The return of the World Cup this fall meant hockey returned to our attention sooner than usual, and some people may have been caught off guard. Particularly, Team USA, who seemed unaware they had to play and beat Team Europe. But as much fun as the tournament was – watching Team North America fly up and down the ice, Team Europe crashing the party, or just learning that Brad Marchand could actually play hockey – it was only an exhibition. The real thing gets underway starting October 12.
Pittsburgh is currently holding the Cup, but 29 other teams will try to take it from them. Will the usual contenders like Chicago and Los Angeles strip it away, or will a new generation finally reach hockey’s summit?
There are so many questions to answer heading into this season, and in order to answer them all, I enlisted the help of talented writer (and hopeless Leafs fan) Matt McEwan. Together, we wrote a far too long set off odds for the upcoming year.
So bookmark this page. Read it slowly, perhaps during bathroom trips. There’s no rush. It’s a long season, and we’ve got you covered.
NHL 2016-17 Odds Collection
Odds to win 2016-17 Stanley Cup
- Chicago Blackhawks: 8/1
- Tampa Bay Lightning: 17/2
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 9/1
- Washington Capitals: 10/1
- Dallas Stars: 12/1
- San Jose Sharks: 14/1
- Anaheim Ducks: 14/1
- Nashville Predators: 16/1
- St. Louis Blues: 16/1
- New York Islanders: 18/1
- Los Angeles Kings: 20/1
- Montreal Canadiens: 20/1
- Florida Panthers: 22/1
- Detroit Red Wings: 25/1
- Philadelphia Flyers: 30/1
- Minnesota Wild: 30/1
- New York Rangers: 35/1
- Boston Bruins: 35/1
- Calgary Flames: 35/1
- New Jersey Devils: 40/1
- Buffalo Sabres: 45/1
- Edmonton Oilers: 50/1
- Colorado Avalanche: 50/1
- Winnipeg Jets: 60/1
- Ottawa Senators: 75/1
- Carolina Hurricanes: 90/1
- Columbus Blue Jackets: 90/1
- Arizona Coyotes: 125/1
- Toronto Maple Leafs: 125/1
- Vancouver Canucks: 150/1
After such a dominant regular season by last year’s Washington Capitals, I can see why some hockey minds are high on them for 2016-17. But I’ve been the Charlie Brown to their Lucy too many times before, and I’m not kicking that football again. There’s something to be said for consistently showing up in the playoffs, and that’s what the Blackhawks do better than anyone. They’ve lost some quality depth players, but their blueline should be better this year as they seek to avenge a first-round loss to St. Louis.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are returning most of their Cup-winning team and look well-equipped to defend their title; but there’s a reason no team has repeated as champions since 1998. Look for Pittsburgh to be challenged in the East by the Lightning, Capitals, Islanders, and even the upstart Panthers. The West has some intriguing contenders of its own, including the all-offense Dallas Stars and the speedy Nashville Predators.
Come springtime, any team with a hot goalie can make a charge (see 2015-16 Sharks). But getting back to the playoffs for these contenders could prove difficult if young teams like Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, and Winnipeg prove they’re ready to make the leap.
Odds to win Presidents’ Trophy (best regular-season record)
- Washington Capitals: 3/1
- Anaheim Ducks: 9/2
- Tampa Bay Lightning: 6/1
- Dallas Stars: 8/1
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 9/1
- Chicago Blackhawks: 12/1
- Minnesota Wild: 20/1
- Field: 10/1
Since the relationship between winning the President’s Trophy and playoff success is non-existent, it’s the perfect trophy for the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks to chase. For two teams that always seem to be playing their best hockey in February, rather than April, winning this trophy allows them to say the entire season wasn’t a total waste when they’re knocked out in the first-round again.
If you want a darkhorse for the best record, look to the Minnesota Wild, now coached by Bruce Boudreau. The personification of a Christmas ham, Boudreau has made a career of leading teams to great regular seasons before choking in the playoffs (including coaching the aforementioned Ducks and Capitals). What the Wild lack in skill, they make up for in overpaid veterans; perhaps Boudreau can squeeze out another good regular season.
