- Bovada has 2021 Stanley Cup odds for all 31 National Hockey League teams
- Colorado (+600) is the favorite to hoist Lord Stanley but the Lightning (+750) will see the most benefit from the NHL’s proposed division realignment plan
- Realignment will see the formation of a seven-team all-Canadian division
After some initial disagreement over how players and owners would split hockey-related revenue this season, the NHL will reportedly begin a shortened 56-game schedule on Jan. 13.
Key to the plan is a divisional realignment proposal that would include an all-Canadian division and three American divisions, designed with time zones and travel distances top of mind.
Let’s look at the updated Stanley Cup odds and break down how the realignment could impact your bets.
ODDS TO WIN STANLEY CUP
The league’s current proposal breaks the divisions down like this:
Boston-Buffalo-New Jersey-NY Islanders-NY Rangers-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh-Washington
Anaheim-Arizona-Colorado-Dallas-Los Angeles-Las Vegas-San Jose-St. Louis
However, on Friday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman reported that Minnesota is likely headed to the Pacific division while Dallas would shift to the Central.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 10, 2020
The two “losers” under this proposal would appear to be the Blues and Wild, who have to play out of time-zone on the West Coast, but both teams would have to endure far less travel than the seven Canadian clubs who have to play games across the country in all four time zones.
Despite the increase in jet lag, it’s at least possible that an all-Canadian division becomes a permanent fixture if it leads to increased ratings on both sides of the border.
While the league will surely miss classic rivalries such as Habs/Bruins, there’s no doubt that team owners in Winnipeg (+3300), Edmonton (+2000), Calgary (+3500), and Vancouver (+2600) would welcome more home dates with the Canadiens (+2500) and Maple Leafs (+1300).
COLORADO REMAINS CUP FAVORITES
The Avalanche’s Cup odds moved from +750 at last check-in to +600 today. Dallas’ reported move to the Central would be good news for Colorado, who lost their second round series to the Stars (+2000) in seven games, especially since they’ll now be sharing a division with the Vegas Golden Knights (+850).
The defending champs in Tampa Bay (+750) will move out of an Atlantic division they claimed in both 2017 and 2018 into a make-shift Central with bottom-dwellers such as Detroit (+15000) and Chicago (+6000). The Lightning should win this division with ease, which would potentially give Jon Cooper’s club an advantage in the postseason should the NHL stick with their current divisional playoff format.
— Edmonton Journal (@edmontonjournal) December 12, 2020
Boston (+1200) and Philadelphia (+1400) appear to be the class of a new Atlantic division which includes recent (but fading) Cup champs in Pittsburgh (+2000) and Washington (+2200), as well as an on-the-rise Rangers (+3000) squad with No. 1 overall pick Alexis Lafrenière.
If nothing else, the impending divisional realignment should add some intrigue to a quickly-approaching 2021 NHL season.