Analysis

NHL Stanley Cup Odds Favor Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild

By Colin Likas
Jan 6, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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In Las Vegas, it’s never too early to release the odds for a team — like the Chicago Blackhawks — winning the Stanley Cup

We’ve welcomed in a new year with the Chicago Blackhawks posting a 2-1-0 record, keeping their Central Division and Western Conference leads by two points over the Minnesota Wild.

That start to 2017 helped the Blackhawks in another way, though they could probably care less. It kept Chicago’s spot secure in Vegas Insider’s list of team odds for winning the Stanley Cup.

We took a look at the top 16 teams in those rankings around this time last season, and we’re going to do it again today. So here are the NHL’s current top 16 teams when it comes to their projected odds for taking home the Stanley Cup in June.

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Boston Bruins — 30:1

The Atlantic Division is pretty weak this season, much to the benefit of the Bruins. They currently have 46 points, 10 behind Montreal for the division lead but two ahead of Ottawa for third place.

If Boston is going to have any shot at the Stanley Cup this season, it’ll be created on the back of goaltender Tuukka Rask. The fiery netminder has 20 of the team’s 21 wins with a .928/1.93 statline.

The team’s offense is kind of sluggish so far this season, with Brad Marchand carrying the group at 34 points and no one else hitting 30 points yet. So for the Bruins’ odds to increase, they’ll need more from their offense.

Nashville Predators — 28:1

Speaking of weak, if you want to understand how poor the Western Conference has been in 2016-17, look no further than the Preds having the 15th-best odds to win the Stanley Cup.

I said at the outset of the season the Preds would win the Central Division, but they just haven’t gotten everything to click. Nashville has 41 points in 39 games and is behind Vancouver in the standings, three points out of a wild-card spot.

And yet, the Preds do have the tools to make a playoff run. Pekka Rinne has been fine in net (.918/2.45), a healthy P.K. Subban (he currently isn’t) leads a defensive unit that should be one of the league’s better units, and guys like Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and (surprisingly) Viktor Arvidsson have some offensive firepower.

If you read this piece by Faxes From Uncle Day (came out today, coincidentally), you’ll see the Preds very well could have a playoff push in them. Or they could fall flat. Thus, their odds seem fair for now.

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