston, the Toronto Maple Leafs (49-26-7, 105 points) had a solid year finishing in a playoff position for the second straight season. The Florida Panthers (44-30-8, 96 points) were also a competitive team missing the postseason by a single point. The Detroit Red Wings (30-39-13, 73 points) and Montreal Canadiens (29-40-23, 71 points) finished fifth and sixth in the Atlantic Division respectively.

2018 NHL Atlantic Division Preview: Teams

This section of our 2018 NHL Atlantic Division Preview will provide general positives and negatives of each team as they head into the upcoming season. Make sure to look at the most up to date matchup information before placing any NHL bets.

Boston Bruins

  • The top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak is among the best in the NHL
  • The Bruins have a very deep group of defensmen
  • Boston has a good mix of veterans and youth that is still filling out their NHL potential
  • Tuukka Rask is an elite netminder, and the addition of Jaroslav Halak give Boston a great tandem in net
  • The club must find a quality scoring wing who can develop chemistry on the second line with David Krejci
  • Overall, the Bruins look to be a very strong hockey club

Buffalo Sabres

  • Jack Eichel is an elite player that can drive the entire Sabres’ offense when healthy
  • 1st overall pick Rasmus Dahlin should jump in and make an immediate impact on the team’s blueline
  • The acquisition of Jeff Skinner from Carolina greatly strengthened the club’s top-six forward group
  • Carter Hutton had a great 2017-2018 season, but has yet to play the role of an NHL starter in his career. He will need to be elite for Buffalo to cut back their 3rd worst goals against from last year.
  • Casey Mittelstadt may being the rookie of the year running this season
  • Overall, Buffalo is likely to miss the playoffs, but could surprise in certain matchups

Detroit Red Wings

  • The loss of Henrik Zetterberg to injury this offseason leaves a large hole in the club’s top-six forwards
  • Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha are solid players who could fly under the radar for the Wings
  • Filip Zadina was a steal in the draft and will help address the need for scoring if he makes the NHL roster this season
  • Detroit’s defense is razor thin, and they are likely to be missing their top defenseman Mike Green to start the year
  • Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier are average NHL goaltenders but give the club a solid tandem
  • A thin backend and lack of scoring will make it tough for the Red Wings to have a great year

Florida Panthers

  • New captain Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck give the Panthers a very underrated one-two punch at the center position
  • Assuming Mike Hoffman is welcomed into the locker room, he will be a great addition on the wing
  • Overall Florida has a very strong top-six forward group
  • Roberto Luongo was elite when healthy last season, and James Reimer is a quality backup
  • Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, and Mike Matheson give Florida a quality blueline
  • After missing the playoffs by a single point, Florida looks improved and should challenge for a position in the postseason

Montreal Canadiens

  • Trading away forwards Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk leaves the Habs with little scoring depth
  • Jonathan Drouin looks is extremely talented but has had trouble achieving quality results thus far in his career
  • Star defenseman Shea Weber will miss majority of the season, crippling a thin D-corps
  • Carey Price had a down season last year but is arguably still the most talented goaltender in the NHL
  • The Canadiens’ lack of depth at the center ice position is troubling
  • Offseason moves have made Montreal a weaker club than they were last season. Do not expect a successful season from the Habs.

Ottawa Senators

  • Trading away franchise defenseman Erik Karlsson yielded very little in return, and will be an irreplaceable player
  • Mark Stone is a very good forward, but could be traded at some point this year
  • Thomas Chabot is a talented young defenseman and is likely to see a lot of ice with Karlsson gone
  • Craig Anderson and Mike Condon had rough 2017-2018 seasons and will have little help in front of them this year
  • Ottawa lacks depth everywhere in their lineup
  • Look for the Senators to be in the NHL’s basement in the 2018-2019 season

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point should have no trouble driving an offense that led the NHL in scoring last year
  • Supplemental scoring should not be an issue for the Bolts either
    Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman leads arguably the deepest group of defensemen in the league
  • Mikhail Sergachev looks to be developing into an elite offensive defenseman
  • At the age 24 of Andrei Vasilevskiy has already developed into an elite goaltender
  • Tampa looks like a top team again this season

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • The signing of John Tavares was the largest free agent move in recent memory and instantly turned the Leafs into a Cup contender
  • The youthful Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander are all elite scoring forwards
  • Leading goal scorer James van Riemsdyk may have left Toronto, but they club should have no problem replacing his offense
  • Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly are very solid defensemen but the club is lacking depth on the backend
  • Frederik Andersen is one of the most underrated goaltenders in the NHL
  • The Maple Leafs should be expected to finish among the top of the NHL in scoring and be in a playoff spot at the end of the season

Projected Standings

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning-115 points
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs-110 points
  3. Boston Bruins-108 points
  4. Florida Panthers-98 points (2nd Eastern Conference Wild Card)
  5. Detroit Red Wings-75 points
  6. Buffalo Sabres-72 points
  7. Montreal Canadiens– 70 points
  8. Ottawa Senators-60 points

Final Thoughts: 2018 NHL Atlantic Division Preview

Overall, the Atlantic Division looks to have some of the league’s best teams as well as some of the worst. Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Boston all look to be postseason locks, while Montreal and Ottawa are primed for a rough year. Florida is a solid club and should be in playoff contention as well. Make sure to check with Betting Brain for NHL news, free picks, and to receive any information useful to NHL bettors.

Other Links

Eastern Conference Main Page
Western Conference Main Page
NHL Main Page


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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