Can the Pittsburgh Penguins be the first team since the 1980’s New York Islanders to win three consecutive titles? Will one of the seven Canadian teams bring the Cup back North of the border for the first time since 1993? Will this be the year that Alex Ovechkin wins his first title and shakes the stigma of not being a big game player?
Here’s a quick look at some of the futures odds for the upcoming seasons and the team odds of winning the Stanley Cup this season from Bet365. New Canadian customers can collect a $200 cash bonus when you make your very first deposit. Bet365 accepts Canadian Visa, Mastercards, Instadebit, IDebit, Entropay, and PaySafeCard deposits among others. Visit Bet365 Canada
Pittsburgh Penguins (9.50): It’s not surprising to see the Penguins atop the list of favourites to win the Cup this year having won it in each of the last two seasons. This year should be another quality one for the Pens as the core of players from the last two championship teams is in tact. Sidney Crosby is still at the top of his game and Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang continue to be workhorses in key positions. With Marc-Andre Fleury out of the picture we’ll get our first look at how goaltender Matt Murray responds to a full season of work.
Edmonton Oilers (10.00): The Edmonton Oilers are the top ranked team out of the Western conference to win this year’s Cup. The Oilers turned a lot of heads last postseason as they won their first playoff round in nearly a decade and pushed the Anaheim Ducks to the brink in the second round matchup. Face of the franchise Connor McDavid was a shining star last year in his second season winning the Art Ross, the Hart and the Lindsey Trophy and is arguably the most explosive player in the league. The offensive talent is there, this team’s success will depend on the the goaltending of Cam Talbot and the defense play.
Washington Capitals (13.00): Back to back Presidents’ Trophies have equated to absolute heartbreak for a team that has done nothing but underachieved in the postseason. The Capitals are loaded with talent and Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby are amongst the best in the league at their positions but it hasn’t translated into the ultimate success for this group. Head coach Barry Trotz will likely be on the hot seat this season if this team comes out of the gate sluggish to start the season.
Tampa Bay Lightning (13.00): The Tampa Bay Lightning are expected to rebound in a big way this season after missing out on the playoffs a year ago. The injury plagued season last year seemed to have overshadowed the fact that Nikita Kucherov had one of the best single seasons in recent history as he lead the team in scoring with 40 goals and 45 assists in just 74 games. This team is loaded with high end talent with Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Ondrej Palat and newly acquired blue chip prospect Mikhail Sergachev who came over via trade with Montreal in the Jonathan Drouin deal and is expected to jump right into the top two pairings.
Anaheim Ducks (13.00): The Anaheim Ducks quietly go about their business and are amongst the best teams in the league on regular basis. Last year’s Pacific division champions should be in the fold once again this year for another deep playoff run as Ryan Getzlaf is one of the more underrated players in the game. John Gibson is a solid netminder and the team brought in veteran Ryan Miller to play the backup role which is better suited for both player and team. The defense corps is deep and the duo of Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen is also one of the least talked about in the league despite combining for 64 points last season.
Toronto Maple Leafs (14.00): This is not a typo, there are only five teams ranked higher than the Toronto Maple Leafs with respect to the preseason Stanley Cup betting odds. The Leafs had a strong second half last season and earned the final playoff spot in the East and took the Presidents’ trophy winning Capitals to six grueling games (five went to OT) in what was really a coin flip series. Auston Matthews is the real deal face of the franchise and will look to build off a 40-goal rookie season. Mitch Marner and William Nylander also appear to be big league pros coming off impressive rookie seasons, and goalie Freddy Andersson settled in quite nicely after a shaky start to the season. The question mark with this team is how will the group of Morgan Rielly, Nikita Zaitsev and Jake Gardiner fare as the now elder statesmen of the blue line. They won’t sneak up on anyone this season but are loaded with talent!
Chicago Blackhawks (15.00): The Blackhawks were the Western conference’s top seed a year ago and for the second straight season they bowed out in the opening round of the playoffs. The alarming news for the Hawks is the fact they were shut out in their two home games and ultimately were swept out of the playoffs in four straight games. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are still amongst the elite in the game and the veteran defense corps is above average. It’ll be interesting to see how the team responds to bringing back Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp as both players won titles with Chicago before departing as free agents. This is a well coached group of veterans and should be in the mix for another Central division crown.
Nashville Predators (15.00): Music city quickly became the place to be last spring as the Nashville Predators captured the hearts of many fans en route to their first ever Stanley Cup Finals appearance that ultimately ended in heartbreak. They stormed into the playoffs last year with a four game sweep over the Blackhawks and looked solid the whole way through the playoffs. Goaltender Pekka Rinne was one of the key reasons the team played so well as the veteran seemingly turned back the clocks to a few years ago when he was arguably the best backstop in the league. Roman Josi, PK Subban, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm make up one of, if not the best group of defensemen in the league, and Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen are two very promising bright young snipers.