NHL Eastern Conference Betting Guide: Preview, Statistics & Picks

Updated: 239 Ice Hockey

A look at the NHL Eastern Conference for the 2023-24 season, who will win the Prince of Wales Trophy in 2024? We also look in more detail at the Atlantic & Metropolitan division titles.

NHL Eastern Conference Betting Guide: Preview, Statistics & Picks
Andy Powell Content Editor

Horse Racing stats man, Andy has contributed to OLBG for 18 years - An Ipswich fan and F1 fanatic, he also contributes EFL football and Motor Sport opinion.

2023-24 NHL Eastern Conference Betting Guide

This blog will are focusing on the Eastern Conference in the NHL, we will be looking at how last season panned out, which team won the eastern conference title and lifted the Prince of Wales Trophy. Also, we will be looking ahead to the new season, which team will be successful in the upcoming eastern season? We will also be looking at the history of the eastern conference, which franchises have excelled and which have not!

In this blog you will find:

Who Won The 2023 Eastern Conference

Tampa's run of Prince of Wales Trophy success came to an end in 2023 having won it for the previous three seasons, it was the Florida Panthers who won only their second trophy and their first since 1996.

The regular season saw the Boston Bruins clinch the President's Trophy after topping the league and the Atlantic Division with an impressive one hundred and thirty-five points, some twenty-four points clear of the Maple Leafs and thirty-seven clear of Tampa in the Atlantic Division.

Over in the Metropolitan Division, it was the Carolina Hurricanes who finished top for the second consecutive year with one hundred and thirteen points with the Devils and Rangers rounding off the top three who made it into the playoffs.

The two wildcard slots went to the Islanders who missed out automatically by fourteen points and the Panthers who missed out finishing six points off Tampa.

Despite only getting a wildcard spot and being the 8th seed in the eastern bracket, it was the Panthers who best represented the Eastern Conference, they may have finished forty-three points behind the number one seed, the Bruins but it was the Panthers who won the series (4-3) and sent the Bruins packing.

That seemed to give the Panthers all of the confidence in the world which was displayed when dispatching the Maple Leafs 4-1 in the next round and then a clean sweep over the Hurricanes (4-0) to make the Stanley Cup Final.

Those who do a clean sweep in their conference final don't have a great record in the final and this proved to be the case again with the Panthers going down 4-1 to VGK who lifted the Stanley Cup.

ALSO READ

NHL Western Conference Betting Guide: Preview, Statistics & Picks

2023 NHL Eastern Conference Preview

As we head into the new season, the bookies have priced up the Eastern Conference to be closely fought, there is not much in the odds between five teams as they struggle to find a favorite.

Those teams are the Maple Leafs, Devils, Hurricanes, Bruins and Lightning, why not head over to the NHL Predictions page to see who the NHL experts are picking to win the Eastern Conference?

Can the Flyers lift the Prince of Wales Trophy?

The Philadelphia Flyers have made the playoffs in 40 of their 54 seasons and have won 8 conference championships but none since 2010, can 2023 be their year?

Tampa will be popular with the experts, they have won three of the last four championships whilst the Bruins picked up their 18th title in 2019 and they will too be popular to the OLBG hockey experts.

Contenders for the eastern conference championship will change throughout the season, which teams can make a good start and set the pace you may be interested in our NHL System where we look at teams on the road who had just started a winning streak by winning their last game, a system that has proved to be good over the last five seasons.

Will others have a better last period of the season? Whatever stage the season is in, remember to head over to the best NHL handicappers page for daily NHL picks from expert ice hockey handicappers who have shown a profit for their predictions over the past year.

Also, before placing any wagers on the NHL this season be sure to give our Recommended Hockey Sportsbooks guide a read to see which are the best for wagering on ice hockey.

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NHL Stanley Cup Betting Guide: Preview, Statistics & Picks

Which NHL Teams Are In the Eastern Conference

The Eastern Conference, previously known as the Prince of Wales Conference was created in 1974 and changed to the now-known Western Conference in 1981 after a shakeup and put the teams in the Eastern / Western Conference based on geological locations! The conference initially consisted of the Adams Division and the Norris Division, in 1993 the divisions in the Eastern Conference were changed to the Atlantic and Northeast and a further change in 1998 saw a Southeast division added to the conference. In 2013, the conference was split into two divisions, the Northeast division was changed to the Atlantic Division whilst the old Atlantic Division was changed to the Metropolitan Division, this change in 2013 meant that all the franchises in the Eastern Conference now fell under the Eastern time zone.

