- As preseason in the NHL gets underway, playoff predictions have now come out.
- The Florida Panthers look to be the turnaround team of the season in 2019.
- The Vegas Golden Knights look to reach the Stanley Cup twice in the team’s first four years.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The NHL preseason began just a short five days ago on Monday. If this season was any indication last year, then everyone will be in for another wild year in the hockey world.
One of the more shocking stories of the 2019 NHL Playoffs was witnessing the league’s best-ranked team, the Tampa Bay Lighting, fall in four straight games to the Columbus Blue Jackets in what seemed to be the upset of the century. However, heading into the 2019-2020 season, the Lightning are still the overwhelming favorites to raise the Stanley Cup in June.
As the preseason continues and players begin to get their footing back under them, sportsbooks for US players have also had a chance to place opening odds for team’s chances for the Stanley Cup this year. At first glance, it looks fairly standard with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, and the Colorado Avalanche rounding out the top five favored in that order. But just a few spots down, a cast-away team from last season has made a grand impression on the sportsbooks for 2019.
NHL Odds To Win The Stanley Cup
- Tampa Bay Lightning (+750)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (+900)
- Vegas Golden Knights (+1000)
- Boston Bruins (+1100)
- Colorado Avalanche (+1300)
- St. Louis Blues (+1500)
- Florida Panthers (+1700)
- Dallas Stars (+1700)
- Nashville Predators (+1800)
- San Jose Sharks (+1800)
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning completely ran through the NHL last year posting one of the best regular-season records in NHL history. Considered the unanimous favorite to win the Stanley Cup, the Lightning had perhaps the worst postseason collapse in recent hockey history. Against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Lightning gave up four straight wins to Columbus in route to one of the more shocking first-round sweeps ever. However, heading into 2019, the Lightning still have their main nucleus of players including right wing Nikita Kucherov, defenseman Victor Hedman and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Toronto Maple Leafs
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The Maple Leafs, who were also booted from the playoffs in the first round (for the third straight year), will feature nearly a dozen new additions to the team this year after a massive roster overhaul. New defensemen Tyson Barrie and Codi Ceci will look to provide stability on the Leafs back end as well as giving a spark on offense if needed in power-play situations. Perhaps this will be the year they can get it done, or at least see head coach Mike Babcock take home the Jack Adams Award at the end of the year.
Vegas Golden Knights
The most recent addition to the league, the Vegas Golden Knights, have seen near-instant success since their formation just a few years ago. The Knights, ironically, were also taken down in the first round of Western Conference play against the San Jose Sharks. The Golden Knights had been up three games to one in the series at one point before San Jose orchestrated another worldly comeback performance – even being down 3-0 in Game 7. The Cinderella team in the NHL was done in the playoffs, but their roster heading into 2019 is still legit. Wing additions from last season, Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, combined for 113 points last season and will continue to grow in Vegas’ style of play.
The Florida Panthers are one team many fans did not expect to see in the top of this odds list. However, their offseason was definitely one to remember. Back in April, the Panthers signed Joel Quenneville to become the club’s newest head coach. Quenneville has won three Stanley Cups, so the focus of the team will definitely be in the right direction. Then came the signing of two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky and later Anton Stralman was signed from the Lightning after a solid 2018 season. The nucleus for the Panthers is now in place and with odds favoring many other teams ahead of the Panthers, risking a unit or two may be a wise investment.
Joshua has been a die-hard Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan since 2007, joining the sports betting world not long after. If he’s not talking or writing about the Bucs, you’ll likely find him in a park somewhere hiking.