NHL futures: Best bets for the 2023-24 season
We've identified the best bets for most of the major awards in the lead-up to the 2023-24 NHL campaign.
Now it's time to dig into the best of the rest and some of the niche markets I see value in.
Sharks worst regular-season record (+275)
The Sharks are going to be bad. Next level bad. No team won fewer games than the Sharks last season, and that was while having Timo Meier on the roster for most of his 40-goal campaign. Not to mention, Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson put up more than 100 points.
Both of those players are gone, leaving the Sharks almost completely devoid of high-end talent. Tomas Hertl and an aging, banged-up Logan Couture are all they have left - and they have next to no support.
The likes of Alexander Barabanov, Luke Kunin, Anthony Duclair, and Mike Hoffman are penciled in as top-of-the-lineup wingers, while the projected top pairing features Mario Ferraro skating alongside Jan Rutta, who was a cap dump this past offseason.
This team is going to be at a massive talent disadvantage every single night, and the goaltending is nowhere close to good enough to compensate.
A tandem of Kaapo Kahkonen and Mackenzie Blackwood is as bad and unstable as you'll find in the NHL. Kahkonen was truly dreadful last season, posting an abysmal .883 save percentage over 37 appearances.
Blackwood isn't exactly a reliable alternative. The 26-year-old once looked promising, but his play has fallen off a cliff in recent years. He's managed just a .893 save percentage over 47 appearances in the last two seasons.
With two goaltenders coming off sub-.900 seasons being relied upon to backstop a team that should bleed chances each and every night, the Sharks will be as close to a free two points as you'll see.
I think they're by far the league's biggest threat to finish dead last.
Kirill Kaprizov over 43.5 goals (-115)
Kaprizov has been a menacing goal-scorer since the day he stepped into the NHL. He's scored 114 goals through 203 regular-season games, which equates to 46 goals per 82 games.
Kaprizov is on an upward trajectory as well. He netted 47 in 2021-22 and took things up another notch last season, scoring 40 times in just 67 games. With better health, he would've flirted with 50.
He's incredibly good at generating shots, and the Wild rely on him more than almost any forward in the league. His usage jumped up two minutes per game last season, with Kaprizov averaging more than 21 minutes per night.
Getting him the puck is priority No. 1 for the Wild. He'll be spoonfed all the ice time he can handle, which is a recipe for gaudy totals with how efficient he is.
If Kaprizov can stay healthy and play in even 70-to-75 games, I think he'll go over this number rather easily.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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