Odds to win Hart Memorial Trophy (league MVP)
- Sidney Crosby, Penguins: 8/1
- Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals: 9/1
- Jamie Benn, Stars: 21/2
- John Tavares, Islanders: 12/1
- Patrick Kane, Blackhawks: 12/1
- Steven Stamkos, Lightning: 27/2
- Tyler Seguin, Stars: 15/1
- Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues: 15/1
- Erik Karlsson, Senators: 18/1
- Connor McDavid, Oilers: 18/1
- Joe Thornton, Sharks: 22/1
Surprise, surprise, the two biggest names in the game lead the odds for the game’s most valuable player award. But Ovi’s hunt for his fourth MVP (and Crosby’s third) will be a tough one with more and more superstars emerging to challenge them every year. Jamie Benn and Patrick Kane are equally prolific scorers, while John Tavares, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Erik Karlsson have to do way more heavy lifting thanks to their (lacking) supporting casts.
Then there’s McDavid: the next one. An injury wrecked what was sure to be a Calder Trophy campaign last season. If he plays a full season, could the 19-year-old be the league MVP? Well, considering voters like their MVP’s to be on playoff teams, and that runs counter to the Oilers m.o., I’m gonna say no.
Odds a goalie wins the Hart Trophy: 20/1
Despite obviously being the most valuable position in hockey, goalies have only four Hart Trophies since the league expanded beyond the Original Six. It takes a truly historic year for a netminder to win, one few in this game are capable of.
Odds a defenseman wins the Hart Trophy: 65/4
Since expansion, only two defenseman have won the Hart Trophy: Bobby Orr and Chris Pronger. In today’s game, Karlsson is the only D-man with sexy enough scoring stats to stand a chance. But there’s always the longshot that Drew Doughty or P.K. Subban reel off an incredible year.
Odds to win Vezina Trophy (top goalie)
- Carey Price, Canadiens: 7/2
- Braden Holtby, Capitals: 5/1
- Ben Bishop, Lightning: 15/2
- Cory Schneider, Devils: 15/2
- Corey Crawford, Blackhawks: 9/1
- Martin Jones, Sharks: 12/1
- Jonathan Quick, Kings: 16/1
- Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers: 16/1
- Field: 10/1
Fact: A healthy Carey Price is the best goalie on planet Earth. But that truth alone doesn’t decide who wins the Vezina Trophy. Though it shouldn’t matter nearly as much as save percentage, voters like to see a lot of wins next to a goalie’s name, meaning Price will need the Habs to solve their goal-scoring woes if he’s going to hold off Holtby and Bishop (who both have the benefit of playing for far better teams).
If you’re surprised to see some of the starting goaltenders of Team USA getting longer odds, don’t be. As someone who picked the Kings to win last year, only to see Quick get outdueled by his former backup, I can assure you, he’s not that good. Why he was even nominated last year is beyond me. But if the voters can turn a blind eye to Cory Schneider’s superior numbers, I guess Quick will always have a chance.
Odds to win the Calder Trophy (top rookie)
- Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs: 11/4
- Patrik Laine, Jets: 3/1
- Pierre-Luc Dubois, Blue Jackets: 7/1
- Dylan Strome, Coyotes: 8/1
- William Nylander, Maple Leafs: 12/1
- Jimmy Vesey, Rangers: 14/1
- Ivan Provorov, Flyers: 16/1
- Jesse Puljujarvi, Oilers: 20/1
The Calder race features two men among boys, or at least, two boys who are used to playing among men versus a bunch that aren’t. Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine both played professional hockey overseas last year, and also with skated with their respective national teams at the World Championships. They’re used to the speed and strength of the NHL game, and that gives them a huge advantage over the rest of the incoming rookies.
