September 23rd, 2011 2:34 pm EST
Canucks, Capitals Favored to Win the Stanley Cup
The NHL season is set to get underway in just over a week, so I thought that now would be a good time to take a look at the current odds to win the 2012 Stanley Cup.
As of right now, the Vancouver Canucks (7/1) and Washington Capitals (7/1) are the co-favorites to win the Cup. The Canucks came within a game of winning the Cup last year, only to fall to the Boston Bruins in Game 7. With their team largely intact, it's not hard to see why the Canucks are listed at 7/1 right now.
The Capitals are a bit more surprising. Sure, they are immensely talented, but the Capitals (especially Ovechkin and Semin) are famous for underperforming in the post-season. The Caps are due for a breakout year, and maybe this will be that year.
Next up we have the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Boston Bruins, at 10/1, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are also listed at 10/1. Can the Bruins do it again? Can Thomas have another amazing season? The Bruins will have a big target on their backs this season, so they will certainly have their work cut out for them.
The fate of the Penguins' season will be determined by the health of Sidney Crosby. Can he come back from his season-ending injuries that sidelined him last year? Will he be 100% when he comes back? The Penguins live and die with Sidney Crosby - if he comes back at 100%, then there is no reason why the Penguins couldn't challenge for the Cup.
At 11/1 we have the Philadelphia Flyers and San Jose Sharks. Both teams made big changes in the offseason. The Flyers made the biggest splash in the offseason, trading away two of their biggest stars and landing Ilya Bryzgalov.
Chicago Blackhawks - 12/1
Detroit Red Wings - 12/1
Los Angeles Kings - 14/1
Tampa Bay Lightning - 16/1
Buffalo Sabres - 18/1
The Red Wings are always a good choice to win the Cup, as they always have competitive teams, year in and year out.
The Lightning will benefit from another year of experience, while the Sabres have made dramatic moves to improve their team, thanks to a new owner who isn't afraid to spend.
The Kings should have a great team, provided that they can get Drew Doughty signed to a new deal that makes him happy.
Moving further down the list:
Anaheim Ducks - 25/1
Montreal Canadiens - 25/1
Nashville Predators - 28/1
New Jersey Devils - 30/1
New York Rangers - 30/1
I believe that the Canadiens and the Rangers offer the best value here. The Rangers, in particular, are loaded with talent this year, but can they put it all together?
St. Louis Blues - 35/1
Calgary Flames - 40/1
Dallas Stars - 40/1
Carolina Hurricanes - 45/1
Toronto Maple Leafs - 50/1
All five of these teams have practically no shot of winning the Cup. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all five teams missed the playoffs.
And now, the bottom of the list:
Winnipeg Jets - 60/1
Colorado Avalanche - 65/1
Edmonton Oilers - 65/1
Ottawa Senators - 70/1
Columbus Blue Jackets - 75/1
Florida Panthers - 75/1
Minnesota Wild - 75/1
New York Islanders - 80/1
The teams at the bottom are either rebuilding (Oilers, Avalanche) or just plain bad (Wild, Senators).