A Breakdown of the Latest NHL Odds To Win The Stanley Cup
by Doug Upstone Scores & Statson
By the time you read this, every team in the NHL will have played at least 30 games (others, two to three more), which signifies the hockey regular season is at least 36.5 percent completed.
With this in mind and the next barrier the halfway point of the year, let's take some time and review the latest NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup.
Of the major sports, hockey without question is the hardest to predict, because a few hot goal-scorers and a nearly unconscious goaltender can knockout favorites in a seven-game series. But that's a problem to deal with in April, not December.
Here is a look at the contenders, pretenders and long shots at this time. The listed odds are courtesy of Intertops.
Tampa Bay (+350) has been the class of the league to this juncture. The Lightning has no obvious weakness and with their No.1 goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy back from a broken foot, Tampa Bay's defense should only improve.
Before the season started Toronto (+400) was the actual Cup favorite having signed free agent John Tavares. The Maple Leafs still have plenty of time in to catch the Lightning in the Atlantic Division and their stats are similar to Tampa Bay's they just have to protect the home ice better, with just a 9-6 SU record.
Nashville (+800) remains the best bet from the Western Conference. Their defensive depth has allowed the Predators to permit the fewest goals per game, however, the offense will have to pick at some point being middle of the road.
The other two teams that are in the discussion are Pacific leader Calgary (+1200) and Winnipeg (+1400). The Flames expected to step this season and they have as the rest of the Pacific was laboring until the last few weeks. The Jets could well pass Nashville in the Central and their season stats are on par with the Lightning and the Leafs.
One could criticize this writer of this article for not including the Stanley Cup champs Washington (+1400) in the above group. That would be a legitimate point, especially with how the Capitals have started to play and knowing they should have their full team back next month sometime. We'll leave it this way for now and revisit the situation later.
Colorado (+1400) is a fascinating team to follow. The Avalanche are one of the best offensive teams in the league and if they make a trade or two for defensemen, they could make real improvement. Having played the fewest home games of any team to this point, the Avs could make a run, being 7th in scoring differential.
After being the ultimate long shot a season ago, Vegas (+2500) seems have forgotten about losing the Cup last summer and they have played much better recently and made a significant move in the standings. You don't count the Golden Knights out until they are eliminated.
When San Jose (+2500) traded for Erik Karlsson, it was thought the Sharks would have plenty of bite. San Jose has gotten lousy goal-tending and been atrocious at 5-on-5 hockey. The talent is in place, but this sleeping giant has to want it.
Any team with the star power and overall potential of Pittsburgh (+2800) cannot be counted out. Netminder Matt Murray has been awful and the third and fourth lines are not producing yet. If those players fix themselves, the Penguins are still the Penguins.