Bob Duff | Mon 25/06/2018 - 05:59 EDT

2019 Stanley Cup Odds: What To Do With The Golden Knights From A Wagering Standpoint

2019 Stanley Cup Odds: What To Do With The Golden Knights From A Wagering Standpoint
They did what no other first-year expansion team had ever done. The Vegas Golden Knights posted a 100-point season, won the Pacific Division title and went all the way to the Stanley Cup final before falling in to the Capitals.

The Vegas Conundrum

vegas

OK Vegas, what have you got for an encore?

There was no more compelling story in sports than what the Vegas Golden Knights, a first-year expansion team, accomplished during the 2017-18 National Hockey League season. They rewrote the record book for first-year franchises, and not only won their division and reached the Stanley Cup final, they won a game in the final series, something no first-year team had ever done.

Four members of the team - coach Gerard Gallant, general manager George McPhee, forward William Karlsson and defenseman Deryk Engelland - left the NHL Awards with hardware. On the surface, the future certainly looks bright.

Professional sports is very much a what have you done for me lately industry, and all of their achievements from their inaugural season will be packed away when training camp opens for the 2018-19 NHL season. Can the Golden Knights contend again? The sportsbooks certainly aren't discounting them. Bovada lists the Golden Knights as their third choice to win the Cup next season at +1000. TopBet is even more sold on Vegas, listing the Golden Knights as their second choice to lift Lord Stanley's mug in the spring of 2019 at +800.  

  • Tampa Bay Lightning (+900)
  • Nashville Predators (+950)
  • Boston Bruins (+1000)
  • Vegas Golden Knights (+1000) 
  • Winnipeg Jets (+1100)
  • Washington Capitals (+1100)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (+1100)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (+1200)
  • Anaheim Ducks (+2000)
  • San Jose Sharks (+2000)
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (+2200)
  • Edmonton Oilers (+2200)
  • Dallas Stars (+2500)
  • Calgary Flames (+2800)
  • Chicago Blackhawks (+2800) 
  • Philadelphia Flyers (+3000) 
  • Los Angeles Kings (+3000) 
  • Minnesota Wild (+3000)
  • New Jersey Devils (+3500)
  • St. Louis Blues (+3500)
  • Colorado Avalanche (+4000)
  • Florida Panthers (+4500) 
  • New York Islanders (+6000) 
  • Montreal Canadiens (+6000)
  • Carolina Hurricanes (+6000)
  • New York Rangers (+8000)
  • Vancouver Canucks (+8000)
  • Arizona Coyotes (+10000) 
  • Buffalo Sabres (+10000)
  • Detroit Red Wings (+10000) 
  • Ottawa Senators (+10000)

But should we believe this prognosis of continued progress for the Golden Knights in Year Two, or does the combination of logic, simple reason and the law of diminishing returns indicate a downturn for Vegas next season? The fact of the matter is that a lot of things went right for the team in 2017-18, and those factors have a tendency to even out over the long haul. There are plenty of elements in the Vegas story that could lead to another year of high rolling for the team, or it could see them crap out.

There Will Be Expectations

Let's face it, no one anticipated anything of note from the Golden Knights last season. Even as they kept rolling along on their magical adventure, the vast majority anticipated that the bubble would ultimately burst. And it was those complete lack of expectations that made it easy on Gallant. He could roll four lines, play three defense pairings and when players made mistakes, he was able to send them right back out for their next shift, because no one figured this team was going to go anywhere.

That won't be the case in 2018-19. The Golden Knights set the bar at an unbelievably high level for a first-year team, and there will be no tolerating a lapse. There really never was a time in 2017-18 when Vegas faced serious adversity until the Cup final series against the Capitals, and when they got down there, they folded like a cheap Vegas lounge act, losing four straight games for the only time all season. They opened 8-1 last season. What happens if they break from the gate 3-6-1 next season? 

