The Washington Capitals are Stanley Cup champions for the first time in franchise history. In the midst of their excessive celebrations in the days following their Cup win, Alex Ovechkin delivered a promise that they will be back on the biggest stage next season. The Capitals are easily one of the most talented teams in the NHL. However, only one team has won back-to-back Stanley Cups in the salary cap era and now they’ve lost head coach Barry Trotz. Can Washington make history and repeat as Cup champions next season? Clearly, the oddsmakers at BetDSI Sportsbook aren’t expecting it. Here is a look at the early favorites to win the Stanley Cup in 2019.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the outright sports betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup at +900 odds. Tampa Bay, which pushed the Capitals to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, will return all of its key players and has a chance to add to its talented roster in free agency and the draft. The Lightning finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference this season with 113 points. Now they will look to take that next step as a legitimate Stanley Cup threat.
Right behind Tampa Bay is a group of four teams listed at +1000 odds which includes the defending Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights, the Winnipeg Jets, the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. On the surface, it appears as though Vegas would have a difficult time getting back to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, the Golden Knights have plenty of young talent set to take the next step at the NHL level and a ton of cap space and draft picks to add to their roster. The Jets will look to reload after falling to Vegas in the Western Conference Finals and there is no reason to think they can’t challenge for the Stanley Cup next season. Meanwhile, Boston is loaded with veteran talent but will need more from its young guns in order to get over the top. Perhaps the most questionable team in this group is the Maple Leafs, which haven’t advanced past the opening playoff round since 2003-04. Toronto is an intriguing young team with some exceptional talent but unless they upgrade significantly this offseason it’s hard to imagine this team will win a Stanley Cup next season.
After that group of four are the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators at +1100 odds. Both of these teams were expected to go all the way this year and fell short so it makes sense that they would be in the mix once again. Considering their status as two of the top clubs in the NHL, +1100 odds is pretty good value for betting on either Pittsburgh or Nashville. The Penguins couldn’t win every year but after falling short they will be motivated to get back to the top of the mountain next season. Meanwhile, the Predators have nothing to show for back-to-back seasons in which they were expected to contend so the urgency will be ramped up in 2018-19. The defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals fall in right behind Pittsburgh and Nashville at +1400 odds. Washington might be able to keep its core group together but repeating as Cup champions will be a tall order.
Beyond the top contenders there is some intrigue with teams like the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks available at +2200 odds to win it all in 2019. Both teams have talented veteran cores but will need to reload around them if they are going to make a serious run. The San Jose Sharks are another intriguing sleeper pick at +3000 odds. The Sharks looked like a legitimate contender after adding Evander Kane at the trade deadline and will have cap space to add to their current roster. A couple of key moves could result in San Jose making a deep run next season. A lot can change over the course of the summer with the draft, free agency and trades. If you think any one of these teams has a legitimate chance to contend, it might be a good idea to put some money down on one or two Stanley Cup futures now.
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