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; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; The Pittsburgh Penguins players celebrate after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh Penguins, 33/1

Record: 20-16-5, 45 points

This is probably the biggest surprise of this NHL season. This is a team that went out and picked up Phil Kessel to pair with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin, and they were going to run away with their division. But they did not get the start they wanted and they did not get the scoring and numbers they wanted from their forwards, and now they sit two points out of a wild-card spot and six points out of a division spot in the Metropolitan.

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However, this team still has way too much firepower to be counted out of the playoffs or even a playoff run. Whenever you have Crosby and Malkin on separate lines, you are a force to be reckoned with. The best feature of this team, however, is its defense. The Pens’ top pairing of Olli Maatta and Kris Letang is one of the best you’ll find in hockey. Letang has four goals and 21 assists, and Maatta has four goals and six assists with a plus/minus rating of plus-13. Those two also have Corsi figures over 50 percent, which is always the goal in Corsi percentages.

Looking between the pipes, they have Marc-Andre Fleury who has been having a very good year with a .928 save percentage and 2.24 goals-against average.

If this team is able to make it into the playoffs, watch for its experience and firepower to take over and to possibly make a run at the Eastern Conference final.

Next: Honorable Mention: Florida Panthers

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