Updated 2016 Stanley Cup Odds

Posted by Aaron . on February 2, 2016 in

When the 2015-16 NHL season began, the Dallas Stars got off to a huge start and were the early favorites in the 2016 Stanley Cup Odds. In the East, the favorite was the Montreal Canadiens, who also got off to a torrid beginning to the season.

How the NHL Odds Have Changed in Recent Days

The odds have shifted a bit as the season has worn on. Dallas’ hot run has cooled a bit, as the defensive liabilities that kept them out of the playoffs last year have crept back into their game a bit. Even so, they remain atop the standings in the Western Conference. In the East, the Canadiens’ fortunes have taken a huge tumble, with the loss of Carey Price, their elite netminder, to lower-body injuries, and the team simply has not been able to compensate.

With the league firing back up into action, let’s take a look at some of the more recent favorites to claim Lord Stanley’s hardware. The favorites right now are the Washington Capitals (4-1). They have a gargantuan 15-point lead in the Metropolitan Division. They have only lost more than one game in a row once this season.

Right behind the Caps are the Chicago Blackhawks. They ran off a 12-game winning streak shortly before the All-Star break, but they they stumbled into the break with a 1-3-0 stint. Even so, their odds remain at 11-2 right now. Those shutout losses to Carolina and Florida hurt, though, and if they can’t find their offensive mojo quickly after play resumes, you can expect to see those odds drop a bit.

Next come those Dallas Stars, who had a dismal January but still have plenty of goodwill in the standings from their white-hot start. They sit at 11-1, and those odds may improve if the team can get back to that combination of lockdown defense and ridiculously efficient offense.

After that come the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Stanley Cup runners-up last year, this team looked like they were headed to an early off-season until they ran off a 9-2 record in January, moving them back into the playoff picture. They were sitting at 33-1 odds to raise the Cup, but now they sit at 14-1.

There is a four-team logjam behind the Lightning, as the St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, the New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers all sit at 16-1. Just behind them are the venerable Detroit Red Wings, always a threat to go on a big run late in the season, sitting at 20-1.

After that the odds tend to mushroom significantly. However, the second half of the season is often an opportunity for teams who have been inconsistent to find a spark and ride that momentum all the way into the postseason. The NHL’s season is an 84-game grind, and the physical toll of the game exacts a heavy price in injuries, which can shake the fortunes of teams that thought they were headed for a deep postseason run.