- The NHL Trade Deadline has impacted the 2018 Stanley Cup odds.
- The rich got richer in Tampa Bay.
- But the defending champion Penguins have waddled their way up to favorite status.
Now that the NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, some teams have improved their Stanley Cup fortunes, while others felt no need to tinker.
Not every trade will bear fruit, but adding depth is rarely a bad idea before trekking up the postseason mountain. Let’s update the 2018 Stanley Cup odds and take a closer look at which squads NHL bettors should be backing in the stretch run.
UPDATED STANLEY CUP ODDS
Below are the updated odds courtesy of Bovada. Compared to the last time we analyzed the Stanley Cup futures, the more ambitious deadline teams have made the biggest jumps, along with the two Pennsylvania franchises, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, even though they were relatively quiet on the trade front. On the other end of the spectrum, St. Louis and New Jersey fell hard and fast.
- Tampa Bay Lightning: +600
- Vegas Golden Knights: +600
- Nashville Predators: +700
- Pittsburgh Penguins: +700
- Boston Bruins: +800
- Winnipeg Jets: +1100
- Toronto Maple Leafs: +1100
- Washinton Capitals: +1400
- Anaheim Ducks: +1800
- Dallas Stars: +2200
- St. Louis Blues: +2500
- Minnesota Wild: +2800
- San Jose Sharks: +2800
- Philadelphia Flyers: +2800
- Calgary Flames: +3300
- Los Angeles Kings: +3300
- New Jersey Devils: +4000
- Columbus Blue Jackets: +5000
- New York Islanders: +6600
- Colorado Avalanche: +7500
- Florida Panthers: +7500
- New York Rangers: +30000
- Chicago Blackhawks: +30000
- Detroit Red Wings: +30000
Tampa Bay Lightning (+600)
The Bolts just couldn’t help themselves. They paid a huge price to acquire Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the Rangers. McDonagh bolsters the Lightning blue line, which already boasted the likes of Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev, who are having outstanding seasons. Even though he is a fantastic skater and does a great job of moving the puck, McDonagh is not here to put up points; he’ll be relied on for his defensive prowess, something that’ll be needed going against opponents’ top lines in the playoffs.
The addition of J.T. Miller gives Tampa more depth at forward as the speedy winger will fit nicely in a secondary scoring role on an already stacked and prolific roster. Give kudos to GM Steve Yzerman who has done an excellent job of straddling the line between building a winner without mortgaging the future.
The Lightning were already the favorites to win the Cup, now anything else would seem like a giant disappointment.
Vegas Golden Knights (+600)
Are we done betting against the Vegas Golden Knights yet? If you were an early adopter of the Knights, you have been provided some fantastic return on investment this season. Now the team is hoping to get some sweet ROI on Tomas Tatar, whom they acquired from the Detroit Red Wings at the deadline. Although Tatar is having a subpar season, he’s still an above average shooter and a brilliant transition player who isn’t too shabby on the defensive side of the puck either.
How big of an impact will Tatar have on the Golden Knights? It seems whoever plays in Vegas all of a sudden gets better, just look at William Karlsson.
The Golden Knights have been a fabulous story but how will they play when they are faced with a more aggressive style of game in the playoffs?
Nashville Predators (+700)
The Preds can smell a Stanley Cup so bad that they paid a steep price for former first-round pick Ryan Hartman, whose 25 points this year don’t really give you an idea of what he’s worth from an offensive standpoint.
Hartman was protected while playing for the Blackhawks and Nashville probably won’t ask him to play high-quality minutes either, but the 23-year-old will bring both physicality and playmaking skills to the Preds’ third line.
This was a bold move because it helps the Predators this year and years to come. Does it tangibly impact their chances at the 2018 Stanley Cup, though? It definitely gives them more grit, something that will be needed when they have to face the likes of the Winnipeg Jets or LA Kings.
Pittsburgh Penguins (+700)
Can you ever rule this team out? It’s hard to believe that sportsbooks were offering Pittsburgh’s odds around +1800 near the end of December.
When the dust settled on deadline day, the Pens were able to pick up a third-line center who is better than the one they had last year when they won the Stanley Cup. Derick Brassard is a nice upgrade for a team that is essentially all-on on winning its their third consecutive Cup. It’s easy to look at the East and pencil the stacked Lightning into the finals, but the Penguins have as much talent, more Cup-winning experience, and are just starting to play their best hockey going into the playoffs.
The defending champs know what it takes to win: strength up the middle, good goaltending, and solid defensive play. The addition of Brassard makes them all the more able to achieve two of those.
Boston Bruins (+800)
The Bruins are still hanging around, having a season that most didn’t expect. Their addition of Rick Nash was the most high-profile move of the entire deadline. Was it wise? They gave up a ton to get him, including Ryan Spooner, but the advanced stats love Nash’s play.
Nash has been an offensive powerhouse at 5-on-5, as only 12 players have put up more scoring chances per minute. He also generates a ton of shots, which will create more scoring chances for his teammates. He may not put up the same kind of offensive numbers he once did, but he definitely still adds size and scoring depth to a team that will need that kind of jam come playoff time. It’s a nice addition to the Bruins roster.
Winnipeg Jets (+1100)
Don’t sleep on the Jets. This overachieving Canadian team added Paul Stastny from St. Louis, a solid two-way center with underrated playmaking skills. The Jets are already great at pre-shot movement and Stastny adds to their existing strength.
The Jets will be a tough out in the toughest division in hockey, and with how well Stastny played in the playoffs last year, they could soar to a Cup final. There is some real value on Winnipeg at +1100.