National Hockey League Teams

Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
16 minute read

Betting on the NHL can often be complicated and confusing. Once you realize it is quite simple, then betting on hockey becomes a routine for pilling up some cash. The good news is the experts at Safest Sports Betting Sites follow the NHL closely and will have a ton of advice to help you shred the NHL betting odds. The NHL might not be as famous as perhaps the other three major sports in the United States, but those who follow it, absolutely love it.

The fans will usually put money on their favorite teams like the Boston Bruins, the Chicago Blackhawks, and Pittsburgh Penguins because they know the team. They follow it every night. But our experts have the inside around all the NHL franchises and should give you an edge when finding the best NHL betting lines.

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Is It legal To Bet On The NHL?

is it legal to bet on the NHL?Over the 50 states in the United States of America, legal sports betting is allowed in eight states. For a long time Nevada was the only state with legal sports gambling, but when the Senate passed the bill in 2018, seven more states joined the party. New Jersey has come out as the strongest making a lot of money since licensing sports betting in the state. But also Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island have done well.

The NHL has accepted betting as a part of the business. Just months ago the league approved a multi-year partnership with MGM to share sports betting data. The sportsbook William Hill also has a connection with the New Jersey Devils that will get then access to the Devils’ home, the Prudential Center. Hockey and gambling are pretty much in a marriage that is set to last for a long time.

Then there is the elephant in the room; of course, this being sports betting online. Despite eight states allow sports gambling only five have permission to do it online: Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi. The NHL and the other leagues will allow sports gambling everywhere as long as they get a cut. It’s pretty much a given that all major sports leagues want a piece of the cake. Any statement they put up going against sports betting is nonsense or merely a smokescreen.

The beauty about betting on the NHL or any other league is you don’t really need to go to a local sportsbook to place a bet. There are several betting sites online who offer every NHL betting line on a nightly basis. The satisfaction of betting on hockey and actually making money while enjoying the sport is a unique feeling.

New betting fanatics need to find a reliable sportsbook that offers fast payouts, great signing bonuses, a broad portfolio of NHL betting odds and an excellent customer service. If you have no idea where to start, don’t worry about it. Our group of experts will lead you to the best sportsbooks available.

NHL Hockey Conferences

The NHL is divided into two Conferences; the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each Conference is divided into two divisions. The East does have one more team than the West with a 16 to 15 ratio. When the expansion team from Seattle enters the league, then it will be even out.
NHL Easter conference teams betting

Boston Bruins – Bet On The Bruins

Boston Bruins BettingThe first-ever American team in the NHL owns six Stanley Cup wins, with the last one coming in 2011. The Bruins are in the Atlantic division, and the most hated rival is the Montreal Canadiens.

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres wagersThe Sabres are one of the few teams in the NHL which has never won the Stanley Cup. They reached the finals twice but lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1975 and to the Dallas Stars in 1999. Its main rival is the Boston Bruins.

Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes logoThe Hurricanes won the 2006 Stanley Cup over the Edmonton Oilers. It gave the state of North Carolina its first ever championship in professional sports. Carolina reached the finals previously in 2002 but lost to Detroit.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets logo The Blue Jackets are one of the teams with very little to brag about since they entered the NHL in 2000. Columbus is the only team in the league which has never won a playoff series. In fact, the first time they reached the postseason was in 2009.

Detroit Red Wings – Bet On The Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings team bettingBack in the 90s, the Red Wings were one of the best teams in the NHL, earning two of their 11 Stanley Cups during that era. Detroit is part of the Original Six and played in the Western Conference from 1993 until 2013 when they returned to the East.

Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers team logoThe Panthers reached the Stanley Cup finals in 1996 but failed to win it, losing to the Colorado Avalanche. They are one of the teams that have never won the Stanley Cup.

Montreal Canadiens – Bet On The Canadiens

Florida Panthers logo
The club’s official name is le Club de hockey Canadien, and they are often referred to as the Habs. The Canadiens have won an insane amount of Stanley Cups, 24 to be exact. They are the franchise with the most Stanley Cup wins in the NHL. Although they haven’t lifted one since 1993.

New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils logoThe Devils had a tremendous winning run from 1995 until 2003, where they won the Stanley Cup three times during that span. The Devils were known for their defense-first approach throughout their years of Stanley Cup success.

