Eastern Conference Teams Strengthening Rosters: Widening the Gap Between Conferences in NHL

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Over the past few months, the Eastern Conference has gained an upper hand in the NHL, dominating interconference play and widening the gap between the two conferences. This shift in power has resulted in the Eastern Conference being heavily favored to win the Stanley Cup.

 

In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind the Eastern Conference’s success, including their superior underlying metrics and home-ice advantge. We’ll also take a look at the individual teams’ performances, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, and how they’ve bolstered their rosters in anticipation of the Stanley Cup playoffs and what impact this might have on the NHL down the stretch.

Stanley Cup Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook:

DraftKings Sportsbook has listed the Eastern Conference as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup (-160) and the best Stanley Cup odds reside in the East, with four of the top five teams hailing from the conference.

Here are the top-10 teams:

  • Boston Bruins +475
  • Colorado Avalanche +600
  • Carolina Hurricanes +650
  • Toronto Maple Leafs +850
  • New York Rangers +1200
  • Tampa Bay Lightning +1200
  • Edmonton Oilers +1400
  • Vegas Golden Knights +1400
  • New Jersey Devils +1500
  • Dallas Stars +1500

 

The Eastern teams have showcased superior performance, boasting high puck possession and shot attempt percentages. Additionally, the conference houses eight out of the top ten offensive teams in the NHL along with some of the best goaltenders such as Igor Shesterkin, Ilya Sorokin, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Linus Ullmark, Vitek Vanecek, and Frederik Andersen.

 

One of the major reasons behind this shift is the home-ice advantage. This season, the home win percentage stands at 52.6%, and Eastern teams have won 53.2% of home games in their conference, which jumps to 60.1% when they host Western Conference opponents. Only five teams from the East have lost more games than they’ve won versus teams from the West.

Team
Home Win Percentage vs Western Conference
New Jersey
12-3 (80 percent)
Tampa Bay
11-2 (84.6 percent)
Boston
11-3 (78.6 percent)
Toronto
10-4 (71.4 percent)
Columbus
9-5 (64.3 percent)
Pittsburgh
9-4 (69.2 percent)
Rangers
9-5 (64.3 percent)
Islanders
9-7 (56.4 percent)
Carolina
9-5 (64.3 percent)
Detroit
8-4 (66.7 percent)
Montreal
8-8 (50 percent)
Philadelphia
6-8 (42.9 percent)
Buffalo
6-7 (46.2 percent)
Washington
6-8 (42.9 percent)
Ottawa
6-9 (40 percent)
Florida
5-7 (41.7 percent)

 

The Eastern teams have also been successful on the road, winning 51.4% of their games against Western Conference teams. Teams like the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Toronto Maple Leafs have bolstered their already strong rosters by adding stars like Dimitry Orlov, Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and Bo Horvat. Moreover, superstars such as Patrick Kane (Rangers) and Timo Meier (Devils) are rumored to be linked with Eastern teams, indicating that the skill gap between the conferences is likely to become wider as Western Conference teams are more likely to be sellers at the deadline.