In this article, we’ve scratched off the top five favorites and are looking at value plays who could be a good bet as Stanley Cup winners if some things break their way.
Minnesota Wild (13/1)
What Would Have to Go Right: They would have to carry over the momentum they had from last season. The Wild were one of the surprise teams that kicked it into high gear once Devan Dubnyk arrived. It looks like he’s no fluke and if he can continue playing at an elite level, this team could be one worth investing in. They had a fairly quiet offseason, so they will be banking on internal growth.
Pittsburgh Penguins (13/1)
What Would Have to Go Right: The Penguins are an interesting value play at 13/1 on the NHL odds – if you believe in them. They have completely flopped in the playoffs in recent seasons and their coaching staff enters the year on the hot seat. However, it’s hard to argue with their talent. The offense should be the best in the NHL with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz, David Perron, Pascal Dupuis, Patric Hornqvist and more. The question is what happens on their blue line. For them to be a Cup contender, their blue line would have to get much better and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would have to exercise some playoff demons of his own. However, if that goes right for them, this team is good value at 13/1.
New York Islanders (13/1)
What Would Have to Go Right: The Islanders are a team that’s been building and why we have them on the list is maybe this is the year things finally break right for them. They have a solid couple of lines up front, their blueline is steady and goaltender Jaroslav Halak seemed to have solved their goaltending woes. Are they a Cup contender right now? Probably not. However, they are only a couple of pieces away. If they can acquire another top-six forward and a top-four forward – which is doable at the trade deadline – this team would become a serious contender in the East.
Washington Capitals (18/1)
What Would Have to Go Right: The Washington Capitals were a team that was close, but no cigar last season. Can things get any better for them in 2015-16? It looks like the answer might be ‘yes.’ We know that they weren’t many bricks short of a load but it seems like their offense was the area that was lacking. That’s why they went out and got T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams. If that tandem can provide enough depth behind Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and company, the Capitals might finally be ready to take that next step. Goaltender Braden Holtby has proven that he’s the real deal and the Caps blue line looks legit. This team might be a great value play at 18/1 in what should be a fairly wide open Eastern Conference.