New York Rangers

New York Rangers team logoThe Rangers are one of the Original Six. It is considered the most valuable franchise in the league. New York has won only four Stanley Cups, with the last one coming in 1994. The number one rival is the New Jersey Devils.

New York Islanders

New York Islanders wagering The NY Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cup championships between 1980 and 1983. It is one of the eight dynasties recognized by the NHL in its history. They haven’t won the title since 1983.

Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators NHL logoOttawa has never won the Stanley Cup. In 2003, they won a Presidents’ Trophy and reached the finals in 2007 which they lost to the Anaheim Ducks.

Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers bettingThe most successful run of the Flyers came from 1973 to 1975 when they won two Stanley Cups. Philadelphia hasn’t reached the finals since 2010, and their only two titles came in the ’70s.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Bet On the Penguins

Top Pittsburgh Penguins team logoThe Penguins are one of the most famous NHL teams. Their recent success came from the ’90s until this point. Pittsburgh has won the Cup five times, with the last one coming in 2017. The Penguins are tied for the most Stanley Cup championships among non-Original Six teams, the other one being the Oilers.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning NHL logoOften referred as Bolts, Tampa Bay won its only Stanley Cup in 2004. They reached the finals once again in 2015 but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. This season they won the 2018–19 Presidents’ Trophy, which is an award given to the team with the best regular season record in the NHL.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs bettingAccording to Forbes, the Maple Leafs are the second most valuable franchise in the NHL, after the New York Rangers. Toronto has won the second most Stanley Cups with 13, but they haven’t reached the finals since 1967.

Washington Capitals – Bet On The Capitals

Washington Capitals logoThe drought of the Capitals finally came to an end in 2018. It was only the second time Washington won the Stanley Cup. For years the Capitals have had teams filled with talent that failed to deliver.

Best NHL Western Conference Teams To Bet On

Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks logoThe history of the Ducks is almost a fairytale story. The franchise was founded in 1993 by The Walt Disney Company as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The name was based on the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks. Anaheim won their only Stanley Cup in 2007.

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes logo The franchise now called the Coyotes used to be Winnipeg Jets back in the 70s. At some point, they were known as the Phoenix Coyotes. The team has never reached the Stanley Cup finals and has only won one division title back in 2012.

Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames team logoThe Flames are one of two NHL franchises in Alberta; the other is the Edmonton Oilers. Every time the Flames and the Oilers meet the matchups are part of the “Battle of Alberta.” Calgary won their only Stanley Cup in 1989.

Chicago Blackhawks – Bet On The Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks wagers The Blackhawks are another member of the Original Six. Chicago is one of the most successful franchised in the NHL winning six Stanley Cups while reaching the finals ten times. From 2009 until 2015, they won three Cups.

Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche team logoColorado was one of the franchises that were part of the World Hockey Association before being swallowed by the NHL. The Avalanche won two Stanley Cups twice in 1996 and 2001. They have won nine division titles, including eight in a row from 1995 to 2003. It is the longest such streak in NHL history.

Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars NHL logoThe Stars’ only Stanley Cup triumph came in 1999. They reached the Stanley Cup finals once again in 2000 but lost to the New Jersey Devils. Dallas has also won two Presidents’ Trophies as the top regular season team in the NHL.

Edmonton Oilers

the Edmonton Oilers logoBack in the day, the Edmonton Oilers were the Alberta Oilers. In 1973 they took the name for the city of Edmonton. They have won five Stanley Cups, winning their first in 1983 and the last one in 1990. The Oilers reached the finals for the last time in 2006 but lost to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles Kings NHL team logoThe Kings are part of the first expansion of the NHL in 1967, but their history is not great. Los Angeles has won the Stanley Cup finals in 2012 and 2014, but it took them 45 years to get their first title.

Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild nhl team logoThe Wild have never been in a Stanley Cup final. The most they did was winning a division championship in 2008. In the 2002–03 season Minnesota made its first Stanley Cup playoffs appearance. They made a surprising run to the Conference Finals.

Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators logo nhlFounded in 1998, the Predators are one of the “new” teams in the league. It took Nashville five seasons to reach their first Stanley Cup playoffs. In 2017 they got to the finals for the first time but lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks logoFounded in 1991, the Sharks were the first NHL franchise based in the San Francisco Bay Area since the California Golden Seals. San José reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2016 but lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sharks have never won the Cup.