The Fleury Flurry

fleury

The main reason why the Golden Knights charged to the Stanley Cup final was the other-worldly netminding of Marc-Andre Fleury. His save percentage through the first three playoff round was .947. But when his game came back to earth in the final against the Capitals, the Golden Knights came down with him as if they were a worn-out Vegas casino being detonated by demolition experts. 

Pittsburgh fans - where Fleury had played from 2003 until last season - warned that the day of reckoning was coming. Fleury's career in Pittsburgh was marked by tremendous highs and crash and burn lows. Inconsistency was his trademark, so it may not be wise to count on a second season of spectacular puckstopping from him.

Sophomore Jinxes, Anyone?

It isn't just Fleury who set impressive standards last season. Karlsson scored a team-leading 43 goals. His previous career high was nine. Eric Haula netted 29 goals, his combined total for the previous two seasons. Jonathan Marchessault (75), Reilly Smith (60) and Nate Schmidt (36) all established new career highs in points. Was this because many of these players blossomed when given the chance to fill bigger roles, or did some of them overachieve? 

Who Stays? Who Goes?

Every team deals with roster uncertainty in the off-season and the Golden Knights are no different. Forwards James Neal, David Perron and Ryan Reaves are all unrestricted free agents, as is defenseman Luca Sbisa. Karlsson heads a list of restricted free agents that also includes forwards Tomas Nosek and William Carrier and defensemen Colin Miller and Shea Theodore. Even with $30.975 million in cap space, they can't sign everyone, because Fleury, Schmidt and Engelland will be UFAs in another year.

The Golden Knghts are without a first-round draft pick. They dealt it at the trade deadline to Detroit for forward Tomas Tatar, who couldn't even play regularly in the playoffs. An expansion team without a first round pick is a bad optic. The Golden Knights operated with a win now mentality in 2017-18, and who could blame them? They had to go for it. But how will that decision impact the future of this team?

There are numerous questions being asked of the Golden Knights as they enter Year Two. Encores are popular in the many Vegas casino shows, but they could prove much harder to achieve on the ice.

Results / FixturesVegas Golden Knights

Category : Betting Picks

Tag : George McPhee , Gerard Gallant , marc-andre fleury , Vegas Golden Knights , William Karlsson

More articles...
Betting Picks - 11/02/19
Major League Baseball 2019 Futures: It's a Wide Open Race 
Will it be third-time lucky for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2019 Major League Baseball Season? The Dodgers have represented the National League in the past two World Series, losing in five games last season to the Boston Red Sox and in seven games to the Houston Astros in 2017. Seven teams have lost back-to-back World Series titles and two teams lost three straight - the New York Giants (1911-13) and the Detroit Tigers (1907-09).
Betting Picks - 07/02/19
Time For UFC 234 Bets: Middleweights Take Center Stage 
The UFC takes the octagon Down Under for the second time in a year, as UFC 234 is slated for Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, almost a year to the day that UFC 221 was held at Perth Arena on Feb. 11, 2018. It is the 13th time that a UFC card will be contested in Australia and the third time an event will be held in Melbourne.
Betting Picks - 06/02/19
Nascar Schedule 2019 
As the calendar almost flips to February, that can only mean one thing — the race toward a championship, and no, we're not talking about the Super Bowl. Actually, it's the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series, which revs into session with the historic Daytona 500 race in a few short weeks. For bettors looking to plot ahead, here's a complete guide to the NASCAR season!
Betting Picks - 04/02/19
Copa America 2019 

The 2019 Copa America is the 46th edition of the Copa America and the first tournament run since 2016. Held in Brazil, 10 South American teams plus Japan and Qatar battle it out to become the winners of the CONMEBOL’s biggest soccer tournament.

 

It was Chile who won the last Copa America, which was hosted by the United States, in 2016. Chile made it back-to-back Copa America titles having won the competition in 2015 also. Can they make it three in a row in Brazil?