Got some mad money sitting around, looking for some Stanley Cup betting darkhorse candidates? Fans of NHL betting, step right up and consider these five clubs, which takes into account the starts they’ve had, their current health situation and payroll considerations relating to the salary cap and the trade deadline.
At +4500 at SugarHouse, this is worth a shot. Full disclosure: I’ve covered this team since they moved to Denver in 1995 from Quebec, and while this team still has a couple flaws (probably not enough depth offensively, still some concern about shutdown defensive capabilities), there is a lot to like.
First off, Nathan MacKinnon. He’s a top-5 offensive player in the league, probably top-3. Linemates Mikko Rantanen (84 points last year) and Gabe Landeskog (seven goals in the first eight games) are top players.
Second, this team could look different after the trade deadline. The Avs have about $13.5 million of cap space (fourth most of any team as of late October -- lots to acquire a rental if they choose).
They also could get 2017 fourth overall draft pick, Cale Makar, after his season is done at UMass-Amherst. He is considered a blue-chip talent who might add lots of juice to the Avs blue line.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils started the season 4-0-0 before running into trouble against Colorado and Philadelphia, but overall they’re a nice darkhorse to come out of the East. At +3200 at SugarHouse, they’re a nice play at this stage.
The Devils have the reigning Hart Trophy winner (Taylor Hall), the 2017 top draft pick (Nico Hischier, already a productive player) and two good goalies in Keith Kinkaid and Cory Schneider, who figure to have a competitive, healthy rivalry for playing time all year.
That should keep either one fresh for starting playoff duty, which I expect one to have come April.
Vegas Golden Knights
The defending Western Conference champs got off to a bad start (1-4-0) and lost top-6 center Paul Stastny for two months to a lower-body injury. But they rebounded on the ice and Stastny should be fresh for the second of the season.
At +1700 at SugarHouse, oddsmakers remain skeptical of their championship chances, at least more than several other teams.
But they are no one-year wonder. They’ve got plenty of talent and, playing in Vegas, they always want to put on a good show now as opposed to building for the future -- which they’re doing as well.
A lot of pundits wrote off the Blackhawks with their preseason forecasts, but any team with a healthy Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and, now, goalie Corey Crawford, I’m not sleeping on.
Obviously, Chicago’s top players know how to win, having won three Cups since 2010. SugarHouse has them at +3200 to win a fourth, which could be a steal in the end. Remember, the biggest reason why Chicago failed to make the playoffs last year was the loss of Crawford.
He’s back now, but the Hawks are still being treated like pretenders by many. They could well be looking foolish next spring.
Two words: Carey Price.
Give me a hot goalie, and I’ll always take my chances. A long way to go before we can label the former Vezina winner as a hot goalie for the playoffs, but he was outstanding in the early going and Montreal was probably one of the league’s biggest surprises in the first few weeks.
At +8000 at SugarHouse, the Habs are true longshot money. Which is why you should get in on them while you can. There is always pressure to win now in Montreal, which makes them an attractive darkhorse.