The 2017 NHL entry draft was a resounding NHL betting success for the Vegas Golden Knights. They still have the longest odds to win the Stanley Cup, but at least they’re not alone in that department. Misery does love company, after all.
New Jersey Devils (+12500)
The Devils upset many people who bet on hockey when they passed on projected No. 1 pick Nolan Patrick and went with Nico Hischier instead – who became the first hockey player from Switzerland to be drafted first overall. And presumably also the first to have a sandwiched named after him; the Nico # 1at Newark’s Hobby’s Deli. In addition to the Swiss centre, New Jersey picked two Swedish skaters as their second and third round selections; Jesper Boqvist and Fabian Zetterlund.
Colorado Avalanche (+12500)
The Avs selected defenseman Cale Makar as the 4th overall pick. Makar became the highest drafted player from the Alberta Junior Hockey League. NHL described him as “a dynamic skater who creates offence whenever he is on the ice.” However, people who bet on hockey will have to wait a while to see what kind of impact he has on the Avalanche; Makar will follow in the footsteps of Colorado’s own Tyson Jost and spend some time in college before joining the team. Whether it is only one year – like Jost – or more remains to be determined.
Vegas Golden Knights (+12500)
The Knights’ NHL betting odds improved slightly but still enough to be on par with the two aforementioned teams following the draft. Forward Cody Glass became the franchise’s first ever pick as the sixth overall selection in the draft. Glass led the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League with 69 points (32 goals and 62 assists), which also ranked him 7th in the league.
Meanwhile, in the upscale part of town…
Pittsburgh Penguins (+860)
The Pens’ top acquisition was not a draft pick per se but a draft day trade, in which they sent their first round pick – and Oskar Sundqvist – to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Ryan Reaves and a second-round pick in 2017 (51st overall selection Zachary Lauzon). Reaves had seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 80 regular season games with the Blues in 2016-17.
Edmonton Oilers (+1025)
The Oilers picked right winger Kailer Yamamoto with the 22nd overall selection in the first round. He had 84 goals, 143 assists and 227 points in 190 regular season games with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League between 2014 and 2017. Yamamoto has often been compared with Calgary Flames left winger Johnny Gaudreau.
Chicago Blackhawks (+1225)
The ‘Hawks selected Finnish defenseman Henri Jokiharju 29th overall in the first round. Jokiharju led all Western Hockey League rookie defensemen with 48 points (9 goals and 39 assists) and four power-play goals in 71 regular-season games in the 2016-17 season. Additionally, he recorded eight multi-point games and finished fourth on the Portland Winterhawks with a +14 plus/minus rating during his first season. Chicago is no stranger to being a NHL betting fave, but failed to meet expectations last season.