Stanley Cup Odds for Every NHL Team at Start of 2013-14 NHL Season

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2013

Stanley Cup Odds for Every NHL Team at Start of 2013-14 NHL Season

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    They are all at the starting line and it's time to start the marathon.

    Only teams really can't pace themselves. In the NHL, a good start is often vital to earning a playoff spot in April. There may be a brief lull in late January, but teams that want to assert itself in 2013-14 would be well-advised not to stumble out of the gate and count on a strong final two months to get into the playoffs.

    That's because the three-point games hurt most playoff efforts. If you are trying to rally from a non-playoff position, you can win games, but if your opponents can extend the game to overtime or a shootout, it makes the climb that much tougher.

    So with all 30 teams poised to take off running, here's our look at the Stanley Cup odds for each team.

Anaheim Ducks

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    The Ducks were one of the big surprises last year as they rose to second place in the Western Conference last year behind the Chicago Blackhawks.

    They moved Bobby Ryan to the Ottawa Senators and replaced him with promising Jakob Silfverberg. The Ducks have size and strength on the blue line, and they ranked eighth in fewest goals per game allowed with a mark of 2.79. That area should remain a strength this year.

    Stanley Cup odds: 14-1

Boston Bruins

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    The Bruins are a perennial power, having been to the Stanley Cup Final in two of the last three seasons. Their core of Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask give the Bruins a chance to win most nights.

    Head coach Claude Julien has excellent depth to work with, although this big, strong team can have trouble when it is forced to play against quicker opponents. While new additions Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson look strong, the Bruins could miss Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin.

    Stanley Cup odds: 9-1

Buffalo Sabres

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    Ron Rolston has one of the toughest jobs in the league. The Sabres appear to be fighting a losing battle in the NHL's Atlantic Division, where they will have to battle former Northeast rivals Boston, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto in addition to Detroit.

    The Sabres have to find consistent offense as they averaged 2.46 goals per game last season, a mark that placed them in a tie for 22nd. The Sabres are searching for an identity as it's difficult to determine their strengths at this point.

    Stanley Cup odds: 35-1

Calgary Flames

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    The Flames are no longer hoping against hope that they will barely qualify for the playoffs with the seventh or eighth seed and then make a miracle run in the Western Conference playoffs. Jay Feaster has given up that ghost and the Flames are rebuilding.

    It would be difficult to see them making any kind of run this year. The Flames have many issues, but they allowed 3.27 goals per game last year and they ranked 28th in that category. It's not going to get any better this year.

    Stanley Cup odds: 50-1

Carolina Hurricanes

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    The Hurricanes hope to emulate the start they had last year and then sustain it—something they could not do in 2013.

    While they have a competent backup for goalie Cam Ward in case he gets injured again this year in Anton Khudobin, the loss of defenseman Joni Pitkanen (broken heel) will damage the defense. The power play needs to improve quite a bit as the Canes ranked 27th last year, succeeding on 14.6 of their man-advantage situations.

    Stanley Cup odds: 28-1

Chicago Blackhawks

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    The Chicago Blackhawks did not handle success well in 2010-11, the season after they won the 2010 Stanley Cup. They barely qualified for the playoffs that season and were bounced out in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks.

    While the Blackhawks did not have to dismantle their team this time like they did after their previous championship, they won't have Ray Emery, Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik or Viktor Stalberg. They are going to have to make an adjustment and it may not be as easy as the experts suspect.

    Stanley Cup odds: 7-1

Colorado Avalanche

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    The Avalanche have given control of their franchise to Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy. The new general manager and coach are going to try to spark this team, and there appears to be plenty of exciting offensive talent with Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, P.A. Parenteau, Paul Stastny and Ryan O'Reilly.

    However, the Avs appear to have plenty of weaknesses on the defensive side. If they can find a way to improve on the 3.12 goals per game they gave up last year, they could have a chance to surprise. Otherwise, another get ready for another non-playoff season.

    Stanley Cup odds: 22-1

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    The Blue Jackets were one of the most improved teams in the league last year and nearly made the Western Conference playoffs. It seems that team president John Davidson has this team going in the right direction as they move to the Eastern Conference.

    This high-effort team is led by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who emerged from obscurity to win the Vezina Trophy last year. While the Blue Jackets will be in tough in the Metropolitan Division, they could cause problems if they can get off to a sharp start behind Bobrovsky and the surprisingly good defense.

    Stanley Cup odds: 20-1

Dallas Stars

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    The Stars have missed the playoffs for the past five seasons and there was a major housecleaning in Dallas. Highly respected former Red Wing executive Jim Nill takes over as general manager and he brought in veteran coach Lindy Ruff to give the team structure.

    The Stars are counting on former Boston Bruins phenom Tyler Seguin to become a superstar, which is something he was not quite able to do when wearing the spoked B. The Stars need goalie Kari Lehtonen to have a bounce-back season after the Stars averaged 2.94 goals against last year.

