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Rookie Debuts Differ; So Do Teams

Posted by Webster Washington on 12/27/2015 4:05:34 AM

All season we are supposed to compare rookie hotshots Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, because the Nos. 1 and 2 draft picks were far and away the tops of their class. But things haven’t quite worked out for either of the young phenoms. One has been injured much of the season, and the other hasn’t exactly lit up the scoreboard. Still, it’s worthwhile to take a look at the two players and their differing situations to see if there’s discernable keys to betting on their teams.

Difficult Debuts

You could say that both Eichel and McDavid have fallen on hard times. Edmonton’s McDavid broke his clavicle sliding into the boards in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 3 and hasn’t played since. He’s expected back on the ice for the Oilers sometime around mid-January. Eichel’s debut for the Buffalo Sabres has been more subtle, because he simply appears to be a work in progress. The Hobey Baker Award winner as the top college player a year ago, has nine goals and seven assists in 34 games, going into Saturday’s game at Boston. He likes to shoot and shows flashes of play that warrant the hype. But he also displays the type of mortality that indicates he’s a normal rookie on a normal learning curve.

On McDavid’s side of the comparison ledger is a production rate before the injury that is much higher than Eichel’s. McDavid put up 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in the 13 games before he went down. So the anticipation of his return holds much more anxiety. Sabres fans simply hope Eichel will come around.

It appears McDavid will have more help around him when he returns to action. Forward Leon Draisaiti has filled in nicely in McDavid’s absence, picking up 21 points in just over a month. He and linemate Taylor Hall (39 points this season) should be able to do much of the point-getting the rest of the way.

Factors Make Betting Odds Better

Those factors and the fact that the Oilers are in a weaker division and conference than the Sabres, make Edmonton and McDavid a more appealing choice for betting during the rest of the season. The Oilers may not have the stuff to advance in the playoffs. But when McDavid gets back into the swing of things, they’ll be a handful for most anyone. Barring other happenstance, if you can find the Oilers with a plus figure in the moneyline betting odds, take the money and run, particularly if they’re playing in Edmonton.

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