Capitals, Wild Remain Stanley Cup Favorites
The Washington Capitals have been the Sports Interaction NHL favorites to win the Stanley Cup and those odds only got shorter post-deadline as the Caps acquired arguably the top player to switch teams: Blues All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Washington didn’t give up any major contributor on the current roster but a 2017 first-round pick. Still, small price to pay considering that should be the last pick in this summer’s draft as the Caps lead the league in points.
Washington moved from +400 favorites in Stanley Cup odds to +300 Wednesday.
Shattenkirk had 11 goals and 31 assists from St. Louis, which expected to get more from via trade. He is on pace to surpass his career high of 45 points in 2013-14. Shattenkirk provides the Capitals, already the NHL’s No. 1 defensive team, with an offensive threat from their blue line who will contribute on the power play. The 28-year-old had seven power-play goals and 13 PP helpers with St. Louis and is a gifted puck mover. The struggling Blues gave him up because Shattenkirk will become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He debuted with Washington on Tuesday.
Like the Capitals, the Minnesota Wild have never won the Stanley Cup. The Western Conference-leading Wild also went all-in ahead of the deadline in acquiring two-way center Martin Hanzal and winger Ryan White from Arizona. It was a bit costly, with Minnesota giving up several draft picks, including a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick, plus minor-leaguer Grayson Downing. Hanzal, a free agent-to-be, led the Coyotes with 16 goals this season and had 10 assists in 51 games. The Wild now have Mikko Koivu, Erik Haula and Hanzal down the middle. White adds depth to the third or fourth line and had seven goals and six assists in 46 games with Arizona this year. Hanzal had two assists with the Wild on Tuesday and White a goal in a win over the Jets.
Barring major injury, Washington and Minnesota should now have little trouble hanging onto the top seeds in their respective conferences. The Wild are +150 on NHL odds to win the West and +600 for the Cup.
Stanley Cup Betting Odds
Out West, the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators also got better ahead of the deadline. The Kings are battling for a wild-card spot and recently got back star goaltender Jonathan Quick from an injury suffered on opening night. That’s arguably the best “trade” addition in the NHL.
Los Angeles didn’t just stop with Quick’s return, landing future Hall of Fame winger Jarome Iginla from Colorado. Iginla, who has never won a Stanley Cup, and is the seventh player in league history to be traded after reaching 600 NHL goals. Iginla was struggling with the Avs, but going to a playoff race could revive the long-time Calgary Flame. The Kings also added Tampa Bay’s former No. 1 goaltender, Ben Bishop, as insurance behind Quick. Los Angeles is +1600 to win the West and could be great value at that price.
The Predators, likely to finish third in the Central Division and open the playoffs against Chicago, added winger P.A. Parenteau from New Jersey. Parenteau had 13 goals and 14 assists in his first season with the Devils. The Preds are also +1600 in the West.
In the Eastern Conference, Toronto was busy in landing center Brian Boyle from Tampa Bay and forward Eric Fehr, defenceman Steve Oleksy and a fourth-round pick from Pittsburgh for defenceman Frank Corrado. Boyle is the key guy as he’s a playoff veteran with big size (6-foot-6) to anchor the fourth line. The Leafs are +2200 to win the East.
The Canadiens were perhaps the busiest team in acquiring Jordie Benn, Steve Ott, Dwight King, Andreas Martiensen and Brandon Davidson. Quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality as the Habs didn’t land the scoring help they needed. They are +650 in the East.
Florida, battling for a wild-card spot alongside Toronto, landed highly-coveted Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek. The 33-year-old had 15 goals and 38 points with the Wings this season. Florida’s power play is currently No. 25 in the league and the team needed scoring help. Vanek will help – and perhaps hurt the Leafs. Florida is +2200 in the East.
Detroit was a big seller and its amazing streak of 25 straight playoff appearances is going to end.
Editors Note: This article originally appeared on Sports Interaction’s NHL blog.