Stanley Cup odds update: Avs, Panthers leading the pack
We're almost exactly halfway through the 2021-22 season. For some teams - like the Anaheim Ducks - we are exactly halfway through the campaign.
With enough of a sample size to have a proper evaluation of teams, we can separate the contenders from the pretenders.
We'll do just that as we look at the current Stanley Cup odds, identifying the best buys and sells in the market.
|TEAM||ODDS (Jan. 17)||ODDS (Nov. 29)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+800||+850|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+800||+900|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+900||+1100|
|New York Rangers||+2000||+2500|
|St. Louis Blues||+2500||+2400|
|New York Islanders||+6000||+2200|
|Los Angeles Kings||+10000||+6000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+15000||+10000|
|Detroit Red Wings||+15000||+10000|
|New Jersey Devils||+15000||+6000|
|San Jose Sharks||+15000||+7000|
Colorado Avalanche (+500)
This isn't a "fun" pick, but sometimes you have to eat the chalk, and backing the Avalanche might be one of those times. They've dealt with a plethora of injuries and COVID issues all season long. You could probably count on one hand the number of games they've played with all of their key guys in the lineup. Yet they lead the league with 4.25 goals per game. Colorado has a ton of firepower up front, its blue line is loaded, and this team attacks you with a level of speed that's essentially unmatched. If Darcy Kuemper can get on track between the pipes, the sky is the limit here.
Florida Panthers (+800)
I'm not sure why the Panthers aren't getting more love in the betting market. They lead the league in points percentage and goals, and they're a hair behind the Maple Leafs for first in expected goals for percentage. Their top six is as potent as anybody's, they have scoring depth all throughout the lineup, and the defense - led by Aaron Ekblad and Mackenzie Weegar - is in very good shape. I know some - myself included - have questioned the team's goaltending, but the Panthers rank 13th in save percentage. So long as they can get average netminding, they have what it takes to go on a long run.
Pittsburgh Penguins (+1800)
The Penguins are third in the NHL in wins over the last 25 games. They rank in the top 10 in almost every five-on-five metric available during that span, including their Corsi share, expected goals, and actual goals. They're an elite penalty-killing side, and with Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, and Co. back in the mix, we might soon be able to say the same about their power play. They're garnering fantastic results at both ends of the ice, and Tristan Jarry (sixth in Goals Saved Above Expected) has proven capable of bailing the Penguins out whenever necessary. Like Colorado, Pittsburgh has been without key players all season long and the team is still piling up the wins. I don't think the Penguins are getting enough respect.
Edmonton Oilers (+2000)
What. A. Waste. The Oilers look more like a bubble team than a contender despite having two of the league's most dynamic talents on their roster. To put things into perspective, they have just one more win than the Coyotes over the last 25 games. Edmonton has next to no depth, its goaltending is inconsistent, and the team has issues behind the bench. That's the only explanation for not having one (1) win this season when trailing after 20 minutes. The Oilers are 0-12-2 in such situations. Only one other team - the Flames - is winless when losing after 20, but they've had six fewer tries. Calgary is also a structured, defense-first side that doesn't feature game-breakers the caliber of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers are broken.
Dallas Stars (+3500)
The Stars aren't a great hockey team. Heck, they might not be a good one. At five-on-five, they've controlled only 49% of the expected goals over the last 25 games. They've been outscored in that time. Oh, and one of their top players - John Klingberg - wants out. This team has one and done written all over it - if Dallas even makes the playoffs.
New York Islanders (+6000)
These odds are ugly, and yet I think they're still too generous to the Islanders. Forget winning the Stanley Cup - this team will be lucky to make the playoffs. New York's odds of qualifying are below 10%. Sure, the Islanders have a few games in hand on the Bruins. But they're 18 points behind. 18! I don't know if they can outperform a mediocre team by 18 points the rest of the season, let alone one with as much talent as the Bruins. Simply put, a team that'll miss the playoffs more than nine times out of 10 shouldn't be given a nearly 2% implied probability of winning the Stanley Cup.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.