Thursday, June 21, 2018
stanley cup

Examining Post-Free Agency Stanley Cup Futures

With the dust settling from what has appropriately been dubbed, “Free Agent Frenzy”, the focus shifts to the future with the rosters for all 31 NHL teams almost complete. The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins remain the sports betting favorites to win it all again. However, there is definitely some interesting movement at the top in terms of the betting odds. Here is a look at the best bets to win the Stanley Cup following the NHL free agent frenzy period.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Odds To Win 2018 Stanley Cup: +750

The Penguins aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin still represent the best 1-2 center combination in the NHL. Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist and Conor Sheary have been outstanding filling out the remaining top-six spots. Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta are entering their prime years on the back end with Kris Letang still in the mix. Matt Murray is now the unquestioned franchise goaltender. Pittsburgh wasn’t a major player in free agency by any means. However, they retained nearly all of their key pieces and as long as they stay healthy they will be ready to make another Stanley Cup run in 2018.

Edmonton Oilers

Odds To Win 2018 Stanley Cup: +1200

The Oilers have arrived. Connor McDavid is under contract with Edmonton for the next 11 years. He should be even more dangerous next season with another full year of experience and development under his belt. Leon Draisaitl, Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are back. The Oilers traded Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome with the hope they can get a strong return on their investment. They also have last year’s first-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi ready to take the next step. With a franchise goaltender in Cam Talbot and an improved young defense core ready to take another step forward, Edmonton is ready to contend.

Chicago Blackhawks

Odds To Win 2018 Stanley Cup: +1200

Chicago has been somewhat written off following a first-round sweep at the hands of the Nashville Predators in last year’s playoffs. However, the Blackhawks still owned the best record in the Western Conference last year and they will be motivated to bounce back from a disappointing postseason exit. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford will return as the key core group. Meanwhile, Chicago traded Artemi Panarin for former Blackhawk Brandon Saad and brought back veteran Patrick Sharp at a discounted rate. The Blackhawks still have some work to do filling out the remainder of their roster and it won’t be easy to stay under the salary cap. However, Chicago is still one of the most talented teams in the NHL with a returning veteran core that has done it before.

Nashville Predators

Odds To Win 2018 Stanley Cup: +1400

After shocking the hockey world as last year’s surprise Stanley Cup contender, the Predators will look to build on the momentum they generated. Nashville owns arguably the most talented defense core in the NHL with Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Alexei Emelin. There have been rumors that the Predators want to upgrade their forward core, so it will be interesting to see if they add to a group that features Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen. They did lose James Neal to the Expansion Draft but he appears to be a player that is past his prime. On top of that, his contract was costing the Preds a bit too much.

The good news is Pekka Rinne proved in the postseason he is still an elite goaltender. With an elite defensive unit in front of him, Nashville is ready to contend for a Stanley Cup. At +1400 odds, there is decent value taking a chance on them.

Anaheim Ducks

Odds To Win 2018 Stanley Cup: +1400

Anaheim fell just short of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals when they lost to the Predators in the Western Conference Finals, but the Ducks aren’t done yet. Anaheim brought back Patrick Eaves and signed Cam Fowler to a long-term deal. Fowler was an important piece as he was one of the best defensemen in the NHL last season. Up front, they kept their core intact as Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler all return. Rickard Rackell is coming off a breakout season while Antoine Vermette and Andrew Cogliano enter contract years.

The Ducks made a run last year and got slightly better in the offseason, so they should be in good shape for another crack at the Stanley Cup. The time is now for the Ducks to contend for a Stanley Cup and it won’t surprise anybody if they are in the mix again next season.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Odds To Win 2018 Stanley Cup: +1400

Tampa Bay is a forgotten team in the Eastern Conference after injuries devastated their roster a year ago. However, the Lightning has the firepower to contend for a Stanley Cup. Steven Stamkos is back. Nikita Kucherov might be the most underrated superstar in the NHL. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn are solid complimentary forwards and Tampa Bay added Chris Kunitz in free agency. The defense core is solid, which leaves franchise netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy as the biggest question mark. The Lightning brought in Peter Budaj to back up Vasilevskiy. As long as the goaltending is strong, Tampa Bay will be a Stanley Cup contender in 2018.

Washington Capitals

Odds To Win 2018 Stanley Cup: +1400

The final team listed at +1400 odds to win the Stanley Cup is still looking to get over the hump and reach the finals. It doesn’t help that Washington plays in the same conference as the Penguins. However, the Capitals have consistently fallen short over the years and they are running out of time. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Evgeni Kuznetsov are all back. Washington lost Kevin Shattenkirk, but they still have a solid defense core. Now they will need to fill out the remainder of their roster without going over the salary cap. The key could be Braden Holtby. The veteran netminder was outstanding in the regular season but was very average in the regular season.  The Capitals still want to win now. However, their best opportunity to take home a Stanley Cup might have already passed them by.

The 2017-18 odds to win the Stanley Cup have been posted. Click here to get the latest lines from BetDSI, including moneylines, totals, props and futures!

About Geoff Harvey

Geoff Harvey has been setting his fantasy rosters since his days in the womb, just don't ask him how he used to get his waiver-wire reports back then. He's a lifelong fan of sports, especially the fantasy and betting aspects.

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