St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues nhl team logoFunny story, the team is named after the famous W. C. Handy song “Saint Louis Blues.” No Stanley Cups appearances or wins for the Blues. They have nine division banners, and one Presidents’ Trophy earned in the 1999-2000 season.

Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks team bettingThe Canucks have one of the most passionate fan bases in the NHL despite never having won the Stanley Cup. They reached the finals three times and failed each time. Vancouver has won the Presidents’ Trophy in back-to-back seasons as the team with the league’s best regular season record in the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons.

Vegas Golden Knights

The NHL Vegas Golden Knights Team LogoThe Golden Knights were an expansion team in 2017-18. That same year they reached the Stanley Cup finals, losing to the Washington Capitals.

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets NHL Team LogoThe Jets started as the Atlanta Thrashers in the 1999–2000 NHL season. The franchise was purchased by new owners and they moved the team to Winnipeg in 2011. They don’t have division championships or Stanley Cup appearances. Winnipeg has reached the playoffs twice

NHL Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup might be the most famous of the Trophies in Americans Sports. It’s kinda like the holy grail of trophies. It was named after Lord Stanley of Preston in 1899, who was the Governor General of Canada and loved hockey. He made several donations to the sport. Unlike the other trophies in American Sports, which remain with each winner, the Stanley Cup is not made annually. The champ keeps the cup until another franchise is crowned. In this case, the Washington Capitals are in possession of the cup until another team wins the next one. The most noticeable tradition is drinking from the Cup.

Betting on the Stanley Cups FinalsIt started back in 1896 when the Winnipeg Victorias drank some champagne out of it. The biggest superstition around the Stanley Cup is that no player should touch the Cup itself until his team has rightfully won it. The Stanley Cup finals are a pretty impressive event, even if they don’t draw the same attention as the Super Bowl of the NBA finals. Betting on the Stanley Cup is fun and very profitable.

Bettors don’t have to wait until the end to bet on it. An NHL future bet can be made either picking the Cup winner or even selecting the two teams that will meet in the finals for the right to hold the Stanley Cup. Those bets are beyond profitable because it takes months to hit the winner. The bettors will find significant value on betting so far ahead in the future. There are millions of dollars wagered in the Stanley Cup finals every year, especially when teams from big markets get to the last stage.

Last season the Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knight in an unusual final matchup. Washington is one of the biggest cities in America who happen to follow their sports closely. Las Vegas is the gambling city of the United States. Those two teams meeting in the Stanley Cup finals was an odd thing but profitable for those who gamble on hockey.

During the Stanley Cup finals betting fans can wager on the money line choosing which team will eventually win each night. The puck line is kind like betting the spread on football or basketball. Lastly, there is the game total, which will give bettors the chance to bet over or under the number set by the NHL sports betting sites.

Key Hockey Player Positions

A team at full strength will have six players on the ice, with five position players and a goalie. There are several intense discussions about who is the best player in the history of the NHL. The center Wayne Gretzky seems to be at the top of every list. Gretzky played 20 seasons in the NHL and was known as “the great one”.

He’s the leading scorer in NHL history. Gretzky has more goals and assists than any other player in the history of the league. Martin Brodeur is recognized as the best goalie ever. Most recently center Sidney Crosby has cracked the list of best all-time players. Crosby remains active with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

NHL key hockey positions


The goalie position might be the most important in all the NHL. A solid goalie can carry with a franchise, especially during a playoffs run. His job is to stop the shots coming from the opposition; basically, keep the puck out of the net. You can bet on clean sheets or the over/under goals a goalie will allow on a determinate game.


Most teams play with two defensemen; one per side. Their main job is to cover space when the attacking players go upfront. The defensemen can attack as well, but the main task is to keep the team in an excellent position to not be surprised by any attack. Usually one of the defensemen is physical and the other a little more creative.

Right Wing

The right-wing works on the right of the ice most of the time. His defensive responsibility is the left defensemen from the opposite team. The right wing needs to be fast to both attack and defend the corners.

Left Wing

It has a similar approach as the right winger, but because lefties are rare to find, they are considered the finest players. Some teams use right-handed players on the left to have better-shot angles.


