The 2018 MLB season may be steamrolling towards its annual postseason period while the NFL slowly inches closer toward its midway point. The 2018-19 NBA season isn’t far off and LeBron James is nabbing headlines because of his move to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
While the NHL isn’t getting nearly as much attention as the aforementioned trio of major North American sports, it should be, particularly seeing as how the 2017-18 season was undoubtedly one of the most memorable seasons in NHL history.
Not only did the expansion Vegas Golden Knights nearly make history by becoming the first expansion franchise in all four major North American sports to win its league championship, but widely respected veteran Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals won the first Stanley Cup Trophy in franchise history.
Now, with the start of the 2018-19 NHL season set to get underway on Wednesday, October 3, let’s take a look at the current odds to win the 2019 Stanley Cup while I offer up some thoughts on some of the teams that could end up hosting this coming season’s Stanley Cup hardware.
Updated 2019 Stanley Cup Odds to Win – October 1st Edition
- Tampa Bay Lightning 8/1
- Winnipeg Jets 8/1
- Toronto Maple Leafs 10/1
- Nashville Predators 12/1
- Pittsburgh Penguins 12/1
- San Jose Sharks 12/1
- Vegas Golden Knights 14/1
- Washington Capitals 14/1
- Boston Bruins 16/1
- Columbus Blue Jackets 25/1
- Edmonton Oilers 25/1
- Philadelphia Flyers 25/1
- St. Louis Blues 25/1
- Los Angeles Kings 28/1
- Anaheim Ducks 33/1
- Calgary Flames 33/1
- Dallas Stars 33/1
- Chicago Blackhawks 40/1
- Colorado Avalanche 40/1
- Florida Panthers 40/1
- Minnesota Wild 40/1
- New Jersey Devils 40/1
- Buffalo Sabres 50/1
- Arizona Coyotes 66/1
- Carolina Hurricanes 66/1
- New York Islanders 66/1
- New York Rangers 66/1
- Montreal Canadiens 75/1
- Vancouver Canucks 75/1
- Detroit Red Wings 100/1
- Ottawa Senators 200/1
Last season, Tampa Bay (54-23-5) ranked first in scoring (3.5 gpg) and 13th in goals allowed (2.9 gpg) and finished with the most wins and points (113) in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, the Lightning came up short in the conference finals for the third time in the last four seasons while getting shut out by Ovechkin and the Capitals in Games 6 and 7.
Still, I’m expecting Tampa Bay to be right back in the mix to win it all next season because they’ve still got a loaded roster with about six all-star caliber performers including Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Ryan McDonagh, and Anton Stralman.
I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m expecting Winnipeg to reach the Western Conference Finals at the very least this coming season.
Last season, the Jets (52-20-10) ranked a phenomenal second in scoring (3.3 gpg) and fifth in goals allowed (2.6 gpg). Winnipeg has one of the game’s very best young scorers in 20-year-old Patrik Laine, plus center Blake Wheeler and goalie Connor Hellebuyck are now, elite stars in their own rights.
The Maple Leafs (49-26-7) ranked third in scoring (3.3 gpg) and a respectable 12th in goals allowed (2.8 gpg) to finish third in the Atlantic division behind Tampa Bay and Boston. Toronto has a legitimate superstar in young center Auston Matthews another near star in right winger Mitchell Marner plus they added veteran center John Tavares this offseason.
The Penguins (47-29-6) struggled out of the gate last season, but then they caught fire for a long stretch late to finish behind Washington in the Metropolitan division. Unfortunately, the Pens had their dreams of winning four straight Stanley Cups come to an abrupt halt by losing to Washington in the playoffs.
Still, while Pittsburgh clearly missed the contributions of veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, they’re going to contend again this coming season because they still have a pair of superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, whom they both signed to long-term deals. Pittsburgh finished third in scoring last season (3.3 gpg) and became the first team since the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning to have three players finish among the top 10 in scoring (Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Crosby).
The Sharks are one of the top favorites to win it all in 2018-19, but I’m not buying it right now. San Jose went 45-27-10 last season to finish third in the Pacific Division behind Anaheim and Vegas. San Jose will also have a sense of urgency heading into the new season, but they didn’t improve their roster very much in the offseason after missing out on John Tavares and Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Knights were undoubtedly the biggest and best story in all sports a year ago as they took the NHL by storm despite being an expansion franchise that was expected to play like one.
Vegas (51-24-7) added veteran Paul Stastny on a three-year deal and I can only believe that joining stars like all-star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, center William Karlsson, left winger Jonathan Marchessault and right-winger Reilly Smith is going to make Vegas even more dangerous this coming season. At +1400, they’re almost a must-bet for the value they’re offering.
Even after winning it all, Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals just can’t get the love they deserve. That’s okay though, the +1400 return should Washington be able to repeat, is stupendous. Alex Ovechkin is still just 33-years-old and playing at a high level.
The Caps have another elite scorer in 26-year-old center Evgeny Kuznetsov, an excellent goalie in Braden Holtby and another veteran center that leads the NHL in assists since 2012-13 (324) in 30-year-old Nicklas Backstrom.
The Bruins are one of middle-of-the-pack ‘sleepers’ seeing as how they’re just a 16/1 pick to win the Stanley Cup despite going 50-20-12 to finish with the fifth-most points in all of hockey and just one point behind Toronto in the Eastern Conference. Boston was outstanding at both ends of the ice in ranking sixth in scoring (3.3 gpg) and fourth in goals allowed (2.6 gpg).
The Bruins have a young star in 22-year-old right winger David Pastrnak that provides scoring as well as veteran right-winger Brad Marchand who had 85 points last season to equal his career high. Veteran goalie Tuukka Rask was nothing short of amazing in going 31-6-3 with a 2.19 GAA, .923 save percentage and three shutouts from Nov. 29 until the end of the regular season. Despite their modest odds, I think it’s quite possible Boston could win the East.