Atlantic Division

  • Boston Bruins
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Florida Panthers
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division

  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • New Jersey Devils
  • New York Islanders
  • New York Rangers
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Washington Capitals

An Introduction To The Atlantic Franchises

Boston Bruins

Founded in 1924, the Boston Bruins spent sixty-seven years playing their home games at the Boston Gardens before its closure in 1995, they then moved to the newly built TD Garden which has been their home since 1995. The Bruins have seen plenty of success in the past but have also seen plenty of heartbreak too, they have made the Stanley Cup finals a total of twenty times, however, they have one of the worst win percentages for those getting to the finals with just six wins meaning they have lost in fourteen finals and they have won on one of their last eight finals! They have plenty of division championships with a total of twenty-six and have won the President's Trophy on four occasions, they are affiliated with the minor league teams Providence Bruins (AHL) and Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 6 (Last win 2011)
  • Conference Championships: 5 (Last win 2019)
  • Division Championships: 26 (Last win 2020)
  • Presidents Trophies: 4 (Last win 2023)
  • Head Coach: Jim Montgomery

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres are one of the franchises who have the record of never lifting a Stanley Cup, they have made it to two finals losing 4-2 to the Flyers back in 1975 and then 4-2 to the Stars in 1999, they do have six division championships to their name and won the Presidents' Trophy in 2007. They were founded in 1970 and initially played their home games at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium until 1996 when they moved to the KeyBank Center where they still play to the current day. The club has affiliate links with minor league teams Rochester Americans (AHL) and Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) and after missing out on the playoffs in 2020, they have the longest active streak for missing out on the playoffs having not made any of the last nine.

  • Stanley Cup Win: 0
  • Conference Championships: 3 (Last win 1999)
  • Division Championships: 6 (Last win 2010)
  • Presidents Trophies: 1 (Last win 2007)
  • Head Coach: Don Granato

Detroit Red Wings

Despite their success with twenty-four Stanley Cup appearances, eleven Stanley Cup wins, and nineteen division championships, the Red Wings have now gone four seasons without making it to the playoffs, and prior to the last four seasons, the three seasons before that they went out in the first round, you have to go back to 2013 to find their last winning series in the playoffs. They have been based in Detroit since their creation in 1926 although they have undergone some name changes, between 1926-30 they were known as the Detroit Cougars, then between 1930-32 the Detroit Falcons before finally settling with the Detroit Red Wings win 1932. They play their home game at the Little Caesars Arena and are affiliated with the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) and the Toledo Walleye (ECHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 11 (Last win 2008)
  • Conference Championships: 6 (Last win 2009)
  • Division Championships: 19 (Last win 2011)
  • Presidents Trophies: 6 (Last win 2008)
  • Head Coach: Derek Lalonde

Florida Panthers

Founded in 1993, the Florida Panthers didn't take long to make their first Stanley Cup final which they did in just their third season as a franchise, however, they were steamrolled by the Avalanche who went on to win the series 4-0. The Panthers have not had much to shout about since, after that final in 1996 until 2023 when they made the final again, however, they were defeated 4-1 by VGK. During their history have gone on to make nine playoffs, six of which saw them eliminated in the first round or qualifying round and they have won three division championships (2012, 2016 & 2022). The team was initially located in Miami and played its home games at the Miami Arena but in 1998 moved to Sunrise where they have since played its home games at the BB&T Center, they are affiliated with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 0
  • Conference Championships: 2 (Last win 2023)
  • Division Championships: 3 (Last win 2022)
  • Presidents Trophies: 1 (Last win 2022)
  • Head Coach: Paul Maurice

Montreal Canadiens

By far the most successful team in the history of the NHL is the Montreal Canadiens with their thirty-four Stanley Cup final appearances which resulted in lifting the Stanley Cup twenty-four times, which is eleven times more than any other franchise, however, that success has not been recent, in fact, they have not made a Stanley Cup final since winning it in 1993. They made all but three playoffs between 2002 & 2015 but have struggled over the last five seasons making only two playoffs and losing in the first round in both of those. The team has always been based in Montreal and is always known as the Canadiens, they were founded in 1910 and played in the NHA until joining the NHL in 1917, they play their home games at the Bell Centre and are affiliated with the Laval Rocket of the AHL.

