Caufield Injury Makes Canadiens Worse, But NHL Lottery Could Be Salvation

Caufield Injury Makes Canadiens Worse, But NHL Lottery Could Be Salvation
By Mark Keast
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Who has the best odds to win the NHL draft lottery and choose No. 1 this summer is more and more becoming a topic of discussion. Those using Ontario sports betting sites would do well to pay attention.

Teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets are debating whether to strip their rosters as the March 3 trade deadline approaches, which will give them a better chance of finishing last in the standings.

Well, to the consternation of legions of fans across the league, the Montreal Canadiens are also in the thick of that race to the bottom. Montreal (20-25-4) was 26th overall in the league as of Friday afternoon with 44 points.

Ontario betting apps give Montreal, last in the Atlantic Division, virtually no chance of rebounding this season.

It has been quite a fall for a team that reached the Stanley Cup final in the 2020-21 season before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games.

The franchise with the most Stanley Cups ever (24) is listed at +50000 to win the Eastern Conference this season with DraftKings Ontario Sportsbook.

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Canadiens Eyeing Connor Bedard

The NHL has a draft lottery system for the 16 teams that miss the playoffs. The lower a team finishes in the regular season standings, the better their chances of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the lottery – and that’s going to be 17-year-old forward Connor Bedard, touted as a generational talent.

Bedard, a North Vancouver native who plays for Regina of the WHL, has an elite-level understanding of the game. He is quick and fast, reminding observers of Mitch Marner or Patrick Kane, so he would be a difference-maker for any NHL team that gets him. Any team that finishes in the bottom five will feel like they have a great shot at getting him.

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Cole Caufield Loss Hurts Already Struggling Canadiens

The Canadiens just lost Cole Caufield for the season, after the team announced he will undergo right shoulder surgery Feb. 1. Caufield, just 22, was on pace for more than 40 goals. He’s a key cog on that team, one of the foundations the Canadiens are looking to build around as they work to re-emerge as NHL contenders. utilized and to find the outcomes of the games without Caufield over the past two full seasons that he has had in the NHL. 

We attempted to find trends to tell an NHL betting story about the Canadiens without Caufield.

Over the past two seasons, the Canadiens’ record without Caufield is 4-13. Their average goals per game without Caufield is 2.64. Their average goals per game with Caufield, however, is 3.02.

Caufield, who ends his season with a team-high 26 goals in 46 games, said Friday that he would have played through the injury if the Canadiens had been in playoff contention, according to He has 10 assists and is second on the team with 36 points.

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Odds of Canadiens Landing Top NHL Draft Pick

So you get the picture – his absence leaves a gaping hole in that lineup. According to today, the Canadiens currently have the fifth best chance to win the draft lottery – 9.1% (Columbus, with the fewest points in the league, has the best chances at 14.3%). 

Caufield’s absence, and the upcoming trade deadline, with players like Joel Edmundson and Sean Monahan reportedly available, should improve those odds of Montreal landing the top draft pick.

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Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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