Everybody loves a winner and the best online sportsbooks are no exception. And guess what, Pittsburgh Penguins? A winner is you. The odds favour the Pens to pull off the vaunted threepeat in 2017-18. That would mean that the Penguins are not only the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 (and the first in the salary cap era) – and the first to do so twice since the Oilers in 1988 – but would also become the first to win it three times in a row since the Islanders in the early 80s. While we’re on the subject, Sid Crosby won his second straight Conn Smythe trophy – joining Mario Lemieux and Bernie Parent.
And speaking of the Oilers, Edmonton is second in line to win their first Stanley Cup since 1990. The Oilers returned to the postseason in 2016-17 following an 11-year absence. Edmonton eliminated the San Jose Sharks in the first round in six games but lost to the Ducks 4-3 in the second round. While that is a vast improvement over recent seasons, the Oilers still have a long ways to go to come close to the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers – which were recently voted the NHL’s Greatest Team by hockey fans. That team posted a 49-20-11 record and won their second straight Stanley Cup in five games versus the Flyers.
Meanwhile the Chicago Blackhawks are no longer the darlings of the best online sportsbooks. The Hawks were initially favoured to win the 2016-17 Stanley Cup but now find themselves 5th on the oddsboards – which may have something to do with the fact that they were unceremoniously swept off the first round of the playoffs by the Predators, therefore becoming the first top-seeded team to be knocked out at that stage. And by the look of things, their trials and tribulations are far from over.
And speaking of the Preds, they have the same odds as the Hawks – which seems, well, odd, given that not only did Nashville sweep Chicago, but also reached their first-ever conference final and Stanley Cup Final, becoming the third team to make the SCF from the 8th seed, as well as the first-ever team to make the Final as a 16th seed. “You never know when you’re going to get another opportunity,” goalie Pekka Rinne said following the heartbreaking loss in game 6 of the finals. But as defenseman P.K. Subban said, “our future is bright.”
Finally, and just for kicks and giggles, we have the brand new Las Vegas Golden Knights. The best online sportsbooks give them the longest odds to win the Stanley Cup – and rightfully so as no expansion team has ever won a Stanley Cup in its first season and only five have made the postseason. At this juncture in time, the Knights are just a bunch of empty armours. An expansion draft will be held from June 18th to 20th, the results of which will be revealed on June 21st during the NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena, the home of the Golden Knights.