While Alex Ovechkin and his teammates finished up their gallivanting with the Stanley Cup in the wee hours of Friday morning in Las Vegas, oddsmakers were hard at work drawing up odds for next year.
— dckerNBC4 (@dckerNBC4) June 8, 2018
The Washington Capitals 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 earned the franchise their first-ever Stanley Cup. Now, all attention shifts to the offseason, the NHL Entry Draft and the 2018-19 season. Looking ahead, can the Caps defend their title? Will the Knights be able to replicate their winning ways in their sophomore season? Will this be the year the Tampa Bay Lightning win it all? Or will a new team emerge from parity to hoist the best trophy in all of sport?
Odds to Win the 2019 Stanley Cup
Bovada, a sports betting site, released its odds of all 31 teams winning the Stanley Cup in 2018-19. Surprisingly, the Caps are not atop the list. They’re not even among the top five of projected Cup contenders. It likely won’t bother them as they celebrate with their fans in Washington and with a championship parade through D.C.
Since the turn of the century, the only team to have won back-to-back Stanley Cups is the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the salary cap era, it’s especially hard to repeat. So it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the Caps have the eighth-best odds to win it all again.
As a quick refresher, in 2017-18 the Nashville Predators (117 points) and Winnipeg Jets (114 points) had the best regular season records, followed closely by the Lightning (113 points), Boston Bruins (112 points). In the postseason, each of these teams won at least one round, but none of them made it to the Final.
A similar site to Bovada, OddsShark, has similar betting odds. They can be found here.
The Elite Cup Contenders
Tampa Bay Lightning, 9-1
The early favorites are the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning have made the playoffs in three of the last four years. In those years, they’ve won seven playoff series. The Bolts pushed the Caps to a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final and are poised for further success, featuring a lineup that has no major players set for free agency.
Boston Bruins, 10-1
The Bruins started slowly last year but became one of the league’s best teams over the last half of the season. Most of the team’s players will be returning, and they have a rich pool of prospects, so they are considered Cup contenders.
Toronto Maple Leafs, 10-1
Big question marks surround the Leafs. James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Roman Polak are all set to become unrestricted free agents. Is there really a rift between coach Mike Babcock and Auston Matthews? If new general manager Kyle Dubas can make some shrewd moves to improve their defense, things could become exciting in T.O.
Vegas Golden Knights, 10-1
Can the Knights repeat their Cinderella story? Not burdened by any contracts and with plenty of cap space, George McPhee could tweak his roster for further success. He’ll likely let go of James Neal and David Perron to get younger and even faster. Plus, he has the cap space to go hard after John Tavares or one of the top UFAs—or RFA in trades.
Winnipeg Jets, 10-1
The Jets are young, deep and have a core of highly skilled players. They will be a tough out next year. Rumor has it Neal could end up here to add some depth and leadership.
Nashville Predators, 11-1
The Predators are a fast team with four solid lines. Their Presidents’ Trophy season last year proved that 2016-17 was no fluke. With plenty of defense, they could make a trade for some more scoring. Either way, they’ll be in the hunt.
Pittsburgh Penguins, 11-1
With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the way, the Penguins always have a chance to go deep. They successfully defended their Cup title in 2017, but ran out of gas against the Caps last month. They need help on defense if they’re going to make a run.
Washington Capitals, 14-1
The Caps, sipping champagne from the Cup, should still be serious contenders next year. It’s surprising to not see them in the top three. However, they could lose pending unrestricted free agent defenseman John Carlson as well as their head coach, Barry Trotz. The underdog label didn’t exactly hurt them this year.
The Could Be Interestings
Edmonton Oilers, 18-1
After making an exciting run in the 2017 playoffs, the Oilers missed them altogether last season. Can they add some defense and find the right players to surround the phenom McDavid? If so, they could be on the rise.
Anaheim Ducks, 22-1
Six straight playoff appearances. Only five series wins. The Ducks are consistently in the mix, but haven’t gone deep since 2007 when they won the Cup. It looks like the window for Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf is rapidly closing.
Chicago Blackhawks, 22-1
The Hawks had their playoff streak snapped after nine straight years of extra hockey. But with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they’re never too far off. A healthy Corey Crawford certainly helps.
Columbus Blue Jackets, 25-1
Despite regular season success, the Blue Jackets have only three wins in a pair of first-round series losses over the past two seasons. Will this be the year they break through?
