The NHL season is only 25 days away now, and I’m beginning to get antsy with the start of football. Sports are back, and there’s no better time of the year than October. The pennant race is starting to pick up, the NFL has officially kicked off, and college football is in full swing. All that’s left is the start of the NHL season.
With the season right around the corner, I figured it would be a good time to take a look at the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season. According to Vegas Insider the top five teams with the best odds to win the Cup are: Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, and Los Angeles Kings.
Diving a little further into the top ten teams, we begin with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins odds are a favorable 11/2. The Penguins will be a favorite in the NHL for a long time with Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin all locked up with long term deals. The only issue with the Penguins is the absolutely horendous play of Marc-Andre Fluery in the playoffs. He’s fine in the regular season, but has the tendency to crumble under pressure when games begin to actually matter. Pittsburgh is loaded with talent and is a safe bet to take, and whether you like it or not, it’s going to be that way for a while.
The Chicago Blackhawks odds look very safe as well as the Penguins. The Blackhawks sit at 13/2 and would be a safe bet to take in my opinion. The Blackhawks went all the way last season, and had an extremely impressive regular season. The Blackhawks lost a few players, but no key players that should hold them back from making another run this season. Chicago is playing in what I think is the weakest division in the league, and the West is not nearly as threatening as the Eastern Conference. The Blackhawks are locked and loaded to make another push to a Stanley Cup.
The St. Louis Blues have an extremely strong defensive group, and with the addition of Derek Roy in the offseason, the offense should get a nice boost. The departure of David Perron in the trade with Edmonton will bring in youngster Magnus Paajarvi. Paajarvi is young, but is capable of doing what the Blues need him to do. St. Louis will be a tough team to beat, especially in a 7 game series. The Blues will be playing in the same division as Chicago, but if I can see anyone beating Chicago, it would be St. Louis. The only question in St. Louis is in net, who’s going to be the goalie to carry them in the playoffs?
The Boston Bruins came close to finishing out the season as the Stanley Cup champs, but couldn’t quite match the skill level of the Chicago Blackhawks. Boston’s odds sit at 10/1, and they are a very favorable team if you’re a betting man. Boston brought in Loui Ericsson in the Tyler Seguin trade, and he should be able to bring a bit more scoring to the Bruins roster. The addition of Jarome Iginla gives Boston grit, power, and puck skills as well. Boston is a solid team, and a safe bet for most to take. They’re playing in a tough division, but you don’t bet on who’s going to win the division you bet on who’s going to win the Cup. It’s going to take something pretty drastic for the Bruins to fall out of the playoff race at any point this season, and we all saw how Tuukka Rask played in the playoffs last season.
The Los Angeles Kings didn’t have the greatest regular season last year, or the year before, but the team knows how to turn it on when the playoffs start up. The Kings’ odds to win the Cup are 12/1. The Kings have a solid defense, and an offense that is reliable enough to get the job done. Jonathan Quick doesn’t even need to be mentioned, he’s the league’s most clutch goaltender. The Kings are never a bad bet, because you know what they can do in a seven game series. Quick puts them on his shoulders and carries them all the way. To the point that I would argue there aren’t many teams he couldn’t carry deep into the playoffs.