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Offseason Moves Boost Bolts, Preds on 2017 Stanley Cup Odds

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The fates of stars Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban have effected change to the pecking order on the 2017 Stanley Cup futures board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

While the Pittsburgh Penguins captured the silver chalice in June, the runner-up San Jose Sharks might have provided a lasting illustration during the playoffs. In an era with a hard salary cap and historically low scoring rates, any solid playoff team with a strong nucleus is bound to make a run at the Stanley Cup if it earns enough chances.

Thus it is not surprising to see the Stanley Cup odds on the Nashville Predators, who made a blockbuster trade with the Montreal Canadiens last week to get Subban, drop to +1400, from +1800.

Likewise, thanks to GM Steve Yzerman re-signing former 60-goal scorer Steven Stamkos as soon as free agency began on July 1, the Tampa Bay Lightning are at +1000 after opening at +1400. The Lightning are the only team which has reached their conference final in two consecutive seasons.

Although the NHL had not had a repeat champion since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins maintain top odds at +900. With Sidney Crosby, Nick Bonino and Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh is as deep as any NHL team at center, and it could gain some roster flexibility by moving on from high-paid veteran G Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Chicago Blackhawks remain second favorite, albeit at +950. Salary-cap restrictions are not going to allow Chicago to add major pieces to complement league MVP Patrick Kane and two-way center Jonathan Toews, but they are nonetheless the organization that has won three of the last seven Cups.

Led by Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals have superior three-line scoring punch, especially after adding center Lars Eller via a trade with the Canadiens. That somewhat underrated addition could help Washington, which is listed at +1000, become more geared for the playoffs after years of being unable to get by Metropolitan Division rival Pittsburgh.

Getting out of the Central Division quadrant of the playoffs will almost be an accomplishment on its own this season. Along with the Blackhawks, the St. Louis Blues are listed at +1200 and the Dallas Stars are level with Nashville at +1400.

Speaking of the Sharks, their +1400 odds is the lowest among Pacific Division teams, with their state rivals, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, each listed at +1600. Sharks GM Doug Wilson has quietly reloaded early this summer with the value signings of fleet-footed winger Mikkel Boedker and defenseman David Schlemko, who each have experience playing for San Jose coach Peter DeBoer.

The NHL is celebrating its centennial in 2017, but it is highly doubtful it will involve a Canadian team winning the Cup for the first time since 1993. Both Montreal and the Edmonton Oilers are listed at +3300. Montreal received star defenseman Shea Weber in return for Subban and also added hard-nosed RW Andrew Shaw in a trade with Chicago. Edmonton has also added a tough guy with a Stanley Cup pedigree, picking up Milan Lucic, but traded away Taylor Hall.

Blackhawks, Penguins leading the way on updated Stanley Cup odds

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When poring over the latest 2017 Stanley Cup futures, it’s important to remember that only four franchises – all in major U.S. markets – have raised the NHL championship trophy over the last eight seasons.

As a parity-driven league, the NHL would probably prefer that to change, but it’s not surprising that the Chicago Blackhawks at +700 and the Pittsburgh Penguins at +800 have the top odds to win the Stanley Cup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Six months out from the Stanley Cup final in June, they might be the safest, if lowest-reward picks available.

The Blackhawks, led by reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane and center Jonathan Toews, are leading the Central Division. One red flag with Chicago is that their penalty killing is nearly the worst in the league, which could be an Achilles heel in the playoffs. Sidney Crosby, of course, is scoring at a practically career-high rate for the Penguins, who are also pushing for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Beyond that big two, though, several other teams possess value. Now that star goalie Henrik Lundqvist can take more nights off thanks to the emergence of understudy Antti Raanta, the New York Rangers (+1000) might be better equipped for the long haul of a two-month playoff run. The Rangers have made the third round three times during the Lundqvist era.

The Montreal Canadiens, with franchise goalie Carey Price, are now listed at +1100 on those NHL betting lines by virtue of a strong start. No franchise from Canada has won the Cup since Montreal did in 1993, but that trend is overdue to end. The defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks are also finding their form with defenseman Brent Burns leading the team in scoring,

The presence of 19-year-old wunderkind Connor McDavid has pulled the Edmonton Oilers (+1200) up the board, but it might be too soon to tell whether Edmonton’s endless rebuild has finally come to fruition.

Some of the longer shots worth monitoring include the Minnesota Wild (+1800), Columbus Blue Jackets (+2500, after opening at +10000 in preseason) and Boston Bruins (+2800). The Wild boast the best goal differential in the Western Conference and have been fortified by the goaltending of Devan Dubnyk and the leadership of center Eric Staal.

While playoff success is alien to Columbus, a breakout from center Sam Gagner and a balanced attack have them high up on most experts’ playoff rankings. Boston has also managed to stay competitive in the tough Atlantic Division despite having one of the NHL’s lowest shooting percentages. When those bounces start to go the Bruins’ way, they could be very dangerous.

Quartet of teams tied atop updated odds to win Stanley Cup

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Four weeks into the season, there has been major movement on the 2017 Stanley Cup odds.

Four teams – the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, reigning champion Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals – share the top odds at +900 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

And the teams trending the most in each direction are the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings. Edmonton, which is on the upswing thanks to generational talent Connor McDavid, has seen its odds come down from +7500 to +1000. The Kings, who did not record a win in regulation time until their 12th game, have seen their odds rise from +850 at the outset of the season to +2500 on those NHL betting lines.

The Oilers have not made the playoffs since 2006, but one only need look at the recent success of the Blackhawks (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane) and Penguins (Sidney Crosby) to know a team which spends years amassing high draft picks can hit its stride very quickly. The Oilers have one of the NHL’s most productive offenses, which is going to keep them in a lot of games. Their odds still carry a lot of value.

Results in hockey are much more random than in other team sports. It is not surprising that most of the teams at the top of the board have a PDO – a team’s shooting percentage combined with the save percentage of its goalies – well above 100. Teams tend to regress or rise toward the mean over time. According to the PDO tables at SportingCharts.com, the New York Rangers (+1000), Blackhawks and Canadiens are all having a high degree of puck luck early in the season.

In Montreal’s case, one couldn’t be faulted for betting on a team which now has franchise goalie Carey Price fully healthy. Washington, led by captain Alex Ovechkin and bolstered by goalie Braden Holtby, is off to a strong start that is sustainable. Each seems to have the most solid case among the leaders.

The teams which currently possess value include the Dallas Stars (+2000) and the aforementioned Kings (+2500). Dallas has started slowly, but if the Stars get an upgrade in goal to back up their skilled attack, they could be poised for a run in the Western Conference.

The fact that the Kings have been snakebit scoring-wise during a small sample of games does not mean a team with premier defenseman such as Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin could not be a dangerous playoff team. The Kings were the No. 8 seed when they won their first Cup in 2012. At this juncture, they have a lot of value.