A threepeat? Is it even feasible to imagine such a possibility? Evidently, the oddsmakers believe so. Barely removed from their second straight Stanley Cup title, Bovada.lv has installed the Pittsburgh Penguins as +750 favorites to win the 2017-18 Stanley Cup. Bovada is not alone in once again anointing the Pens. TopBet.eu has Pittsburgh at +850 to win a third successive Cup, while BetOnline.ag lists the Penguins as +800 Cup favorites.
Well, there is a lot to like about the Penguins. They will still have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel making life miserable for NHL goalies. And if Kris Letang rebounds from the back surgery that scuttled his 2016-17 campaign, they will have third No. 1 defenseman back, and they just won the Cup without him. In goal, Matt Murray has never ended a season without a Stanley Cup-uplifting experience.
A lot will change between now and the start of the 2017-18 regular season. There’s still free agents to be signed, and players to be traded and drafted. But right now, it’s hard to see any team with a better chance to win next season than the Penguins.
Stanley Cup Betting Lines
In case you were wondering, the last team to win three Stanley Cups in a row actually won four in a row. That would be the New York Islanders from 1979-80 through 1982-83. Prior to the Isles, the Montreal Canadiens captured four successive Cups from 1975-76 through 1978-79. The Habs hold the Stanley Cup record, winning five straight titles from 1955-56 through 1959-60. The Toronto Maple Leafs own a pair of threepeats, turning the trick from 1946-47 through 1948-49 and again from 1961-62 through 1963-64.
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Tampa Bay Lightning
Columbus Blue Jackets
NHL Stanley Cup Predictions
Pittsburgh Penguins +750 to win the Stanley Cup
Sid The Kid isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Geno, or Phil The Thrill. The Penguins still figure to be loaded and if anything, with Kris Letang returning from back surgery, their defense should be significantly upgraded. In goal, Matt Murray made hockey history, backstopping the Penguins to successive Stanley Cups while still qualifying as an NHL rookie.
Pittsburgh just defended its title while playing in the NHL’s deepest and toughest division, the Metropolitan, and after almost all of its core players skated in the World Cup of Hockey. Expecting them to do it a third time on the surface might seem a long shot, but you go ahead and try to make a case for why they can’t.
Edmonton Oilers +1200 to win the Stanley Cup
A year ago, the Oilers hadn’t appeared in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2006, but in making it to Game 7 of the second round of the postseason and within a victory of the final four, the young Oilers displayed how quickly they were learning lessons in the ways of Stanley.
Counting out a team that in Connor McDavid suits up the heir apparent to the Crosby throne as the game’s best player would be foolhardy. The Oilers are like the Penguins were in the mid-2000s, a young team on the rise, knocking on the door of greatness. And that time could come much sooner than later.
Chicago Blackhawks +1200 to win the Stanley Cup
They didn’t win a single playoff game in 2017, and that could easily be taken as a white flag, a sign that the Blackhawks, like all spectacular teams, are about to surrender to the scourge of time and begin the inevitable downturn. Don’t buy that logic for a second. The team from the Second City is not done.
Chicago has won three Stanley Cups since 2010, but during that time frame there’s been a season of devastation in between each of the Blackhawks’ runs to glory. Last spring was a learning session for Chicago’s young players, and Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford and Duncan Keith have at least one more Cup run in them before they run out of gas.
Tampa Bay Lightning +1400 to win the Stanley Cup
Something struck the Lightning down en route to their date with destiny. A devastating rash of injuries, including the loss of captain Steven Stamkos for the vast majority of the 2016-17 season, doomed the Lightning, a preseason Cup favorite, to the ranks of playoff outsiders.
Logically, such horrific luck can’t impact a team two years running. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was forced to shed some salary to get below the cap, jettisoning goalie Ben Bishop and forward Jonathan Drouin, but Tampa Bay is deep in skill up front and in Andrei Vasilevskiy, think they have a netminder who will be better than Bishop. There’s been a Cup final appearance and final four for Tampa Bay in the last three springs. Don’t slpee on the Lightning, because they are still quite capable of striking.
Anaheim Ducks +1400 to win the Stanley Cup
They came up short again and people refer to the Ducks as Washington’s West Wing, but unlike the Capitals, there is a resume of playoff success in Anaheim. The Ducks went to the Western Conference final last spring and also in 2015, and did win a Stanley Cup in 2007, so comparisons to Washington are unjust.
The Ducks revealed that they did have some young talent to package around their veteran core of captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. It’s easy to forget how many kids are part of this team. They are still growing together and remain a legitimate threat.
Columbus Blue Jackets +2000 to win the Stanley Cup
Every spring it seems, a team comes out of nowhere to rise up in the playoffs. Nashville did it in 2017, rolling all the way to the Cup final as a No. 8 seed. From where will the surprise of 2018 emerge? Why not Columbus?
Quickly disapatched by the Penguins in a five-game first-round series, the Blue Jackets remain in search of their first Stanley Cup series triumph. But getting a price of +2000 on a team that won an NHL-high 16 straight games during the 2016-17 season, a team with a Vezina Trophy-winning goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky and a Cup-winning coach in John Tortorella, we’re telling you, don’t overlook the Blue Jackets.
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