In 2022, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Eastern Conference. This was their third consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, and their first loss since 2015.
As the defending champs, the Lightning were far higher on the odds list last season. However, despite having won three consecutive Eastern Conference titles, Tampa is lagging a few teams that have challenged them in recent years.
This season, the East is much closer, and the competition is expected to be heated throughout the year. Five teams have lines shorter than +1000, and only 50 points separate the top three clubs.
2023 Eastern Conference Title Odds
NHL EAST Odds are via OKBET SPORTS BETTING
- Toronto Maple Leafs +450
- Carolina Hurricanes +480
- Tampa Bay Lightning +500
- Florida Panthers +650
- Pittsburgh Penguins +950
- New York Rangers +1000
- New York Islanders +1500
- Boston Bruins +1500
- Washington Capitals +2000
- Ottawa Senators +3000
- Detroit Red Wings +3500
- New Jersey Devils +3500
- Philadelphia Flyers +4000
- Columbus Blue Jackets +4000
- Buffalo Sabres +4000
- Montreal Canadiens +7500
Favorite Eastern Conference Teams
+450 Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are desperate to end their losing streak in the first round of the playoffs. Last season, they had the best power play offense in the league, but they were unable to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the first round.
This squad features the most explosive offensive player in the league, hence offensive production has been strong. Auston Matthews scored 60 goals throughout the regular season, then he scored four times and assisted on five others in just seven postseason games.
The problem has been their goalie, which rated nineteenth last season. Ilya Samsonov, a former Washington Capital, was just signed to a one-year contract. Last season, he led the Capitals to a 23-12-5 record, and his goals against average was greater than that of all Toronto goaltenders.
The Leafs’ future is bright, but they must focus on advancing in the playoffs. Their team is capable of reaching the promised land, but they cannot rely too heavily on their great players.
Carolina Hurricanes +480
The Hurricanes are one of the league’s fastest teams. Last season, they reached the second round of the playoffs before losing in Game 7 to the New York Rangers.
Carolina had the league’s third-best record, trailing only Colorado and Florida. They achieved this by possessing the best defense in hockey and a top-ten attack.
Carolina will not need to make many adjustments to achieve success. They were a few lucky bounces away from the Eastern Conference Final, and they were the superior team in the most of their games.
With the additions of Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty, the attack and defense have been significantly bolstered, and the Canes appear to be a formidable opponent. Carolina’s 2023 begins on a positive note.
Tampa Bay Lightning +500
What else can be said about this current dynasty? Three consecutive Final appearances have made it very evident that the Lightning are not going anywhere soon.
They retain all of their top offensive contributors for the upcoming season, and their defense nearly cracked the top five in goals and shots against allowed last year.
The Lightning are an appealing team for potential free agents and trade partners. Even if they keep to the strategy that has worked for them in recent years, they will continue to attract talented individuals.
With the East projected to be the more competitive of the two conferences, it will be difficult to make it four consecutive victories. Nonetheless, if there was a club destined for the challenge, it would be the Tampa Bay Lightning of 2023.