It's the week before the trade deadline so it's a good time to look in on some teams that may be quality future book plays according to Champion Handicapper Dana Lane.
We're just under a week from the National Hockey League's trade deadline which reminds us that we should check in on potential future plays before a few of these teams attempt to get stronger which will drive the NHL odds down. The best part about hockey odds is that you'll always get a fair return for your money with the lowest odds on the board being the Washington Capitals at 4/1 with BetOnline.
Using my current power rankings we'll start in with the 5th ranked team, the Chicago Blackhawks who are currently 8/1 to win the Stanley Cup. The only problem with Chicago is that they play in the Western Conference which is home to four of my top five teams but 'Hawks fans have a shot at cashing their ticket. The Blackhawks would be higher if their penalty kill, among the worst in the league, suddenly gets hot in the playoffs. As we stand it looks as if the Blackhawks may face the St. Louis Blues who are one of the league's best teams with the man advantage. Something to watch as the season progresses.
Coming in at four is the San Jose Sharks who's future odds sit at a generous 15/1 according to 5Dimes. The Sharks play as well defensively as anyone as they allow just 2.38 goals per game. Goaltender Martin Jones is 28-15-6 with a 2.34 GAA, and a .913 save percentage which isn't impressive by themselves but you have to take into account his Stanley Cup experience, not to mention he has the luxury of playing in the back of Brent Burns the best defensemen in the NHL.
At three is the Columbus Blue Jackets, offering odds of 12/1 at BetOnline. They bring an offense that produces 3.19 goals per game but with that is a top five defense. Hard to beat when you have quality defense and offense.
Number two is the Edmonton Oilers who you can get at 20/1 at 5Dimes. The only concern I have with them is that they give up too many opportunities to their opponents but at 20/1 they're worth a shot.
And coming in at number one is the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins who have very little in the way of flaws. They have four lines that can be relied on to score and you can surprisingly still get Stanley up odds of 10/1 at 5Dimes. No matter how much I tend to shy away from the defending champion, it's very hard to ignore the Penguins who have best the best team in the league since January 2016.
These are my top five teams that offer value in conjunction with having a legit chance of winning the 2017 Stanley Cup, however, let's see if this changes after the March 1st deadline.