The Pittsburgh Penguins are the defending Stanley Cup champions and are co-+700 favorites to repeat this June. But since no team has hoisted the Stanley Cup in back-to- back years since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98, I’m just going to assume that Pittsburgh won’t win it next summer despite having the best hockey player in the world in Sidney Crosby and pretty much every key player back. Here are other top contenders to win the Cup and their NHL odds.
Check Out the Early 2017 Stanley Cup Odds Favorites
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) September 30, 2016
Washington Capitals (+700)
The Capitals dominated the 2015-16 regular season in winning the President’s Trophy with 120 points. But they were not able to become the ninth team in league history to win that trophy and the Stanley Cup, losing in six games to Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The last President’s Trophy winner to hoist the Cup was the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012-13. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings accomplished the feat in 2007-08. The others were: the Edmonton Oilers (1986-87), Calgary Flames (1988-89), New York Rangers (1993-94), Dallas Stars (1998-99), Colorado Avalanche (2000-01) and Red Wings (2001-02). The Caps have one of the top goaltenders in the NHL (Braden Holtby) and one of the most prolific goal-scorers in history (Alex Ovechkin). Holtby tied an NHL record for wins (48) and won the Vezina Trophy last year. Ovechkin the NHL in goals (50) for the sixth time and is the third player in NHL history to have at least seven 50-goal seasons.
Chicago Blackhawks (+800)
The Hawks have won three Cups this decade but were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by St. Louis and lost some key guys this offseason due to the salary cap. GM Stan Bowman had to move Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen for cap reasons. The lone forward addition was fourth-line right wing Jordin Tootoo, and the most significant acquisitions were free agent defensemen Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, a 25-year- old rookie from the Kontinental Hockey League. But the Hawks still have Jonathan Toews and reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+1000)
If you are asking me my Cup champion right now, it’s the Lightning. They lost in the Stanley Cup Finals two seasons ago in six close games to Chicago and had Pittsburgh down 3-2 in last year’s East Finals but dropped the final two games. No team has more young talent. Many thought that star forward Steven Stamkos would leave in free agency, but the team was actually able to sign him a very team-friendly deal worth $8.5 million per season. Stamkos looks to return to form in 2016-17 after registering just 64 points in 77 games this past season and missing all but one of the Lightning’s playoff games in route to the 2016 Eastern Conference Final due to a blood clot injury. In the days after inking Stamkos, Yzerman also locked up Victor Hedman (eight years, $63 million) as well as Andrei Vasilevskiy (three years, 10.5 million) and Alex Killorn (seven years, $31 million).
St. Louis Blues (+1200)
The Blues finally overcame the hurdle that was the Blackhawks in the playoffs and reached the conference final for the first time since 2001, losing to the San Jose Sharks in six games but did it with a veteran-laden group. St. Louis will rely on youth this season after losing captain David Backes (Boston Bruins), right wing Troy Brouwer (Calgary Flames) and left wing Steve Ott (Detroit Red Wings) in free agency, and trading goalie Brian Elliott to the Flames. Jake Allen, who had shared goaltending duties with Elliott the past two seasons, has been entrusted as the No. 1 goalie. And there’s still plenty of stellar forwards on this squad.
Los Angeles Kings (+1500)
Los Angeles led the Pacific Division for much of last season and finished one point behind the Anaheim Ducks for first place, only to be eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference First Round. The Kings have no playoff series victories since winning the Cup in 2014. That just means they are due. Forward Anze Kopitar won the Selke Trophy following a 74-point campaign. Defenseman Drew Doughty captured the Norris Trophy after he notched 51 points while averaging 28:01 of action. The Kings did lose excellent winger Milan Lucic in free agency. Their core of Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Doughty, Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin and goalie Jonathan Quick remains one of the NHL’s best. Don’t bet against the Kings in overtime as they were 12-3 last year.