No team in the NHL has repeated as the Stanley Cup champion since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98. Can the Pittsburgh Penguins buck that trend next season? Oddsmakers don’t think so as the two favorites at +800 on betting lines are the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. The Penguins are right behind those two at +900 along with Dallas on betting lines.
Brief Analysis on the 2017 Stanley Cup Betting Picks
— NHL (@NHL) June 20, 2016
It’s tough to project too much for the 2016-17 season until we see how free agency plays out. But the Blackhawks seem to have already gotten worse. That’s because they traded one of their top young players, Tuevo Teravainen, to Carolina in order to shed Bryan Bickell’s big salary. The 21-year-old Finn Teravainen had 35 points in 78 games last season but has tons of promise.
The Blackhawks needed to get rid of Bickell’s $4 million cap hit, but in order for someone to take it on, they had to sweeten the pot. The sweetener was one of their prized young players and a former first-round draft pick. The Hawks got back a 2016 second-round draft pick and 2017 third-round draft pick. If that trade enables the Hawks to re-sign restricted free agent Andrew Shaw, then maybe it’s worth it.
The Blackhawks now have approximately $61.8 million tied up in players for next season. GM Stan Bowman said at the team’s closing meetings that he wanted to keep Shaw in the fold. Artemi Panarin, who had a fantastic rookie season with the Blackhawks, would become a restricted free agent following the 2017-18 season. So the team is hoping to lock him up as well. The National Hockey League has yet to determine a number for the 2016-17 salary cap ceiling, but it’s not expected to be a big jump — if at all — from the $71.4 million cap ceiling set in 2015-16.
The 2016-17 NHL season begins Wednesday, Oct. 12 with four games, including the first ever game at the Edmonton Oilers’ new home (Rogers Place) when they host the Calgary Flames in the battle of Alberta. That same night the Blackhawks will host the St. Louis Blues, while the San Jose Sharks, who lost to the Penguins in the Cup Finals, take on the Los Angeles Kings. The next night the Penguins will celebrate the fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history when they have their banner raising ceremony against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals in a rematch of their second round series from the 2016 playoffs.
Did you know that Pittsburgh and New York City are the only cities to have celebrated a major sports championship in each of the past six decades? New York has multiple teams in all four sports; Pittsburgh never has had an NBA team.
The Stanley Cup will go to the NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas this week, then crisscross the country to attend the NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, N.Y. After that, the Penguins will divvy up their time with it, making sure everyone gets a moment. The NHL allows no more than 52 names to be inscribed on the Cup from each winning team, and that list has to include players, coaches, team staff and management. A player must have at least 41 games played with the team in the winning season, or one game played in the Stanley Cup.
I say the Capitals and Stars face off for the 2017 Cup — but, again, things can change in free agency.