Odds to get first Hat Trick of 2016-17 season
- Alex Ovechkin: 9/1
- Patrick Kane: 19/2
- Connor McDavid: 10/1
- Vladimir Tarasenko: 12/1
- Jamie Benn: 25/2
- Sidney Crosby: 15/1
- Joe Pavelski: 15/1
- Steven Stamkos: 15/1
- Brad Marchand: 17/1
- Zach Parise: 22/1
- Auston Matthews: 25/1
- John Scott: 1,000,000/1
Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane finished first and second in goals scored last season, and each recorded two hat tricks. Ovechkin carries the shorter odds to be the first showered in hats, though, not only because of the extra few goals, but he tied for the league-lead with eight multi-goal games, while Kane only had five.
After a rookie campaign that was cut-short by injury, McDavid is healthy and ready to take the next step in becoming the second-coming of Wayne Gretzky. Alright, maybe that’s a little much, but I doubt that comment got too much of a rise out of you, which is why he finds himself slightly behind Ovechkin and Kane.
Apparently, Brad Marchand is more than just a little rat who has pissed off at least 29 other teams in the NHL. Marchand finished sixth last season in goals, and backed that up with a strong showing at the World Cup of Hockey. But, when he returns to Boston, he won’t be receiving passes from Sidney Crosby anymore.
Does anyone know who led the league in hat tricks last season? It’s one of the players on this list. (Hint: it wasn’t John Scott.) It was Zach Parise, who recorded three hat tricks on the season, which is more impressive when you consider he only scored 25 total goals. – Matt McEwan
Over/under date Alexander Ovechkin gets 1,000th career point (currently at 966): Jan 1, 2017
Over/under date Sidney Crosby gets 1,000th career point (currently at 938): Feb 15, 2017
Odds Jaromir Jagr scores 45 points before his 45th birthday (Feb 17 – 56 games): 11/7
Odds Jaromir Jagr scores a goal on his 45th birthday (Feb 17 @ Anaheim): 10/3
Odds which free agent on a new team will score the most goals
- Loui Eriksson, Canucks: 7/3
- Kyle Okposo, Sabres: 5/1
- Milan Lucic, Oilers: 5/1
- Andrew Ladd, Islanders: 8/1
- Alexander Radulov, Canadiens: 9/1
- David Backes, Bruins: 12/1
- Field: 10/1
Eriksson chose to go to a Canucks team without a ton of hope on the horizon, but he will get to play with fellow countrymen Daniel and Henrik Sedin, so the 30-goal scorer could be in line for even more lamp-lighting. However, if you’re talking exciting new linemates, Lucic won those sweepstakes by getting paired up with McDavid in Edmonton. The power forward should get plenty of opportunities to bang home easy ones this year.
Odds on which team from the Subban-Weber trade will finish with more points
- Nashville Predators: 9/11
- Montreal Canadiens: 11/9
There’s no metric that will convince me Montreal made the right move by dealing Subban. But these two teams should be close in the standings come the end of the year.
Odds on which Islander goalie starts the most games
- Jaroslav Halak: 3/4
- Thomas Greiss: 5/3
- Jean-Francois Berube: 19/1
If Halak didn’t get injured last season, he likely would’ve been their starter in the playoffs. Although Greiss played well between the pipes in the postseason, Halak’s strong performance at the World Cup of Hockey for Team Europe has him back in the driver’s seat – for those who believe he ever left it. – Matt McEwan
Odds on which Penguin goalie starts the most games
- Marc-Andre Fleury: 2/3
- Matt Murray: 3/2
Before Murray broke his hand at the World Cup of Hockey, he was the clear favorite to start the majority of the games in the crease for the Penguins. But he’ll now miss three to six weeks, which will open the door for Fleury to take his job back.
The odds tell you how likely he is of winning it back for good, though. – Matt McEwan
Odds the following restricted free agents re-sign with their 2015-16 teams
- Johnny Gaudreau, Flames: 1/4
- Nikita Kucherov, Lightning: 2/3
- Jacob Trouba, Jets: 7/3
“Johnny Hockey” is far too big of a piece for the Flames to let this contract dispute go on much longer, even though Gaudreau has basically no bargaining power. He’ll have a deal shortly and be in uniform when Calgary heads to Edmonton to open the season.
Kucherov’s situation with the Lightning is a little more difficult to predict, as Tampa Bay may need to make some other moves to free the space to pay Kucherov what he’s worth – at least $6 million per season. But he’s a guy that Steve Yzerman wants to hold onto. A deal will likely get done.