Dallas Stars, 25-1
With new coach Jim Montgomery, the Stars looking to get back to prominence in the Central Division. They have big decision looming with four UFAs and four RFAs.
Calgary Flames, 28-1
The Flames went down in… flames in the second half of the 2017-18 season. They’ve hired Bill Peters as their new head coach. Will he be able to turn the talented, underperforming team around?
Philadelphia Flyers, 28-1
The Flyers have ten picks this year, including two in the top 20 of the first round. Plus, they have rookies on the rise as well as Nolan Patrick entering his second season. They may not go far next year, but should be very good in two or three years.
Los Angeles Kings, 30-1
The Kings have made the postseason twice in the last four years, failing to win a series. Their 2013-14 Cup-winning team is their last taste of success.
Minnesota Wild, 30-1
The Wild have six-straight postseason appearances but only two series wins to their credit. General manager Chuck Fletcher has been replaced by Paul Fenton.
San Jose Sharks, 30-1
With newly-inked Evander Kane on the roster and a giant question mark swirling around Joe Thornton, the Sharks future is unclear. That said, they’re coming off a season when they were a hair short of playing for the Cup.
The Not Likely Going Anywheres
Colorado Avalanche, 40-1
Nathan MacKinnon literally carried his team into the playoffs last season with a personal best 97-point season. Can they take the next step?
Florida Panthers, 40-1
The Panthers made a late-season push in the second half of the 2017-18 season and only missed the playoffs by one point. If they can play more consistent hockey, they could be a darkhorse.
New Jersey Devils, 40-1
A great season by Taylor Hall vaulted the Devils into the playoffs last year, snapping a five-year draught.
St. Louis Blues, 40-1
The Blues started last season strong, but then fell apart and missed the playoffs. This sounds like a broken record for the Blues over the past several seasons.
Montreal Canadiens, 50-1
Despite a monstrous contract, All-Star goaltender Carey Price alone cannot solve the Habs. They’re mired in a funk thanks to Marc Bergevin and an underachieving roster. They lack a true No. 1 center and Max Pacioretty has one year left on his deal.
Carolina Hurricanes, 60-1
A new owner. A new coach. They Canes are in a state of flux. Even with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, it’s doubtful the Hurricanes are going anywhere soon. They’re likely to have significant changes this offseason.
New York Islanders, 60-1
As Lou Lamoriello settles in to his perch high atop the front office, will John Tavares be packing his bags? Even if he stays, their potent offense can’t help their woeful defense and problems in net.
Buffalo Sabres, 66-1
The last two teams to pick No. 1 overall at the NHL Entry Draft (Devils picked Nico Hischier in 2017, Maple Leafs picked Auston Matthews in 2016) made the playoffs the following season. Unless general manager Jason Botterill can retool his roster, it’s doubtful the streak continues. Then again, with Rasmus Dahlin and Casey Mittelstadt in the lineup, the Sabres could make it three for three.
The Long Shots
Rounding out the teams with the worst odds to win it all are the Rangers, Red Wings, Coyotes, Canucks and Senators. These teams are pegged to be at the bottom of the 2018-19 regular season standings.
New York Rangers, 70-1
Looking in the mirror and to the future, the Rangers held a fire sale at the trade deadline last season. Now, they’re loaded with six picks in the first two rounds of the Draft.
Detroit Red Wings, 75-1
The Red Wings have gone two straight seasons without making the playoffs, after a streak of 25 straight postseasons. They have four picks in the first 36, so it bodes well for the future. Just not right now.
Arizona Coyotes, 80-1
The Coyotes have missed the playoffs for six consecutive years and haven’t broken the 80-point mark in four straight seasons. Shane Doan could come out of retirement and still be in their top six.
Vancouver Canucks, 80-1
The Canucks have missed the playoffs three straight seasons. And the Sedin brothers are retired. They’ve got a long way to go. Promising young guns Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and Sven Baertsche will eventually lead the way.
Ottawa Senators, 100-1
Finally, the Senators have the worst odds. And that’s with All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson still on the team’s roster—for the moment.
Jeff has been covering the NHL for over a decade for various sites. He’s been with The Hockey Writers as a lead Sabres writer three years, while also writing a satire column called “Off the Crossbar.”