In Vancouver’s Way on March to Cup
Finally the ridiculous lockout is over and now we can start talking about battles on the ice and not battles that took place in board rooms! The Vancouver Canucks will enter the 2013 season as one of the legitimate favorites to win it all… again.
They are stacked in all aspects of the game – anything less than a Cup would be a disappointment.
But a look at the Stanley Cup odds show that oddsmakers feel that there is some competition out there particularly in the East.
Let’s take a look at the other favorites and who possesses a serious threat to Vancouver’s march toward History in 2013.
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/1
When you have two of the best players in the world on the same roster, you are going to be a favorite every time. This year is no exception – Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin lead a group of forwards that includes James Neal, Brandon Sutter, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis while the defense led by Kris Letang is equally solid. With Marc-Andre Fleury in net and Thomas Vokoun backing him up there is little doubting Pittsburgh’s elite status.
Experience and hunger to avenge last year’s disappointment also help thrust this team into the favorite roll.
New York Rangers 8/1
The Rangers added Rick Nash to help out with their sketchy offense and have emerged as a Cup favorite because of it. Having the best goaltender on the planet Henrik Lundqvist on the roster doesn’t hurt either. The Rangers are deep at forward, on defense and they have the best goaltending situation in the NHL.
They are a threat to Vancouver – no doubt about it!
Vancouver Canucks 10/1
Vancouver should be at or near the top of the West as per usual – the trick is parlaying Regular Season success into playoff success.
This team has a ton of post season experience, they have a deep blue line – something that usually helps in the playoffs and they have the motivation of shedding the “choker roll”.
All in all, the Canucks have a ton to play for – even the oddsmakers feel they will emerge from the West! In the Cup Final, anything can happen – just ask the Boston Bruins!
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Los Angeles Kings 12/1
The defending champions are Vancouver’s biggest Western threat and they still have Canuck-killer Jonathan Quick on the roster. This team had a difficult time scoring goals last year until the playoffs – something that they rectified in the postseason.
The Kings did little to better themselves in the offseason but didn’t really need to add to a chemistry that carried them to a Cup victory in June.
Philadelphia Flyers 14/1
Pretty hard to like the Flyers isn’t is? Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Carle, Jaromir Jagr, Pavel Kubina and James van Riemsdyk are gone and Chris Pronger still hasn’t resumed skating. Do you trust Luke Schenn to fill the void and for Ilya Bryzgalov to carry this team to the promise land? Me neither!
Chicago Blackhawks 14/1
The Hawks still have a ton of talent – Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marion Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are incredible talents that should keep this team in the mix. Corey Crawford in goal however keeps Chicago from elite status heading into the season.
Boston Bruins 14/1
Have Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin up front and Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference on defense. Tuukka Rask is also a very nice piece between the pipes.
The Bruins are an intriguing team for sure but have a very difficult Eastern Conference to navigate in order to win it all!
St. Louis Blues 16/1
The Blues entered last season unheralded – they won’t catch anybody by surprise this season. Still, with a grinding style, the Blues could steal a few games during this shortened season and with Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak in goal, anything could happen!
Detroit Red Wings 18/1
Most teams would fold the tents after Nicklas Lidstrom retired along with Thomas Holmstrom but the classy Wings always find a way to remain competitive. Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula make up a good forward nucleus although the rest of the team seems just average on paper.
The Wings are as vulnerable as we’ve seen heading into a season – I expect a step back.
Minnesota Wild 18/1
Will Zach Parise and Ryan Suter help a team that has been just average in every aspect of the game the last few seasons? It is hard to imagine the Wild taking that enormous step up this season!
Edmonton Oilers 18/1
The Canucks will see their share of the Oilers this season. But with a lack of goaltending and a defensive corp. that is still lacking depth and quality, Edmonton still appears a year or two away from competing.
Outside of the top odds favorites there are still a few intriguing teams to keep your eyes on – let’s take a glance:
San Jose Sharks 20/1
The Sharks have slipped from elite status in the oddsmakers eyes and rightfully so. The Sharks will have the Kings to contend with in their own division and seem a few pieces away from being a Cup contender.
Carolina Hurricanes 22/1
Added Jordan Staal and Joe Corvo to an already decent lineup this offseason. Cam Ward will be looking for a bounce back between the pipes and with a couple of upgrades ahead of him, the Canes could surprise.
Carolina is the best value on the board!
Washington Capitals 25/1
Do YOU trust the Caps? I don’t!
Buffalo Sabres 28/1
Tampa Bay Lightning 30/1
Nashville Predators 33/1
New Jersey Devils 33/1
Montreal Canadiens 35/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 35/1
Dallas Stars 40/1
Florida Panthers 40/1
Ottawa Senators 40/1
Colorado Avalanche 40/1
Phoenix Coyotes 45/1
Anaheim Ducks 50/1
Calgary Flames 50/1
Winnipeg Jets 66/1
New York Islanders 75/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 100/1
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