In Depth Report on the Super Early NHL Betting Odds to Win the 2017 Stanley CupThe Penguins’ four titles are tied with the Detroit Red Wings, the last team to repeat, for the most since 1991, the year of the Penguins’ first championship. The Penguins are 4-0 in games in which they had a chance to clinch the Cup on the road. Among teams to debut since the NHL’s first expansion in 1967-68, the only team with more Stanley Cup titles is the Oilers with five, all between 1984 and 1990. Sidney Crosby became only the third player to win the Conn Smythe despite not scoring a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals — joining Scott Niedermayer of the Ducks in 2007 and Jonathan Toews with the Blackhawks in 2010.
Crosby of course will be back next season. The Penguins will have a full season of Sullivan, and they’ll have their deep, speedy lineup in place from day one. It’s entirely possible they get a useful asset if GM Jim Rutherford decides to move Marc-Andre Fleury. His former backup young Matt Murray, proved in this postseason that he’s a franchise goalie. Plus, with Fleury earning $5.75 million per season through 2018-19, it doesn’t make financial sense to keep him.
The Chicago Blackhawks, who have won three Cups this decade but weren’t ever able to repeat, are +1000 to win next year’s Cup. The Blackhawks lost in the first round against the St. Louis Blues in what was one of the best series of this postseason. They still have maybe the top duo in the NHL in Toews and Patrick Kane, but the problem is they take up $21 million in salary-cap space. The team didn’t have a ton of depth this season because it was so tight against the salary cap.
The Washington Capitals also are +1000. Of course they had the most points in the NHL during the regular season but lost to the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Penguins’ speed gave the Capitals problems at times in the second round of the playoffs. After the top three of John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner, this is a blue-line corps that thins out in a hurry. If the NHL salary cap rises to its anticipated $74 million this summer, the Caps will have roughly $15.5 million to sign three forwards and one defenseman this offseason. But from Alex Ovechkin to Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov to John Carlson and Vezina Trophy finalist Braden Holtby, this is a core that has the ability to still contend again in 2016-17.
The San Jose Sharks are +1400 to win their first Cup. The Sharks lost to the Penguins in part because they didn’t have an answer for Pittsburgh’s depth up front. The Sharks’ third defensive pair was exposed at times as well. So that’s where the Sharks may look to reload. The problem with falling short as the Sharks did, is that it’s really, really difficult for the Stanley Cup runner up to get back to the final right away. No team has done that since the Penguins lost in the 2008 Final before winning the 2009 rematch with the Red Wings.
Your long shots for next year’s cup at the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs at +6600. I actually believe the Sabres have a chance to make the playoffs on betting odds. The Leafs are a few years from being any good.