Our NHL handicapping professional provides us with his opinions on some Stanley Cup Futures as we near the midpoint of the 2015-2016 NHL campaign.
Stanley Cup Futures Update
I’m going to take a look at the 2016 Stanley Cup Futures as we resume play after this recent Christmas break. All NHL odds mentioned in this article are provided by The Greek.
Washington Capitals (+600): This is a very scary team to play against right now. The Capitals are currently (12/26) 25-6-2 and have an 8 point lead over the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They have a plethora of offensive talent, and Braden Holtby is developing into a world class goaltender. They have the look of a team on a mission. The Capitals blew a 3-1 season lead to the Rangers in last season’s playoffs, and they’ve certainly put that bad nightmare behind them.
Dallas Stars (+700): I’ve contended for a long time that Lindy Ruff is one of the most underrated head coaches in the NHL. He was able to get a lot of mileage out of a small market team in Buffalo during his 15 year tenure there. Buffalo reached the conference finals on three separate occasions, and played in the 1999 Stanley Cup Final under Ruff. Why am I bringing this up, well I’m glad you asked? None of those Buffalo teams had anywhere near the overall talent that this Dallas club possesses. The Stars have size, speed, a ton of offensive skill, and solid goaltending. The Stars may be shining brightly in June of 2016.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+1500): Tampa Bay has been a bit of a disappointment during the first half of the season. However, they’ve shown signs of coming out of their underachieving funk in recent games. Let it not be forgotten, the Lightning advanced to the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals a season ago, and played in 27 postseason games last spring. The good news is they gained a ton of valuable playoff experience in doing so. The bad news is they’ve seemed to suffer from a bit of a hangover from last season’s long and grueling grind. This roster is virtually identical to the one that made a deep postseason run in 2015, and at this current price presents an outstanding betting value for your NHL picks. I look for Tampa Bay to make a strong surge in the second half of this season.
Los Angeles Kings (+800): Los Angeles entered last season having won two of the previous three Stanley Cups, and had advanced to the Conference Finals in each of the previous four years. Unfortunately, they didn’t come close to meeting expectations, and inexplicably failed to qualify for the playoffs. I fully expect them to be part of the 2016 postseason in the Western Conference, and be a major force when that time comes.