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.