While the new threads – part of the NHL’s Next Gen initiative – are exciting on an aesthetic level, the team’s newest defenceman making his debut is far more compelling from a competitive standpoint.
Mark Giordano was acquired from the Seattle Kraken on Sunday, along with forward Colin Blackwell, in exchange for two second-round draft picks plus an additional third-round selection.
The former Kraken captain and longtime Calgary Flames stalwart is set to make his Maple Leafs debut at home against the Devils.
Will the 38-year-old pending unrestricted free agent and Toronto native be able to contribute on the scoresheet Wednesday when he steps on the ice in front of fans, family and friends in attendance?
“It has been a team I’ve followed my whole life,” Giordano told reporters following his first practice with his new teammates. “There’s a lot of history with this organization, but it’s special to be able to say that you’re from here and you played for the (Maple Leafs).”
With Petr Mrazek starting for Toronto tonight and John Gilles the likely starter for the Devils, the game’s total is set at the high mark of an even 7.0 goals with neither netminder having a great season.
The Maple Leafs are also seeing chalk money on the puckline (-1.5 is set at -130; Devils +1.5 is +110 and New Jersey is +250 on the moneyline), indicating oddsmakers are projecting a high-scoring game in which the Leafs likely win by multiple goals.
Imagine the reception if Giordano can score a goal in his debut.
There was limited selection on Giordano prop bets as of Wednesday afternoon since it’s his first game with a new team and it’s unclear exactly how Sheldon Keefe will utilize the 2019 Norris Trophy recipient and how much playing time he’ll receive.
You can find Giordano goal odds, though, if you’re interested in riding with Toronto’s newest blueliner.
Giordano’s anytime goal odds against the Devils are +400. If you bet him to score either the first or last goal of the game, you’d get +2800 value on both.
Keep in mind, he only has six goals on the season and has scored just twice since Jan. 1.
There are three other games on the slate tonight.
The Penguins visit the Sabres on SN NOW, the Canucks travel to face the Avalanche on SN1 and recent trade deadline sellers Chicago and Anaheim meet in California on SN NOW Premium.
Rakell’s first point with the Pens?
Pittsburgh picked up a 5-1 win over Columbus Tuesday. Travelling on no rest is a tough ask for any team and they face a Buffalo squad that has won four of their past five outings, allowing only five goals against in those wins.
Newly acquired winger Rickard Rakell recorded two shots on goal in 14:08 of ice-time playing on a line with Jeff Carter and Kasperi Kapanen.
Carter has 21 goals and 35 points in 41 career games against Buffalo. Can the veteran centre help Rakell post his first point(s) with his new club on Wednesday?
Rakell’s anytime goal odds versus the Sabres are +235 (first/last goal +1600) and his anytime power-play point odds were set at +360 just in case he gets some time on the second unit. Fading his anytime PP point is a chalky -525.
Like Giordano above, and other debuting players, Rakell had a limited prop selection as of Wednesday afternoon.
Three other players expected to make their debuts Wednesday on Sportsnet channels include: Artturi Lehkonen (COL), Andrew Cogliano (COL), Travis Dermott (VAN) and Brad Richardson (VAN), all of whom had their longshot goal odds posted.
– Lehkonen anytime goal +310 (first/last goal +2200)
– Cogliano anytime goal +400 (first/last goal +2500)
– Richardson anytime goal +750 (first/last goal +4500)
– Dermott anytime goal +1500 (first/last goal +7500)
There’s obviously tremendous value here if anything hits, however playing time and involvement on special teams are the variables here.
In Lehkonen’s case, he might not even suit up.
Acquired from Montreal on Monday, Lehkonen practised with his new teammates Wednesday, but Avalanche coach Jared Bednar told reporters the forward’s status is up in the air due to his immigration status.
Lehkonen ranked third on the Canadiens with 13 goals in 58 games this season prior to the trade.
Cogliano only registered four goals during his time with the San Jose Sharks and hasn’t scored in four weeks.
Richardson hasn’t scored since late November and Dermott’s lone goal of the 2021-22 campaign happened in early December, which is partly why their odds are so lofty.
All betting odds via the DraftKings sportsbook as of Wednesday afternoon