The situation isn’t as bright for Trouba and the Jets, especially now that Trouba has requested a trade. It appeared likely that Winnipeg would have the space to pay their young, budding defenseman, but the relationship between the two sides has taken a serious turn for the worse. – Matt McEwan
Over/under number of shutouts in the NHL this season: 135.5
After seeing 171 shutouts in the 2014-15 season, we were only witness to 153 last season. This number is almost certainly going to continue decreasing as goaltenders have been forced to trim the fat from their padding, and won’t be able to cover as much of the net as a result. (Woo! Goals!) – Matt McEwan
Over/under on number of Canadian teams that will make the playoffs: 1.5
They all missed out last year. The return of Carey Price, and addition of Shea Weber, brings some hope back to Canadian teams.
Of the other six Canadian teams, the Edmonton McDavids have a fighting chance because of that one guy who everyone seems to think is pretty great.
Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, and Winnipeg are all teams that could surprise us, too. But the odds are stacked against them. – Matt McEwan
Odds on which team improves most from 2015-16 (based on points)
- Edmonton Oilers: 4/1
- Toronto Maple Leafs: 13/3
- Montreal Canadiens: 9/2
- Boston Bruins: 7/1
- Tampa Bay Lightning: 9/1
- Field: 11/3
Although I just mentioned Montreal is the most likely Canadian team to get into the playoffs, it wouldn’t take that big of a leap in points to get them there. Meanwhile, only one point separated the Leafs and Oilers as the two worst teams in the league, and could both see a major jump … while still missing out on the playoffs, of course. – Matt McEwan
Odds on which team deteriorates most from 2015-16 (based on points)
- Washington Capitals: 14/3
- Carolina Hurricanes: 5/1
- St. Louis Blues: 16/3
- Florida Panthers: 8/1
- Dallas Stars: 9/1
- Field: 12/5
Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not saying Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will crumble and fall from the playoffs, just that they won’t match their 120-point total from last season.
The Hurricanes are another team pegged to fall off from where they were last season, and the dip could be so dramatic that it puts them in last place in the Eastern Conference.
The Panthers and Stars surprised a lot of people last year, and could experience some turmoil now with heightened expectations. – Matt McEwan
Odds any team breaks the Canadiens’ record of 132 points (set in 1976-77): 50/1
Since the implementation of a hard cap in 2005-06, only two teams have recorded more than 120 points. The 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings tallied 124, the most since the hard cap, and if that stacked roster couldn’t beat the Canadiens’ record, no one can. – Matt McEwan
Odds any team breaks Oilers’ record of 446 goals (set in 1983-84): 200/1
The Dallas Stars led the league last season with 265 goals. That’s not a typo, 265. Here it is one more time just to ensure you read it properly: 265.
The goalies may be losing some equipment, but the game is a lot different now. – Matt McEwan
Odds any team breaks Capitals’ lowest-point-percentage record of .131 (set in 1974-75): 150/1
The 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres literally did everything they could to lose games, but still finished with a .329 point percentage. The hard cap not only made it that much more difficult to be a dominant team, but also a lot harder to tank. The cap floor does the same. – Matt McEwan
Odds the Detroit Red Wings make the playoffs for the 26th straight year: 7/8
Both the Canadiens and Bruins made big moves in the offseason to get back in the playoffs, and the top six teams in the conference last year are all safe bets to be playing into mid-April again. Signs are pointing to the Wings, Flyers, Habs, and Bs battling it out for the final two spots.
There is a lot of panic over the Red Wings losing Pavel Datsyuk, but “The Magic Man” only played in 66 games last season and wasn’t his usual self when on the ice (49 points). Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist will both take the next step and replace the lost offense in Datsyuk’s departure. – Matt McEwan
Odds to be the first coach fired
- Michel Therrien, Canadiens: 5/1
- Claude Julien, Bruins: 11/2
- Paul Maurice, Jets: 6/1
- Willie Desjardins, Canucks: 7/1
- Alain Vigneault, Rangers: 9/1
- John Tortorella, Jackets: 10/1
- Bill Peters, Hurricanes: 12/1
- Field: 17/3
Despite their overall success with their respective teams, both Therrien and Julien find themselves on the coaching hot-seat following a season where both missed the playoffs – Julien’s second-straight. Montreal and Boston are two cities that always have high expectations for their teams, and another slow start to the season for either could result in a change behind the bench.
