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Hockey Picks: 2016 Stanley Cup Futures Odds To Bet – Expert Handicapping

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With the thrilling 2015 Stanley Cup in the books it is already time to start talking about which teams could make a run at Hockey’s Holy Grail next season. There will be some huge free agent signings this summer, some major salary cap casualties and of course some team-changing draft choices as well. All of those things could tip the balance of power just a bit as we head into the 2015-2016 season.

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That said there are some obvious contenders – the Blackhawks lead the way. Can they complete the almost-impossible repeat or is there a team waiting in the wings to take down hockey’s biggest prize? Let’s take a look.

Odds to win the 2016 Stanley Cup

Chicago Blackhawks 7/1

-The Chicago Blackhawks have played a lot of hockey the past six seasons – repeating as champs is virtually impossible because of the intense grind.

The Hawks have Andrew Desjardins, Marcus Kruger, Brad Richards, Brandon Saad, Antoine Vermette and Johnny Oduya as impending free agents – they are in an eerily similar situation they were in after their Cup win in 2010 – they lost a ton of guys who left for greener pastured and then failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs that year.

I’m staying away from Chicago – no team has repeated as champ since 1998 and in the salary cap era is has become nearly impossible to win it all two straight years.

New York Rangers 8/1

– The Rangers have to be in the conversation again. The last two years they have won the East and have been runner-up in the other. Henrik Lundqvist still provides the best goalkeeping in the game, Ryan McDonagh anchors one f the best defensive corps. in the game and the young hungry forward unit isn’t going away.

Question marks surround veterans Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis – they may not be back but that shouldn’t be a huge deal for the Rangers as they were minimally effective during each of their last two Cup runs. Coach Alain Vigneault will have the Rangers ready in what still looks like an unflattering Eastern Conference.

Anaheim Ducks 10/1

– The Ducks still look like a powerhouse in the West – Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the first line along with Ryan Kesler on the second line make the Ducks one of the most difficult teams to play against in the NHL. The steady improvement of goaltender Frederik Andersen will also help this team work toward their goal next year.

Anaheim is big, they are tough, they are fast and they are skilled – perfect attributes for a playoff team. With the Blackhawks poised to take a step backward this season, Anaheim should be ready to pounce their way into the Cup Final.

St. Louis Blues 12/1

– The Blues despite having a team that looks built for the playoffs just can’t seem to win the big series – until they do it is pretty hard to trust them as a serious Cup contender. Sure there is Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo and a good goaltending tandem but this team has a definite history of falling short. Three straight first round playoff exits has me concerned.

Tampa Bay Lightning 12/1

– How about the Lightning at 12/1? It is said in sports that you have to experience heartache before reaching the pinnacle – that’s what the Lightning experienced in 2015. If Tyler Johnson hadn’t broken his wrist and if Ben Bishop hadn’t torn his groin, we may be talking about them as the defending Stanley Cup champs. Tampa still has 25 year old Steven Stamkos, young stud defenseman Victor Hedman and one of the most dangerous lines in the game.

The Lightning likely won’t have a ton of turnover in the offseason – they are stacked and ready to avenge this year’s Cup defeat.

Los Angeles Kings 14/1

– If the pattern holds true it is LA’s turn to win the Cup. The 2012 and 2014 Cup winner will have a solid core return in 2015/2016 – Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick will be eager to avenge a disappointing 2015 campaign that saw them miss the playoffs – incredible!

The Kings will be formidable again in 2015-2016 – just don’t know if they will be able to get past some of the other powerhouses in the West.

Minnesota Wild 14/1

– The Wild look stacked with a combination veterans and youth in all aspects of the game. They are definitely an up-and coming team. That said they do have a ton of salary tied up in just a few players and they will have to get a repeat performance from Devan Dubnyk (if they indeed do re-sign him).

I see a drop-off from Dubnyk coming and a disappointing season for the Wild being the result.

Montreal Canadiens 14/1

– With Carey Price manning the crease and a defensive corp. that includes PK Subban, Andrei Markov and Jeff Petry, the Habs are going to be an awfully tough team to score on! Trust GM Marc Bergevin to beef up his undersized forward group and for the Habs to be in the mix again next year. The Habs at 14/1 are good value – especially since they are battle-tested and extra hungry going into 2015-2016.

Pittsburgh Penguins 14/1

– I have no faith that the make-up of this team can make enough noise in the playoffs.

Boston Bruins 16/1

– Boston looks like a team on the decline. There is definitely better value out there!

Nashville Predators 16/1

– looking for some value? How about the Nashville Predators who made enormous strides last year and could shock the league this year. Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Seth Jones make up one of the more formidable defensive corps. in the league, Pekka Rinne still has to be considered an elite keeper and up-an-coming offensive threats like Filip Forsberg have the Nashville arrow pointing way up.

Nashville is deep and talented in all aspects of the game – they are an intriguing 16/1.

Washington Capitals 18/1

– The Caps focus on defense served them well last year but depth is something that this team lacks. Every team that has won the Cup the last 10 years has had four solid lines – I don’t see that formula in DC.

New York Islanders 22/1

– How about the Islanders who improved dramatically last year with the additions of Jaroslav Halak, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Once a weakness the Isles defense became a strength in 2015. There is little doubt about the offense – John Tavares looks like one of the best young leaders in the game and the supporting cast is decent enough for this team to make some noise.

Winnipeg Jets 25/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 33/1
Detroit Red Wings 33/1
Edmonton Oilers 33/1
Calgary Flames 40/1
San Jose Sharks 40/1
Vancouver Canucks 40/1
Ottawa Senators 50/1
Colorado Avalanche 66/1
Dallas Stars 66/1
New Jersey Devils 66/1
Philadelphia Flyers 66/1
Toronto Maple Leaf 66/1
Florida Panthers 75/1
Buffalo Sabres 100/1
Carolina Hurricanes 100/1
Arizona Coyotes 100/1

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