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With a busy trade deadline in the rearview mirror, NHL rosters are set and the playoff push is underway, with the quest for the Stanley Cup on the horizon.
There was a flurry of action in the lead-up to Monday's deadline. While some general managers were busy strengthening their teams for the stretch run, others got lost in the chaos, with their respective squads' chances suffering blows as a result.
Here are the updated Stanley Cup odds heading into the final six weeks of the regular season:
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+600|
|St. Louis Blues||+800|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+900|
|New York Islanders||+1800|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+2800|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+3300|
|New York Rangers||+4000|
Only displaying teams with odds +5000 or shorter.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+600)
This is a betting article, and for the purposes of winning the Stanley Cup this season, it doesn't matter to us how much teams overpay to add. The Lightning gave up a lot for the likes of Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, but is anyone going to care about that if they're lifting the Cup come June? Coleman is a smart player who should provide solid depth scoring, while Goodrow makes Tampa a tougher team to play against. And let's not forget Zach Bogosian, who elected to sign with the Bolts over a number of other suitors. Heading a team that just needed some fine-tuning, general manager Julien BriseBois hit a home run.
Washington Capitals (+1000)
The Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Jim Rutherford had a typically excellent couple of weeks leading up to the deadline, but Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan deserves a ton of credit for not just keeping up, but winning their divisional arms race. Brenden Dillon brings experience and toughness to the Caps' blue line, and the addition of a motivated Ilya Kovalchuk is highly intriguing. Each of those players shifts the needle more than the Penguins' addition of Patrick Marleau, which didn't make a whole lot of sense, and the re-acquisition of Conor Sheary. Pittsburgh did well to get Jason Zucker earlier in February, but Rutherford didn't do anything to address the back end, where injuries remain an issue.
The Capitals solidified themselves as the cream of the crop in the Metropolitan Division, and they can be had for the same price as a Penguins team that hasn't much improved since the Zucker trade.
Philadelphia Flyers (+2000)
It wasn't a flashy deadline for Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher, but he did really well given his team's financial restraints. Nate Thompson and Derek Grant won't make a big impact on the scoreboard, but they're the sort of players whose presence is really felt in the playoffs. They offer important grit and depth without disrupting team chemistry. Grant is having a career year and can fill a variety of roles, while Thompson is outstanding in the faceoff circle and should prove an invaluable addition in the room.
Carolina Hurricanes (+2000)
I wrote extensively about the Hurricanes' odds earlier in February, and if you own a Canes futures ticket, you have to be thrilled with the deadline work of GM Don Waddell. Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen provide a massive boost to a defensive core that's been riddled with injuries, but the real prize was Vincent Trocheck, who gives Carolina legitimately impressive depth down the middle. Injuries in goal are a concern, but Alex Nedeljkovic has had success at every level and there's no reason to suggest he can't fill the void. It's not like Petr Mrazek had been playing lights out, either.
Colorado Avalanche (+900)
It's not all doom and gloom for the Avalanche, who are still an excellent team with a long window to win, but it feels GM Joe Sakic missed the boat a bit here. There's nothing wrong with being patient, but it seemed like Colorado could have taken a significant step toward the Cup by adding someone like Trocheck, Chris Kreider, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, or Tomas Tatar. Colorado has great organizational depth, and it would have been nice to see Sakic flex some of that muscle to have a real go at it this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs (+2800)
The Maple Leafs suffered a painful loss Saturday, but the one taken by GM Kyle Dubas on Monday might have been even worse. He stood idly by as the rest of an already very strong Eastern Conference got that much better. Dubas wasn't exactly swimming in trade assets, but it was a predicament of his own making, and many would have liked to see him get creative to address any of the roster's multiple holes. On a positive note, you can't get your heart broken in Game 7 if you don't reach a Game 7.
Calgary Flames (+3000)
In fairness to GM Brad Treliving, the Flames were backed into a corner following injuries to Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic. He was never going to be able to replace that pair, but the addition of Erik Gustafsson is underwhelming. In a truly wide-open Pacific Division, it would have been nice to see him roll the dice a bit more. At this rate, there's a decent chance the Flames wind up missing the playoffs altogether.
Florida Panthers (+5000)
The Maple Leafs keep gifting the Panthers a route to the playoffs, but Florida is shockingly reluctant to accept. Not only did the Panthers not improve, but they got worse by dealing Trocheck to a team extremely close to them in the standings. There was nothing to like about Florida's deadline moves, especially with a playoff spot right there for the taking.
Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.