    Stanley Cup odds: 24-1

Detroit Red Wings

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    The Red Wings appear to be in an excellent frame of mind as they move to the Eastern Conference. Instead of a schedule dominated by frequent West Coast trips, the Red Wings are now in a division with three of their Original Six rivals and they couldn't be happier.

    They have a formidable lineup that includes Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard, and they added free agents Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss. Combine those stars with perhaps the best head coach in the NHL in Mike Babcock and the Red Wings have a chance to make a run at the division title and the Stanley Cup.

    Stanley Cup odds: 10-1

Edmonton Oilers

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    The Oilers are tired of being the "team of the future." As they accumulated top draft pick after top draft pick and filled their roster with the likes of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov—they already had Jordan Eberle—outsiders saw this team as a collection of future stars.

    While there is no doubt about the individual talent level, the concept of team play has been slow in coming. That's why they Oilers brought in Dallas Eakins to coach this team. He should be able to get better results, but the Oilers don't appear ready to take on the role of serious contender just yet.

    Stanley Cup odds: 24-1

Florida Panthers

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    Tim Thomas
    Tim ThomasJoel Auerbach/Getty Images

    The Panthers were the worst team in the Eastern Conference last season, but that doesn't mean they don't have a chance in 2013-14. They were a playoff team in 2011-12, and they just may be able to surprise the competition quite a bit this season.

    The Panthers were 30th—dead last—in the league as they allowed an average of 3.54 goals per game. General manager Dale Tallon brought in two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Tim Thomas to address that situation. Look for a substantial improvement from the Panthers this year.

    Stanley Cup odds: 30-1

Los Angeles Kings

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    It seems to be a fact of NHL life that teams don't repeat Stanley Cup championships anymore. While the Chicago Blackhawks may not want to hear it, no team has repeated since the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back titles in 1997 and '98.

    That's why the Kings may have a chance. They have a loaded roster that includes Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown and Mike Richards. They also have perhaps the best goalie in the league in Jonathan Quick. Look for the Kings to make a strong run at their second title in three seasons.

    Stanley Cup odds: 7-1

Minnesota Wild

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    The Minnesota Wild made a decent step up in 2013 when they earned the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. While that represented improvement over the previous seasons, more was expected because the team made such a big splash when it signed free-agent stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

    This time around, the Wild will have to make more than a first-round appearance in the postseason. If they don't win at least one round, it seems quite likely that head coach Mike Yeo's job will be in jeopardy. A Stanley Cup run may be too much to ask, but they have to do better than last year.

    Stanley Cup odds: 17-1

Montreal Canadiens

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    The Montreal Canadiens surged in 2013 after a disastrous run in 2011-12. They won the Northeast Division and finished the regular season as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens could not sustain their success in the postseason as they were eliminated by the Ottawa Senators in five games.

    The Canadiens lacked size and strength, and those factors took their toll as the season progressed. Goalie Carey Price struggled in the season's final weeks. If the Canadiens are going to make a run at the Stanley Cup, Price must be consistently excellent this season.

    Stanley Cup odds: 12-1

Nashville Predators

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    The Predators are anxious to get back to the playoffs after falling short last year. This team has never been one of the top goal-scoring outfits in the league, but head coach Barry Trotz has put together a team that hustles, gets sensational goaltending from Pekka Rinne and usually finds a way to score at key moments.

    Look for a big year from hard-shooting defenseman Shea Weber. While he regularly finishes second to hard-shooting Zdeno Chara in the skills competition's hardest shot contest, he may be an even more dangerous shooter than Boston's big man because he gets his shot away much quicker.

    Stanley Cup odds: 18-1

New Jersey Devils

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    Cory Schneider
    Cory SchneiderBruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The New Jersey Devils got hit hard in the offseason, as star right winger Ilya Kovalchuk decided to leave the team and return to Russia and play in the KHL. He did this by technically "retiring" and then signing a contract to play back in his homeland. The Devils also lost free agent David Clarkson to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    The Devils tried to make up for those losses by signing Michael Ryder, Jaromir Jagr and Ryane Clowe, but it will be tough for them to overcome the losses. The Devils acquired former Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider, and he could wrest time away from Martin Brodeur.

    Stanley Cup odds: 19-1

New York Islanders

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    The New York Islanders made a great run last season as John Tavares became one of the league's best players and was able to lead his team to a season of growth. Tavares should only get better, but the Islanders lost defenseman Mark Streit and the team's goaltending appears shaky at best.

    If the Islanders don't make a couple of in-season moves to upgrade the overall defense, it may be difficult to get back to the playoffs, let alone make a long run at the Stanley Cup.

    Stanley Cup odds: 17-1

New York Rangers

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    The New York Rangers may be an exception when it comes to needing a fast start to assert themselves in the NHL this season. That could be quite difficult, as new head coach Alain Vigneault is trying to change the game plan as well as the team's overall mindset as he takes over from John Tortorella.