One coach who has been successful recently, at least in the regular season, is Alain Vigneault. However, the Rangers’ poor performance in the playoffs last season has led a lot to question Vigneault’s style of play. If the Rangers don’t quickly get back to their winning ways, the organization may decide to shake things up.
Tortorella is only entering his second season as bench boss of the Blue Jackets, and the organization seems to be very high on him and his style of play. But, as we’ve learned in the past, you never know what Torts is going to do or say next. – Matt McEwan
Odds on which new coach improves his team the most (based on points)
- Jared Bednar, Avalanche: 2/1
- Bruce Boudreau, Wild: 7/3
- Guy Boucher, Senators: 4/1
- Glen Gulutzan, Flames: 6/1
- Randy Carlyle, Ducks: 7/1
The Avalanche have three guys up front who are all on the cusp of being game-changing players: Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon. Colorado narrowly missed out on the playoffs last year with 82 points (ninth in the West), but will benefit from their core gaining another year of experience. If Semyon Varlamov can be a little more consistent between the pipes, this is a team that can certainly break into the playoffs – whether it’s Patrick Roy or Jared Bednar behind the bench.
Boudreau found himself as the scapegoat for the Ducks’ early playoff exits, but was quickly scooped up when Anaheim let him go. Minnesota’s new boss has the highest point percentage among all active coaches, and is eighth on the all-time list. The Wild were a playoff team last year, and the future only looks brighter (at least in the regular season) with Boudreau calling the shots.
Speaking of Boudreau’s departure, Randy Carlyle takes his job back in Anaheim, but how much better can the Ducks get? – Matt McEwan
Odds the 2016-17 Stanley Cup champion team is from …
- United States: 2/21
- Canada: 21/2
The only Canadian franchise that looks to have more than a puncher’s chance this year is Montreal, and that’s all because of Price. With their potential success tied entirely to one player’s health, this team isn’t exactly screaming, “we’re going to end the 23-year drought!” And that’s before you even include all the insane pressure that comes from playing in a Canadian market.
Odds the 2016-17 NBA and NHL Champions are from the same state (or province): 9/1
The Stanley Cup champion is not coming from Ohio. Not while John Tortorella’s behind the bench. So this responsibility basically falls on the state of California.
Odds one of the four NY/NJ teams makes the Stanley Cup Finals: 15/4
The Rangers won’t let the fact that they’re old and slow stop them from giving up the dream. Having Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes keeps them dreaming of Stanley Cups, even though they should be thinking rebuild. The Devils actually have a top goalie, too, but their roster lacks enough playmakers, even after they robbed the Oilers in the Taylor Hall trade.
As funny as it sounds, the Islanders are the likeliest New York team to be playing in June. Brooklyn represent!
Over/under number of players who will kneel during U.S. national anthem before their teams’ first game: 1.5
The NHL’s never been known for being at the vanguard of social change. Hockey players all have the same “put the team first mentality,” so it’d be surprising for any player to shift the focus on themselves by protesting. However, after Tortorella took a ridiculous stance on anthem protests, I could see a few of his players (or the opposition) doing something just to piss him off.
Odds NHL’s expansion team in Las Vegas will be named …
- Silver Knights: 5/3
- Desert Knights: 2/1
- Golden Knights: 3/1
- Field: 15/1
I don’t understand the obsession with having this team named the something Knights. I know Bill Foley isn’t allowed to name it something gambling related, but there’s still a world of possibilities beyond combining an adjective with an already popular OHL mascot. Try the “Las Vegas Copperfields.” Or the “Las Vegas All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp Buffets.” The “Las Vegas Was My Favorite James Caan Roles?”
I’m just spitballing, and these are all better.
Top photo credit: clyde (Originally uploaded to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/].