Editorials

NHL: Stanley Cup Odds For 16 Contenders

By Mike Brennan
Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff looks on from behind the bench during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center. The Wild won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: Dallas Stars, 11/2

Record: 29-11-4, 62 points

What more really needs to be said about the Stars this season? They are the best team in the West (by points) and have the best line in hockey. They will let you score with an average defense, but they will put up high scoring numbers as they have the best goals-for total with 149 through 44 games. Their top three forwards of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp have 141 points combined so far. They also have Corsi-for percentages all around 55 percent, which is a great possession stat. Their offense is so good, their fourth line can pass for a third or second line on other teams throughout the league. It is almost unfair how good their offense is. They will put defensive players on their heels by coming out of their own zone with their speed and creating rushes.

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If one aspect if going to hold back this team, it will be their defense and goaltending. Besides John Klingberg on the blue line, this is a very average defense. In net, former ‘Hawk Antti Niemi and Keri Lehtonen have been splitting duty, with Niemi having six more starts. They have been very average on the season, posting .914 and .911 save percentages, respectively, and 2.41 and 2.72 goals-allowed averages, respectively.

I still do not think that this team will make it to the Cup Final. No matter how good they have been all year, I think the lack of a solid goaltender and defense will come back to kill the Stars come playoff time.

What do you think about the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup Final around the halfway point of the season? Let us know in the comments section.

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