NHL Offseason Odds Movement: Leafs, Senators Odds Move After Free Agency

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on July 18, 2022
Maple Leafs odds

It’s often said that a week is a lifetime in politics, but it’s also true in the NHL. Team fortunes can be made or broken in the week between the NHL Draft and the start of free agency. This year, the two Ontario teams were at the heart of that, with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ never-ending goalie carousel being filled and the Ottawa Senators making a real run at relevance after years in the wilderness. How did their moves affect odds for the Maple Leafs and Senators?

Below, we’ll take a look at how each fared in free agency.

Toronto Maple Leafs Odds

To bet on Maple Leafs futures odds, click in the table below.

Let’s start with the Maple Leafs odds and action this week. They moved down in the draft to dump an overly-expensive contract for an oft-injured, sometimes mediocre goalie– Petr Mrazek. They sent Mrazek and a first-round pick to Chicago and added a similar player from Ottawa in Matt Murray.

Ottawa has been wanting to get off Murray for a year now (with no takers), likely because he is often hurt or not very good. He’s a former Stanley Cup winner (2016, 2017) but he’s been fairly brutal since. He put up a sub .900 save percentage in his final year in Pittsburgh before the pandemic and, in the two pandemic seasons since, has only played 47 of a possible 138 games. In a Senators uniform, he’s only put up a .899 save percent.

The Leafs let Jack Campbell go for nothing because they didn’t want to pay him $5 million per season for five years. But they did take Murray’s deal– with Ottawa retaining 25%– at $4.7M for two years. Campbell was an All-Star last year whose career save percentage in a Leafs uniform was a .916, which many see as a downgrade.

The unwillingness to pay Campbell and the fact that Murray is now a starting goaltender (when he was the third-best goalie in Ottawa last season) means the Leafs have taken a huge step back this offseason. Even if Murray is better than he’s been in Ottawa, the chances of him putting up a .916 save percent are vanishingly slim.

Leafs Future Outlook

How could you bet this team to win anything when they’ve taken a monumental step back from the team who couldn’t make it out of Round 1 last year? They lost Ilya Mikheyev (a 20 goal scorer for them last season) and Ilya Lubushkin, a key defensive defenceman who was playing top pair minutes for much of the back half of last season, and have only made signings at the fringe of their roster.

With John Tavares on the wrong side of his aging curve and with a realistic prospect Auston Matthews will regress after becoming only the third player in the Salary Cap Era to score 60 goals in a season, the Leafs are in big trouble coming into this season.

The Leafs are still one of the favourites at most sportsbooks () and the books know that Leafs Nation will believe in this team, but they’ve taken a real, credible step back this summer, and they’re further away from the Cup than they’ve been in years.

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Ottawa Senators Odds

To bet on Senators futures odds, click in the table below.

Up the 417, however, the Leafs’ provincial rivals, the Ottawa Senators, have used this last week to get better. They’ve put themselves squarely in the conversation for the playoffs and maybe even more.

The Sentators landed Alex DeBrincat (a 40 goal per season player from the Chicago Blackhawks) for a handful of picks in last week’s draft and no future assets, which will bolster an offense with plenty of talent but not much consistency.

They also offloaded Murray. Ottawa saved $4.7 million off the cap for the next two seasons for the cost of a third- and seventh-round pick, which aren’t much for a team who has drafted many times in the middle rounds as their rebuild has gone on.

Ottawa used that cap space to acquire Cam Talbot from Minnesota for essentially nothing, trading a cheap backup goalie for Talbot straight up. Talbot– a .911 save percent goalie last year– represents a perfect tandem to pair with breakout sensation Anton Forsberg. That means the Sens will have solid goaltending for all 82 games next season.

Senators hit the jackpot in offense

The biggest part of this offseason was Claude Giroux coming home to Ottawa, giving the Senators a veteran presence in the locker room and adding a consistent, high level scorer to the offence. A presence like Giroux has been sorely needing in Ottawa, who has struggled with inconsistent offence from their young and burgeoning stars.

They still need help on the back end, but the second round pick they got for Connor Brown will help in getting it. The Sens have gone from a laughing stock in the league to a real contender for a playoff spot– now the 10th team in Stanley Cup odds in the East. They’re behind a couple of teams with real questions moving into next season.

Ottawa is a serious sleeper to make some noise next season and their odds show it. The Senators’ Cup future price went from 75-1 to 50-1 in the last week. If they make the Playoffs they can easily make a run, as the 2017 Predators, 2018 Golden Knights, and 2021 Canadiens show. They have the offensive weapons to get hot.

It all comes down to goaltending and offensive consistency, but knowing that they’re not playing in front of a bad goalie will help the Sens play better hockey. That, and another year of development for their rookies, means they’ll be serious players next season.

2023 Stanley Cup Odds

To bet on any team, simply click the odds in the table below.

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