NHL Western Conference Contenders, Sleepers, and Pretenders

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, January 22, 2015 3:56 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 3:56 PM GMT

We’ll be examining the Western Conference future odds in this article. We’ve included our legitimate favorites, sleepers, and overvalued teams.

Western Conference Future Odds
This is the time of the year when NHL conference future odds begin to really take shape. I’m going to review some of the Western Conference future odds pertaining to teams that I deem to be contenders, and other that I see as pretenders. I’ll also include a couple of my possible sleepers.

 

The Legitimate Favorites
Chicago Blackhawks (+180):
Despite currently being 3rd in the Central Division, and 5th overall in the conference standings, the major sportsbooks have tabbed the Blackhawks as the NHL odds on favorite in the West. Although there’s no value in my eyes of playing a team at these odds in regards to a futures play, I do see Chicago reaching the Western Conference Finals at the very least, and wouldn’t be shocked at all if they were to capture the Stanley Cup.

Anaheim Ducks (+275): The Ducks are currently atop the Pacific Division and Western Conference standings. They have a nice balance of size and finesse. My only concern for the Ducks at this point, is the heavy lifting that Frederik Andersen has had to endure in goal. He wouldn’t be the first goaltender in NHL history to wear down at playoff time due to logging a heavy regular season work load, and he certainly won’t be the last if that indeed transpires.


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Value Picks
Los Angeles Kings (+650):
Believe it or not, if the season were to end today, the Los Angeles Kings would fail to make the playoffs. The flip side to that equation, the Kings have proven that they’ve been able to turn the proverbial switch on in the past three seasons, and always have seemed to peak at the right time during that span. I don’t see this season being any different, and at this current price, they’re a terrific value.

Vancouver Canucks (+2200): The Canucks enter the break 7th in the Western Conference standings. After sustaining a complete melt down in the final stretch of the 2013-2014 NHL campaign that resulted in them missing the playoffs, the new coaching regime has put the house back in order. The Canucks also have a renewed confidence this time around with a proven money goaltender in Ryan Miller. It’s a long shot, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility.


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Overvalued Teams
St. Louis Blues (+650):
The Blues past playoff failures are a huge roadblock for me in terms of even considering a wager on them to advance out of the West. As a matter of fact, a sign of progress for this team would be to win an opening round series for once. The goaltending tandem of Bryan Elliott and rookie Jake Allen isn’t going to strike fear in many opponents and for good reason.

Nashville Predators (+1000): The Predators have embarked on the first season in franchise history without Barry Trotz as their head coach, and weren’t considered to be a major player in the West. However, they’ve surprised many including myself at the level in which they’ve performed. There a nice story, and one that I don’t see having a great final chapter.

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