While the NHL currently considers a return to the ice with a 24-team playoff format, oddsmakers haven’t altered the Stanley Cup futures during the shutdown. The Boston Bruins (100 points) and Tampa Bay Lightning (92 points), the two best teams from the Eastern Conference, are also co-favorites to win the 2020 Stanley Cup at 13/2 odds.
The upstart Colorado Avalanche (92 points) and Vegas Golden Knights (86 points), at 10/1 Stanley Cup odds, are right behind the top dogs.
Meanwhile, the defending champion St Louis Blues (94 points) are 11/1 odds to repeat as NHL champions. The Blues are the best team from the Western Conference, and would earn the #1 seed if the playoffs began today.
2020 Stanley Cup Odds (As of 5.14.20)
Boston Bruins 13/2
Tampa Bay Lightning 13/2
Colorado Avalanche 10/1
Vegas Golden Knights 10/1
St Louis Blues 11/1
Washington Capitals 11/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 13/1
Philadelphia Flyers 13/1
Dallas Stars 15/1
Edmonton Oilers 20/1
The NHL has several challenges to overcome if it expects a healthy return to action. The league has several international players, plus several teams located in Canada.
With approximately 15% of the season remaining, the NHL looked at going directly to the postseason. If fans were unable to attend games, it figured, what is the point of playing out the rest of the season in empty arenas?
At the same time, several teams were on the brink of mathematical elimination for the postseason. What would be the point of putting those players and staff through a meaningless training camp? That’s why a modified playoff with 24 teams makes sense.
The AHL announced earlier this week that it’s shutting down for the season, so expect NHL teams to carry minor leaguers on an expanded roster.
Could This Finally Be Canada’s Year?
A Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens won the championship. Canadian hockey clubs have been chasing a ghost ever since.
Last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs posted 100 points and secured the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They lost a tough Game 7 and were knocked out by the Boston Bruins. Out of the handful of Canadian teams that qualified for the postseason, the Leafs went the farthest.
More Stanley Cup Odds
Toronto Maple Leafs 20/1
Carolina Hurricanes 24/1
Calgary Flames 25/1
Vancouver Canucks 30/1
Nashville Predators 30/1
Minnesota Wild 30/1
NY Islanders 33/1
NY Rangers 40/1
Arizona Coyotes 40/1
Winnipeg Jets 55/1
A quick glance shows that the Edmonton Oilers are the highest Canadian team on the futures board at 20/1 odds. With 83 points, the Oilers were the second-best team in the Pacific Division, just ahead of the Calgary Flames. The Flames are 25/1 odds.
The Oilers lost Connor David, the NHL’s second-best scorer, for several weeks in mid-February due to a quad injury. He returned before the shutdown, but has since had a couple of extra months to heal up.
The Winnipeg Jets hold the top wild-card spot in the West, while the Vancouver Canucks were on the playoff bubble. The Canucks would be one of the teams that would benefit from the expanded playoff format. Oddsmakers listed the Canucks at 30/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup.
Super Long Shots or Dunzo
Seven teams really have zero incentive to lace up the skates, which is even more reason the 24-team postseason makes sense.
In the East, the bottom feeders were toast anyway. The Detroit Red Wings (with a paltry 39 points) were technically the only Eastern Conference team mathematically eliminated. The Ottawa Senators (62 points), New Jersey Devils (68 points), and Buffalo Sabres (68 points) were also on the cusp of dunzo.
Out in the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks (63 points) and Los Angeles Kings (64 points) were fighting for the cellar. The Anaheim Ducks (67 points) weren’t much better.
Stanley Cup Long Shots or Dunzo
Florida Panthers 60/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 60/1
Chicago Blackhawks 150/1
Montreal Canadiens 200/1
San Jose Sharks 275/1
Anaheim Ducks 300/1
LA Kings 300/1
New Jersey Devils 325/1
Buffalo Sabres 350/1
Ottawa Senators 500/1
Detroit Red Wings N/A**
** OFF THE BOARD
The Columbus Blue Jackets offer up the best value at 60/1. The Blue Jackets pulled off a stunning first-round upset over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Before the commissioner shut down the NHL season at the onset of the outbreak, the Blue Jackets were in the second wild-card spot behind the Carolina Hurricanes with 81 points each. Both New York teams, the Islanders (80 points) and the Rangers (79 points), were jockeying for the final wild-card spots.
At this point, the two big long shots on the board include Chicago Blackhawks 150/1 and the Montreal Canadiens at 200/1.