Updated Stanley Cup Odds for the Postseason
The NHL has been on pause since March 12 thanks to the coronavirus running rampant across the globe. There has been good news in recent weeks as the league hammered out an agreement with the NHL Return to Play Committee to establish the precedent for when the league gets back on the ice. We know that there are going to be 24 teams in the playoffs with the top 12 teams from each conference making the postseason. There is going to be a qualifying round where the fifth through 12th-place teams will take the ice in best of five series to advance to the regular 16-team playoff field that fans are used to seeing.
In addition, the top four teams in each conference earned a bye through the qualifying round and instead will meet in a round-robin tournament. The results of those contests will determine the seeding for the field of 16, which is something that ruffled the feathers of the Bruins and Blues, who led their respective conferences in points when the season was paused and, later, scrapped. The conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals will each be best of seven series, while it’s undecided if the first and second-round matchups will be best of five or best of seven. The players are strongly in favor of best of seven series throughout the postseason. In addition, there are reportedly two hub cities, one for each conference. Those cities have yet to be named.
Training camps, aka Phase 3 of the NHL’s Return to Play Initiative, will start no earlier than July 10 with the hopes that the league can get going by the end of July. One thing that has come out as of right now is the updated odds for the Stanley Cup. We’ll take a look at the odds for the teams below along with a couple quick notes about them.
Stanley Cup Odds (Current Odds follow team name, previous odds in parenthesis)
Boston Bruins +650 (+600)
Tampa Bay Lightning +650 (+600)
Colorado Avalanche +700 (+900)
Philadelphia Flyers +800 (+1600)
Vegas Golden Knights +800 (+800)
St. Louis Blues +1200 (+1200)
Pittsburgh Penguins +1500 (+1200)
Washington Capitals +1500 (+1000)
Dallas Stars +1800 (+1600)
Nashville Predators +2000 (+2000)
Edmonton Oilers +2500 (+3300)
Toronto Maple Leafs +2500 (+1600)
Vancouver Canucks +4000 (+2500)
Arizona Coyotes +5000 (+3300)
Calgary Flames +5000 (+4000)
Carolina Hurricanes +5000 (+2000)
Minnesota Wild +6000 (+4000)
New York Islanders +6000 (+3300)
New York Rangers +6000 (+5000)
Columbus Blue Jackets +6600 (+8000)
Chicago Blackhawks +6600 (+10000)
Florida Panthers +6600 (+4000)
Montreal Canadiens +6600 (+4000)
Winnipeg Jets +6600 (+4000)
There are a couple of teams that clearly saw their stock rise when it comes to the Stanley Cup. Chicago was the last-place team in the Central Division and was fighting to try and make the postseason but now find themselves in as the final seed in the Western Conference. Now, the Blackhawks have a somewhat favorable matchup in the fifth-seeded Oilers in the first round as both teams are offensively gifted while having issues in goal. When it comes to a short series, things can flip in a hurry so if the Blackhawks were to steal one early, they could put the Oilers on their heels. That’s one of the issues with short series: it’s too easy to be able to ride momentum.
Another team catching a break is Colorado. While they had favorable odds to begin with in the quest for Lord Stanley’s chalice, the fact remains that the Avalanche was a banged-up team with several key pieces missing from their optimal lineup. With Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar all having time to rest, recover and get back to speed, Colorado is a tough, deep team that can roll four lines and make life difficult for opponents in their own zone. In addition, playing in the round-robin tournament, the Avalanche have a shot at the top seed in the West, which could help as the playoffs wear on.
One team that took a major hit in their odds were the Hurricanes. Carolina had put together a solid regular season with 81 points over 68 games. That was good enough for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs in this format. The problem for the Hurricanes was that gave them a short series with the 11th-seeded Rangers. While that normally wouldn’t seem to present a major issue, Carolina was beaten all four times in the regular season by the Blueshirts and outscored 17-9. That could prove to be too big a stigma for Rod Brind’Amour’s team to try and work through, especially after more than four months potentially between games.