If you like dark horse picks that offer a much bigger return on your investment, and you’re looking for potential teams that could upset the entire apple cart, then you should know that the list of legitimate dark horse picks is short and sweet!
Outside of the top for favorites to win this year’s championship, I believe there are a half-dozen teams that could somehow manage to find a way to beat out their favored – and mostly superior – counterparts.
With that said, let’s get started, and Don’t forget to check our NHL betting lines.
— NHL (@NHL) February 3, 2016
Dark Horse Picks to Win The 2016 Stanley Cup
Tampa Bay Lightning +1800
Sure, the Lightning (27-18) are absolutely mediocre across the board offensively as they rank just 14th in scoring (2.60 gpg) and 15th in power play offense, but Tampa Bay is also ranked seventh in defense (2.30 gpg) and an identical seventh in shots allowed per game (28.2). The Lightning have one of the very best goalies in all of hockey these days in gifted net-minder Ben Bishop, a player that ranks fifth in goals against average (2.03).
Florida Panthers +1800
The Panthers (30-15) are in first place in the Atlantic division and it’s easy to see why – to a certain degree. Florida ranks in the bottom third in three major offensive categories (shots, power play and faceoffs), but has somehow managed to rank ninth in scoring (2.18 gpg). More importantly, the Panthers rank first in defense (2.2 gpg) and fifth in penalty killing (84.0 %) as goalie Robert Luongo ranks ninth in goals against average (2.08). Still, this team will almost certainly need more scoring if they want to leap-frog some of their more elite conference rivals.
San Jose Sharks +3000
The Sharks (26-19) rank inside the top seven in three offensive categories including scoring (2.90 gpg, fourth) and power play offense (22.1%). Unfortunately, San Jose also ranks an uninspiring 19th in defense (2.70 gpg). Ninth-year center Joe Pavelski is having a career year as he’s tied for sixth in scoring (49 points), but unless he can suddenly transform into the second coming of Patrick Roy, the Sharks will likely get outscored at some point in the playoffs.
Anaheim Ducks +1200
The Ducks (23-18) have the league’s best penalty killing unit (89.8%) and a goalie that has been the best in the league this season in John Gibson (1.93 GAA), at least in his 11 wins this season. The Ducks also rank sixth in defense (2.3 gpg), third in shots allowed per game (27.5) and fifth in shutouts (5).
St. Louis Blues +1700
The Blues (29-16) were supposed to really contend this season, but they’ve struggled more than expected. The good news is that St. Louis ranks third in penalty killing (85.5%), eight in defense (2.40 gpg) and sixth in shutouts (4) as goalie Brian Elliott ranks second in goals against average (2.01). Unfortunately, the Blues also rank in the middle of the pack I almost every meaningful offensive statistical category – and an awful 24th in scoring (2.4 gpg).
New York Rangers +1200
The Rangers (27-18) are fifth in scoring (2.84 gpg) and 14th in defense (2.60 gpg), but they’ve struggled on the road this season (9-13-1-2). While the Rangers are good enough to reach the postseason and possibly win a round or even two, I think that’s about as far as they’ll go this season, although anything’s possible. Just remember, this team ranks in the middle or bottom third in every meaningful offensive and defensive statistical category outside of its respectable scoring.