  • Stanley Cup Win: 24 (Last win 1993)
  • Conference Championships: 8 (Last win 1993)
  • Division Championships: 24 (Last win 2017)
  • Presidents Trophies: 0
  • Head Coach: Martin St. Louis

Ottawa Senators

Hockey returned to Ottawa after a fifty-eight absence when the Ottawa Senators were founded in 1992, however, they have not matched their namesake who played in the NHL between 1917 & 1934 and won eleven Stanley Cups, the new Senators have made only one Stanley Cup final (2007) where they tasted defeat. They have now failed to make the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, they have won four division championships and picked up the Presidents' Trophy in 2003. Since 1996, the team has played their home game at the Canadian Tire Centre and they are affiliated with the minor league teams Belleville Senators (AHL) and Brampton Beast (ECHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 0
  • Conference Championships: 1 (Last win 2007)
  • Division Championships: 4 (Last win 2006)
  • Presidents Trophies: 1 (Last win 2003)
  • Head Coach: D J Smith

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning's win in 2021 was their third Stanley Cup success having also lifted the cup in 2004 & 2020, they have made a total of five finals having lost in 2015 & 2022, they have won four division championships and picked up the Presidents' Trophy in 2019. They have a good recent record of making the playoffs, prior to their win in 2020, they had made five of the previous six playoffs, lost in the finals in 2015, and lost in the conference finals in both 2016 & 2018 so it was no surprise to see them make three of the last four finals. Founded in 1992 they play their home game at the Amalie Arena which is located in the picturesque channel district of Tampa, the team is currently affiliated with the minor league teams Syracuse Crunch (AHL) and Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 3 (Last win 2021)
  • Conference Championships: 4 (Last win 2022)
  • Division Championships: 4 (Last win 2019)
  • Presidents Trophies: 1 (Last win 2019)
  • Head Coach: Jon Cooper

Toronto Maple Leafs

Founded in 1917, the franchise has remained in Toronto throughout its history despite name changes, it was known as the Toronto Arenas (1917-19), Toronto St. Patricks (1919-27), and then the Toronto Maple Leafs since 1927 and they have played their home games at the Scotiabank Arena since 1999 and are affiliated with the Toronto Marlies (AHL) and Newfoundland Growlers (ECHL). Despite their rich history which includes twenty-one Stanley Cup finals and thirteen times Stanley Cup champions they have struggled in modern times, their last Stanley Cup appearance came when winning it in 1967, that is a fifty-three-year drought and since 2006 they have only made it past the first round of the playoffs once (2023).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 13 (Last win 1967)
  • Conference Championships: 0
  • Division Championships: 6 (Last win 2021)
  • Presidents Trophies: 0
  • Head Coach: Sheldon Keefe

An Introduction To The Metropolitan Franchises

Carolina Hurricanes

Founded in 1972 as the New England Whalers who played in the World Hockey Association (WHA) until 1979, they then joined the NHL as the Hartford Whalers which they played under until 1997 when they relocated to North Carolina and therefore became the Carolina Hurricanes playing their home games at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, they have affiliate links with the minor league team Chicago Wolves who play in the AHL. Having won their first Stanley Cup in 2006, four years after losing in the 2002 finals, they then went on an unwanted run from 2007 to 2018 they only managed to make one playoff (2009), and between 2010 & 2018 they failed to make eight consecutive playoffs but they have made the last five.

  • Stanley Cup Win: 1 (Last win 2006)
  • Conference Championships: 2 (Last win 2006)
  • Division Championships: 6 (Last win 2023)
  • Presidents Trophies: 0
  • Head Coach: Rod Brind'Amour

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets were founded in 2000 and as yet they have failed to lift a trophy having never won a division championship, never won a conference final, and having never seen a Stanley Cup final! In their first fifteen seasons, they only made the playoffs twice, they went on to lose in the first round on both occasions, however, they have made the last four of the last seven playoffs, three of those saw a first-round exit but in 2019 they made it to the conference final which they lost. They have played their home games at the Nationwide Arena ever since their creation and they have affiliate links with the minor league team Cleveland Monsters (AHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 0
  • Conference Championships: 0
  • Division Championships: 0
  • Presidents Trophies: 0
  • Head Coach: Vacant

New Jersey Devils

This team has moved around since being founded in 1974, initially based in Kansas as the Kansas City Scouts where they remained for only two years before moving to Colorado in 1976 to become the Colorado Rockies, they stayed in Colorado for six years before moving to their new home of New Jersey where they have been since 1982 as the Devils. Since 2007 they have played their home games at the Prudential Center which is situated in Newark and they have affiliate links with the minor league teams Binghamton Devils (AHL) and Adirondack Thunder (ECHL). They had a great spell from 1990 through to 2012 where they only missed out on two playoffs and went on to win three Stanley Cups, however, since 2013 they have only made two playoffs, in 2018 they lost in the first round, and in 2023 they lost in the conference semi-finals.

