Let's look at some of the betting odds and predictions for the potential playoff teams of the NHL 2013-14 Stanley Cup run.

People who make their hockey sports picks should keep in mind that there’s a new NHL playoff format. As it stands now, each conference will have two divisions (instead of three) and the top three teams in each division automatically qualify. Beyond that, there’s a pair of wild card teams that can get in regardless of division. 

Image previewOn that note, here’s our predictions for how the 2013-14 playoff seedings will look: 

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

-People who make their NHL picks know that the Pens are sure thing in the regular season. It’s the playoffs where they – and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury – become frail. 

2. Detroit Red Wings

-The Red Wings are underrated. They nearly knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs and then added Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss to the roster. They’ll be a team to be reckoned with. 

3. Philadelphia Flyers

-I expect a bounce-back year from this team. Between goaltenders Ray Emery and Steve Mason, they’ll do enough in net. The Flyers scoring will once again be elite.

4. Boston Bruins

-No reason to see the Bruins drop out of the playoffs. Good team that got better by adding Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs

-The Leafs are a young team on the rise. David Clarkson and Dave Bolland help shore them up down the middle. Between James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier, they’ll have quality netminding.

6. Montreal Canadiens

-The Habs were a young team that figures to improve. With steady play from Carey Price, they’ll be back in the playoffs but not as high of a seed this time.

7. New York Islanders

-Another young team that should be better based on experience. John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo are all a year older and should be better.

8. Washington Capitals

-Tough team to gauge but with Alex Ovechkin still around, they’ll be in playoff contention. They’d be a more popular sleeper had they found a way to keep Mike Ribeiro.

Check out my article on the NHL Stanley Cup Most Undervalued~

Western Conference

1. Chicago Blackhawks

-The Blackhawks’ roster wasn’t pillaged like it was the last time they won the Stanley Cup. They re-signed Corey Crawford and Bryan Bickell, and should again be one of the top teams in the NHL.

2. St. Louis Blues

-It would be nice if the Blues found some scoring but having one of the best goaltending trios and a stellar blue line will make them a Cup contender.

3. Los Angeles Kings

-After a year off, the Kings will be back. Offense might still be a bit of an issue but Jonathan Quick and one of the league’s best defensive corps will carry them.

4. Anaheim Ducks

-Ducks traded away Bobby Ryan but should still be just as good. The move might actually provide much-needed scoring depth. As long as Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller play like they did last season, this team will be good.

5. Vancouver Canucks

-The Canucks could be a sleeper. New head coach John Tortorella will light a fire under this underachieving team of veterans. Maybe that’s the spark they needed.

6. San Jose Sharks

-Sharks won’t be a Cup contender but they’ll have another steady regular season along with an early playoff exit.

7. Minnesota Wild

-Adding Matt Cooke and having Jason Pominville for a full season will give them a big boost. They’ll be back in the playoffs.

8. Winnipeg Jets

-This is the year they finally squeak in. They play in a very weak division and that’ll help their cause.

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