The NHL season might only be a month old, but there are some obvious trends to follow at the current time. Among them is to isolate hockey teams that are struggling at this time.
This does not suggest that they will not improve at some point of the season, but right not these squads are playing like they are wearing two left skates and are tripping over the blue line. Let's look at why you should avoid or bet against these teams right now. These clubs are in no particular order and are equal opportunity losers.
Florida Panthers (-7.5 units)
Florida won the Atlantic Division three years ago with 103 points, cratered the following year to 81 points, bounced back last season with 96. Having missed the playoffs by a single point, the Panthers came into this campaign believing they had rekindled the spirit and the stability and were ready to press on.
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Instead, Florida been a disaster at 3-8 SU, their defense ranks 26th in goals allowed and there special teams are 24th with a man advantage and 27th in penalty killing.
The ownership group likes to meddle, but this team is run of the mill talent-wise and relies on cohesiveness. At present, the latter is not apparent.
Los Angeles Kings (-8.2 units)
It has been just over four years since the Los Angeles Kings were the kings of the NHL and Stanley Cup champions. As it has turned out, the Kings were the last of the way hockey used to be played in the NHL. They had big players who could control the middle of the ice and pound opposing teams into submission on the boards.
But those days are over as the league has gone to faster skating and more open ice. Los Angeles has made some adjustments but at least to this point not nearly enough. The Kings are last in scoring and 29th in power-play chances. With goalie Jim Quick out at least six weeks if not longer, there are no easy answers for an L.A. turnaround.
Detroit Red Wings (-2.6 units)
It has been ugly for this proud franchise. Detroit has gone from a perennial playoff and Stanley Cup champion to a doormat. The Red Wings are outscored by 1.3 goals a game and that is what happens when you are in the bottom 20 percent in the league in scoring and keeping pucks out of your own net.
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Among the problems for Detroit is their younger veteran players have not stepped and assumed their proper leadership roles. It's hard enough to win when you have the right talent, but when you don't somebody in charge to assure a team effort on a nightly basis, that is how you lose consistently.
New York Rangers (-1.9 units)
The Rangers are actually a better bet than Pittsburgh, San Jose, and Vegas, but don't look for that to hold up. The Rangers are in rebuilding mode and at last check, oddsmakers have yet to make them a favorite this year and only one of their victories has come in regulation. (A lucky 4-1 on OT).
In this era of hockey, you have to be able to score and the Blueshirts are lacking in snipers who can find the back of the net and they rank 27th. The New York front office has stated they are committed to the rebuild, which suggests at some point the Rangers will start losing more repeatedly and not have good fortune shine on them.
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