  • Stanley Cup Win: 3 (Last win 2003)
  • Conference Championships: 5 (Last win 2012)
  • Division Championships: 9 (Last win 2010)
  • Presidents Trophies: 0
  • Head Coach: Lindy Ruff

New York Islanders

Founded in 1972, the New York Islanders play their home games at the Nassau Coliseum which is located in Uniondale, Nassau County but they will be on the move when their new arena is completed which will be located close to the racecourse, Belmont Park, the team has affiliate links with minor league teams Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) and Worcester Railers (ECHL). After missing the first two playoffs, the Islanders really made an impact on the NHL, losing in four of the next conference finals but then winning four consecutive Stanley Cup finals (1980-83), they made their fifth final a year later but could not make it five on the bounce. Since 1995, they have been struggling, from 1995 to 2015 they made six playoffs but failed to get past the first round in any of those, they have made it past the first round in three of the last five playoffs though.

  • Stanley Cup Win: 4 (Last win 1983)
  • Conference Championships: 6 (Last win 1984)
  • Division Championships: 6 (Last win 1988)
  • Presidents Trophies: 0
  • Head Coach: Lane Lambert

New York Rangers

Like their fellow New Yorkers the Islanders, the Rangers have won four Stanley Cups, three of those came in the early years of the league with wins in 1928, 1933 & 1940, they also lost three finals in between those wins and after that 1940 success they lost three finals before a much overdue win in 1994 which happens to be their last success, they have only made one final since which was a defeat in 2014. Founded in 1926, their home has been at Madison Square Garden since 1968 which they share with the NBA team, the New York Knicks, the team has affiliate links with the minor league teams Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) and Maine Mariners (ECHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 4 (Last win 1994)
  • Conference Championships: 2 (Last win 2014)
  • Division Championships: 7 (Last win 2015)
  • Presidents Trophies: 3 (Last win 2015)
  • Head Coach: Peter Laviolette

Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers have a very good record of making the playoffs, in fifty-five seasons they have made it out of the regular season and into the playoffs in forty of those, which is a 73% rate of making the playoffs which is phenomenal. However, their conversion rate for a team making the playoffs so often is not so good! They won in their first two appearances in the Stanley Cup finals when winning it in back-to-back years (1974-75) but have lost all six finals that they have made since and their recent playoff record is not great, they have not made back-to-back playoffs since 2012 and the last eleven seasons has seen them get past the first round once and failed to make the playoffs seven times! They were founded in 1967, they play their home games at the Wells Fargo Center and have links with Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) and Reading Royals (ECHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 2 (Last win 1975)
  • Conference Championships: 8 (Last win 2010)
  • Division Championships: 16 (Last win 2011)
  • Presidents Trophies: 0
  • Head Coach: John Tortorella

Pittsburgh Penguins

The 2020 season was the first time that the Pens missed out on a playoff spot (went out in the qualifying round) since 2006, they made every playoff between 2007 & 2019 and they went on to win three Stanley Cups in that time (2009, 2016 & 2017) as well as losing in the 2008 finals. Those three Stanley Cup wins added to their previous two (1991 & 1992) taking their total to five wins making them the most successful franchise outside of the 'Original Six' and they are twice back-to-back winners of the cup. Founded in 1967, they have played their home games at the PPG Paints Arena since 2010 and they have affiliate links with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL) and the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 5 (Last win 2017)
  • Conference Championships: 6 (Last win 2017)
  • Division Championships: 9 (Last win 2021)
  • Presidents Trophies: 1 (Last win 1993)
  • Head Coach: Mike Sullivan

Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals are regulars in the playoffs if you exclude their first eight seasons (1975-82) where they didn't make a single playoff, they then made it to fourteen consecutive playoffs but only made it past the first round in six of those and only making the conference final once. They reached their first Stanley Cup final in 1998 but lost to the Red Wings, since 2008 they have made it to every playoff with the exception of 2014 and 2023, they have gone out in the first round five times including the last two seasons, in 2018, in their second Stanley Cup final, they picked up their first win defeating the Golden Vegas. They play their home games at the Capital One Arena and have affiliate links with the Hershey Bears (AHL) and the South Carolina Stingrays (ECH).

  • Stanley Cup Win: 1 (Last win 2018)
  • Conference Championships: 2 (Last win 2018)
  • Division Championships: 13 (Last win 2020)
  • Presidents Trophies: 3 (Last win 2017)
  • Head Coach: Spencer Carbery

Author Information

Andrew Powell manages our hockey analysis articles, meticulously updating the data for our hockey content on OLBG

Andy Powell

Andy Powell

Content editor

Andy also possesses a keen interest in American sports with a particular affinity for the NFL and the NHL. He follows the Pittsburgh Penguins, emphasizing his broad palette for diversified sporting events.

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