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Free agency in October. Weird. Such is life in 2020, and it's only fitting that an offseason taking place during what is usually the start of the regular season brings some wild and unexpected activity.
With the dust settling following a flurry of signings and trades, theScoreBet released our Stanley Cup odds for the 2020-21 season, and we dive into the teams you need to be buying and selling at their current price.
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+800|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+900|
|New York Islanders||+1800|
|St. Louis Blues||+1800|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+2200|
|New York Rangers||+3500|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+3800|
|San Jose Sharks||+4000|
|Los Angeles Kings||+7000|
|New Jersey Devils||+8500|
|Detroit Red Wings||+15000|
Toronto Maple Leafs (+2200)
While the Leafs didn’t necessarily get better in the offseason, they drastically changed the culture of the team. Wayne Simmonds, Zach Bogosian, and Joe Thornton's best days are well behind them, but they each add an element of tenacity and experience desperately needed in Toronto. The bottom six is a cause for concern - it's a slow group that will be exposed against good teams - with the trades of Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen hurting the Leafs' depth, but Kyle Dubas did well to improve the back end.
T.J. Brodie and Bogosian are clear stylistic upgrades over Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci, fitting well into the top six. If the Leafs can get enough production up front from their complementary pieces - admittedly a big if - the rest is in place for this team to be a difficult one to play against. Oddsmakers have finally softened a bit on Toronto, so don't wait much longer to get in.
Montreal Canadiens (+4500)
There was a lot of pressure on general manager Marc Bergevin heading into the offseason to build on a strong playoff performance and the emergence of young stars Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He delivered. Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli add much-needed scoring to the top six, the arrivals of Joel Edmundson and Alex Romanov solidify a deep blue line, while the acquisition of Jake Allen provides the Canadiens with a true backup goalie for the first time in years, lightening the burden on Carey Price.
The Habs have great depth throughout the roster, with a healthy blend of size and skill. With the continued progression of Suzuki and Kotkaniemi, the Canadiens can make some real noise this season in a wide-open Eastern Conference. This price should be in the 25-1 to 30-1 range.
Colorado Avalanche (+450)
Don't get me wrong, the Avalanche had a better offseason than just about anyone, and far and away the best of any true Cup contender. Joe Sakic might not have many more of his phone calls answered after absolutely fleecing the Islanders for defenseman Devon Toews. Brandon Saad was another smart acquisition, as Colorado added excellent value to what was arguably already the best roster in the NHL.
So why sell on the Avalanche? Because +450 is an egregious price in the futures market. It's an especially egregious price in a league of parity and arguably the toughest trophy to win in professional sports. Even if the Avalanche rip through the regular season and finish atop the Western Conference, these are the sort of odds you can get at the start of the playoffs. Exercise patience here.
New York Islanders (+1800)
Speaking of getting fleeced, losing Toews for virtually nothing was the cherry on top of a miserable offseason for the Islanders, just weeks after coming so close to reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Salary cap issues were the driving force, but Toews’ departure will be a crippling blow on the blue line. Losing Thomas Greiss will be made more manageable by the arrival of Ilya Sorokin, but this team did nothing to improve and that's a big concern. At just +1800, I'm staying far, far away.
Vancouver Canucks (+2200)
It’s been a head-scratching offseason for general manager Jim Benning. The biggest blow was the departure of Jacob Markstrom, who was playing at a Vezina level for this team last season. It vaults Thatcher Demko into a full-time role, with Braden Holtby and his declining skills brought in to share duties.
Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher signing elsewhere is a blow to the Canucks' already worrisome depth, but the most puzzling decision was not bringing back Toffoli, who signed an incredibly reasonable and affordable deal in Montreal. Sure, acquiring Nate Scmidt was one of the best trades of the offseason, but it’s not enough to erase the irreversible damage done before that. This is a team primed for a decline.
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
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.