From the position players, the center is the most critical piece in the puzzle. A good center can do it all; from assisting to scoring every time he gets a chance. The center needs to be a playmaker for his team and coaches usually look for a player with a high position IQ and scoring abilities. An excellent center will have a deep impact on his squad success during both the regular season and the playoffs.

NHL Game Rules

There are basically two essential rules to play hockey in the NHL, and those are the offside rule and the icing. The rest are pretty much tied up to score and the penalties.

  1. Game Length – An NHL game last around two-and-a-half hours by standard time. It’s divided into three periods of 20 minutes each. The clock will stop whenever a penalty is committed.
  2. How To Win In Hockey – A team will win the game by adding more goals than the opponent. A goal is scored whenever the puck has legally crossed the goal line.
  3. Offside – The offside rule is often misunderstood. The offside is called when an attacking player enters the attacking zone before the puck. An attacking player is defined by the team with the possession of the puck.
  4. Icing – Icing is a little complicated for many, but it’s not hard to understand. An icing call happens when a player shoots, hits or deflects the puck from his team’s side to the goal line of the opposite team without being touched by any player from the opposition.
  5. Hockey Fights – around the world of the NHL hockey fights are one of the most famous features of the sport. Technically, it is allowed, but it has a few rules to follow. When a fight starts, the remaining players need to clear the ice and go to the bench. The players fighting are not allowed to remove their helmets before the fight. As soon as a player falls on the ice, the fight is over.

NHL History

NHL historyThe NHL is considered the premier professional ice hockey league in the world and one of the top sports leagues in North America. The National Hockey League was born in November 1917, after its predecessor, the National Hockey Association, failed to remain operating. With the disappearance of the NHA, the NHL took the spot as the main hockey league in America to never look back.

The Early Days Of The League

When the NHL started, it had only four teams. All were from Canada. The league had its inevitable expansion to the United States in 1924 when the Boston Bruins became the first team in the league from the USA. Then, the NY Rangers, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Detroit Red Wings replaced other four teams from Canada. The “Original Six” teams lasted from 1942 to 1967 until the next league expansion. Besides the four teams from the United States, the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs were also part of the early NHL.

NHL League Growth

In 1967, the league added another six teams getting to the point of 12 total. The six new teams were the California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the St. Louis Blues. By 1970 the NHL added the Vancouver Canucks along with the Buffalo Sabres. The league made an effort to put two more Canadians teams as the pressure from Canada fans increased. While technically Buffalo is not in Canada territory is located on the Canada–US border.

In 1972 the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames came to join the NHL from the World Hockey Association. By 1974 there were 18 teams, and a year later the total was up to 21, with the addition of the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts. The Scouts later became the New Jersey Devils.

The NHL absorbed the Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques and the World Hockey Association stopped its operations.  The league waited around 11 years to have another expansion. In the next wave in the early 90s the San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Atlanta Thrashers joined the league. Also, the Minnesota North Stars became the Dallas Stars. In 2000 the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets were added to the list of teams, getting up to 30 franchises in the NHL.

Current NHL, Its Future, Chances For Hockey Betting Growth

The NHL is aiming to go up to 32 franchises in total, just like the NFL. In 2017, Las Vegas finally had an official team on the ice named the Vegas Golden Knights. It was announced Seattle will get a team for the 2021-22 season. The league is not aiming to be the most popular of the sporting leagues in North America, but they do want to expand the viewership and fandom. The NHL has one of the most loyal fan bases in the world, and it’s proven with full arenas every night.

The NHL has also the annual Winter Classic played in the first days of the calendar year. The game is usually played on an outdoor stadium with a bigger capacity than the usual arenas. The Winter Classic started in 2008 and has become of the league’s biggest hits. In 2014 they broke the record of overall attendance for an NHL game, with more than 105.000 people at the Michigan Stadium, in Ann Arbor.

The sports gambling future for the league is bright; especially with the NHL embracing the betting partnership with MGM entertainment. But also having teams like the New Jersey Devils and the Vegas Golden Knights in states where sports betting is legal, The NHL hasn’t resisted changing, and that is excellent news. More teams will be inclined to make a deal with big sports betting companies soon. The general public will feel comfortable betting on the NHL. It will become a mainstream part of the hockey and entertaining experience the league provides.

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About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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