Over a week ago, phase two of the NHL’s return-to-play plan got underway as teams were able to return to facilities in small groups. The next step is phase three, which is the start of training camps. Last Thursday, the NHL and NHLPA agreed on a July 10th date for training camps to reopen so they can begin the road to the Stanley Cup. With everyone rested and healthy, you could argue that winning the championship is even tougher than ever before. Odds to win the Stanley Cup have come out and three teams are tied at the top. There are three teams from the East and two from the West with the best odds. As we inch closer to the re-start of the NHL, let’s take a look at who has the best odds to win the Stanley Cup.
Five Teams With The Best Odds To Win The Stanley Cup
Three teams are tied for the best odds to win the Stanley Cup and one of them is the Boston Bruins. After falling one game short of winning the Stanley Cup last season, the Bruins are on a mission. They’re having yet another great season and look like they could make it to another final and possibly win it. The Bruins won the President’s Trophy for the most points of any team this season. This is in large part due to the perfection line and the great goaltending they’ve been getting.
The perfection line is led by David Pastrnak with 95 points and right behind him is Brad Marchand with 87 points. The last piece to that line is Patrice Bergeron, who has 31 goals to go along with 25 assists. This team also has great depth and a lot of it. All of this wouldn’t matter much without great goaltending and they’ve been getting that with the duo of Tuuka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Both of them won the William M. Jennings Trophy for the goalie(s) that has allowed the fewest goals against in the regular season. While being the starter, Rask is 28-6 with a .929 save percentage. Halak is 18-6-6 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. With the amount of rest they’ve gotten, this team might be more dangerous than ever.
Last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning had one of the best regular seasons in NHL history. They won the President’s trophy and were a powerhouse of a team, until the playoffs. Not only did they lose in the first round, but they got swept by the second wild card team Columbus Blue Jackets. The Lightning came into this year with a chip on their shoulder. They came out of the gate a little slow but as the season went on, they got back to dominating.
They sit as one of the top teams in the league at 92 points and one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay has four players who have over 50 points with the leader on the team being last year’s Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov, who has 85 this season. With solid goaltending and the team clicking on all cylinders, they’re primed to make a deep run at the cup.
The Colorado Avalanche also have the best odds to win the Stanley Cup at +700. Their speed and tenacity are what makes this team click. They’re full of skill and have one of the best players in the league with Nathan MacKinnon. He’s getting healthy and so is the rest of the team. Young defensemen Cale Makar has hit 50 points in 57 games and other top players have shown up like Andre Burakovsky, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog. They’ve got a pretty good goaltending tandem with Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz. Grubauer had played more games but Francouz has come out of nowhere and played well. With the Avalanche’s skill and speed, they’ll be tough to stop in a seven-game series.
Arguably one of the hottest teams before the stoppage, the Philadelphia Flyers were looked at as a team that could win it all. They heated up to the tune of 89 points and a top-four finish in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers have built amazing team chemistry over the course of the year and it was just starting to peak at the right time. Travis Konecny has 61 points as their top points leader and they have three other players with 50+ points. Players’ numbers are going up and the team was looking better. They’ve also been getting great goaltending by Carter Hart, who burst onto the scene as a rookie last year. In 43 games, he had a goals-against average on 2.42. Everyone has been clicking at the same time and that’s dangerous for any team in the league.
Golden Knights (+800)
The Vegas Golden Knights won the Pacific Division with 86 points. They have two players who ignite the whole offense who both have over 60 points and that’s Max Pacioretty (66 points) and Mark Stone (63 points). Stone is set to return fully healthy. Vegas has offensive weapons all around that can turn the switch quick like Reilly Smith (27 goals) and Jonathan Marchessault (22 goals).
The Golden Knights have a quality goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury but this year hasn’t been the Fluery we are used to seeing. He has a 2.77 goals-against average and a low save percentage of .905 in 49 games. Vegas acquired goalie Robin Lehner to help their cause. In 2019, he won the Jennings Trophy along with his teammate Thomas Greiss. Lehner wasn’t as sharp in Chicago this season, but he was still sought after. In three starts with the Golden Knights, he posted a 1.67 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. This team will be just as tough as they were in their inaugural season if they can get the goaltending figured out.
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