    The Rangers should be able to make the adjustment to Vigneault's system that encourages offensive creativity, but it will take time.

    Stanley Cup odds: 13-1

Ottawa Senators

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    The Ottawa Senators return a bevy of young talent, as the team's top four returning point scorers from last season are 27 years old and under.

    Can the Sens ride that youth to the Stanley Cup?

    Stanley Cup Odds: 15-1

Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Flyers struggled badly last season and did not even make the playoffs. That's simply not acceptable in Philadelphia and general manager Paul Holmgren acquired defenseman Mark Streit from the the New York Islander and signed him to a long-term deal.

    He also signed former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery to upgrade the team's play in net. He will team with Steve Mason to share the goaltending duties. The Flyers have a boatload of offensive talent and should be much improved this season.

    Stanley Cup odds: 13-1

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Mike Ribeiro
    Mike RibeiroChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Coyotes are not the deepest team and they will have a hard time keeping up with the Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. However, the Coyotes have been a scrappy team for several seasons and there is a huge burden lifted from the franchise because they have found steady ownership.

    If Mike Smith can have a stellar year in goal and the defense, led by Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, holds up its end, the Coyotes could surprise a lot of opponents and become a very tough out in the playoffs.

    Stanley Cup odds: 20-1

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Their 2013 season ended so abruptly for the Penguins that a lot of observers were left with the impression that the team's window of opportunity had slammed shut. But even though they were outscored by the Boston Bruins 12-2 and swept 4-0, the Penguins should be a dominant team.

    They have the star power with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Kris Letang to remain at or near the top for several more seasons. However, they may have to address their goaltending situation because Marc-Andre Fleury has not been good in the postseason in either of the last two years.

    Stanley Cup odds: 5-1

St. Louis Blues

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    The St. Louis Blues have been a solid regular-season team in each of the past two years, but the playoffs have turned into heartbreak for them. The Blues have been eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in two consecutive seasons.

    That does not mean they are not capable of winning in the postseason; it just means they have run into a very hot goaltender in Jonathan Quick. If head coach Ken Hitchcock can get more goal scoring, the Blues will have a chance to make a Stanley Cup run of their own.

    Stanley Cup odds: 13-1

San Jose Sharks

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    After it looked like the Sharks were becoming an aging team that was not going to get the job done behind Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, the team suddenly changed its focus to Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns.

    There is an urgency to the Sharks' game and the feeling is that Couture is going to play with the fire that was often missing in the past. Thornton is still a fine all-around player and he is best used in a supporting role. Antti Niemi may be the most underrated star goalie in the league.

    Stanley Cup odds: 12-1

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning have endured two non-playoff seasons since reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011, and legitimate questions are asked about this team's ability to get back into the postseason.

    While they have two brilliant superstars in Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, the Lightning struggle with their defensemen and goaltending. If Ben Bishop can't take over and become a star in net, it seems unlikely that the Lightning will return to the playoffs this season.

    Stanley Cup odds: 23-1

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Steve Babineau/Getty Images

    While the season ended in painful fashion for the Toronto Maple Leafs, this is a team that is moving in the right direction and should return to the postseason as long as the players can put their seventh-game nightmare vs. the Boston Bruins behind them.

    The Maple Leafs have become a solid offensive team, and the addition of Jonathan Bernier should improve their goaltending. The Maple Leafs will lay out the hits, but they must continue to play with discipline or they could find themselves playing short-handed too much of the time.

    Stanley Cup odds: 15-1

Vancouver Canucks

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    The Vancouver Canucks made an alarmist move by going with John Tortorella behind the bench. While Alain Vigneault may have needed to go, bringing in the former New York Rangers boss is extreme.

    Tortorella is a harsh disciplinarian, and even though he has pledged to become a more understanding leader, it seems like it's just a matter of time before the old coach shows up. Even if Tortorella turns out to be the right coach, the goaltending and defense have to bounce back from substandard 2013 showings.

    Stanley Cup odds: 16-1

Washington Capitals

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    The Washington Capitals were extremely quiet in the offseason, and you have to wonder what George McPhee was thinking.

    The Capitals suffered a big loss when No. 2 center Mike Ribeiro signed with the Phoenix Coyotes. His presence gave the Caps offensive balance. Adam Oates showed that he has a bright future as a head coach, and he will have to be at his best to get the most out of this group.

    Stanley Cup odds: 19-1

Winnipeg Jets

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    Dustin Byfuglien
    Dustin ByfuglienBruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

    The Winnipeg Jets appear to be the prime beneficiaries of the NHL's realignment maneuvers. The Jets move to the Western Conference, where they will be one of 14 teams competing for eight playoff spots. That's a lot more favorable than it is in the East, where 16 teams compete for the same number of spots.

    The Jets have made slow progress and their fans would like to see more this year. If Bryan Little can stay healthy and Evander Kane can score 35 or more goals, the Jets have a chance to get quite competitive in their new surroundings.

    Stanley Cup odds: 17-1