NHL to make, miss playoffs: Our best, worst preseason predictions
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Let's dive into our preseason article pointing out the best bets to make/miss the playoffs.

We can't break these down by the good and bad, as all four looked likely to come down to the final week of the season, so we are going pick by pick.

The picks

Winnipeg Jets: No playoffs (+150)

A run of four successive wins just before the season got suspended thrust the Jets back into the playoff mix, though they had the disadvantage of playing one more game than all the teams around them. If the season did end up being played out, I think the Jets would have ended up missing the playoffs.

My criticism of the team's depth down the middle turned out to be justified, as was my concern about their thin defensive corps, but was I ever wrong about Connor Hellebuyck. "Hellebuyck took a step back and resembled the goalie he was in 2017 more than he did the Vezina nominee we saw in 2018. Now, In three years as a starter, he's been average twice. Which season sounds like the outlier here?"

His 2018 season sure doesn't seem like an outlier now. He's been the best player on this team for stretches this season and without his exploits, the Jets would have already been well out of the playoff picture.

Carolina Hurricanes: Yes playoffs (-160)

Admittedly this would have turned out to be closer than I originally expected, but the Hurricanes were absolutely making the playoffs. After loading up at the deadline, Carolina was looking likelier to make a deep run than they were to miss out on the postseason altogether. Looking at the standings, the Hurricanes were an overwhelming favorite to claim the top wild-card spot.

"Carolina has an elite group of young forwards and should be a lock to make the playoffs this year. If sophomore Andrei Svechnikov takes the leap toward becoming the elite scorer he was expected to be when he was drafted, this team could be looking at a division title."

Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho both made the jump, but a lack of depth scoring is what held this team back. A lot more was expected out of Ryan Dzingel and Nino Niederreiter. I was also infatuated with the Canes' defensive depth, but injuries to Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce hurt their cause.

Calgary Flames: No playoffs (+180)

This prediction was probably the most questionable. With 79 points, the Flames were holding down third in the Pacific Division, but the Vancouver Canucks were just a point back with a game in hand. Finishing ahead of the Canucks was their best chance to make the playoffs, because their odds likely weren't great in a muddled wild-card race with the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild each holding games in hand.

My main concern surrounded Calgary coming off a season in which almost all its top players set career highs in points. I expected regression, and regression I got. None of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, or Sean Monahan produced anywhere close to their 2018-19 totals and the Flames were in a desperate battle for a playoff spot because of it.

New York Rangers: No playoffs (-150)

Kudos to the Rangers for making this closer than I expected it to be. They were left for dead a month-and-a-half ago before going scorched earth on the rest of the league to pull into the wild-card race. The odds were still stacked against them, but they certainly weren't out of it.

My biggest issue with the Rangers was how all the hype surrounding them following a busy offseason had people overlooking the lack of depth on their roster. Depth scoring has proven to be a big issue for them, but the reason they're still in the mix is because Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad have quite remarkably been able to do it all on their own. At least I look good for saying "Zibanejad is excellent."

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

NHL to make, miss playoffs: Our best, worst preseason predictions
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