There hasn’t been a repeat Stanley Cup winner since the Detroit Red Wings turned the trick in 1997 and 1998. Right now at online sportsbook Bodog the oddsmakers think the Pittsburgh Penguins have what it takes to end that lengthy streak after listing them as the early 2017 Stanley Cup favorite.
With the majority of their championship roster expected to return the Penguins are a +800 favorite on the Stanley Cup futures at Bodog. Conn Smythe winner Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang are all under contract for a few more seasons. Pittsburgh could also clear some cap room if they can move goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has become redundant after the emergence of Matt Murray.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals follow the Penguins on the Stanley Cup odds, both at +1000. Chicago’s annual roster changeover has already begun with Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen shipped to Carolina for draft picks to alleviate some cap space. Also expected to move on are free agents Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. Chicago is expected to try and re-sign Andrew Shaw, but we all know what really makes them contenders are their stalwarts, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith.
The Capitals posted the best record in the NHL this past season, but they still failed to get past the second round of the playoffs. Despite that failure Washington’s roster should look very similar next season with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby all returning. Their biggest free agent is Marcus Johansson, who reportedly is in talks to return.
The St. Louis Blues made it to the Western Conference final last season before bowing out to the San Jose Sharks in six games. Despite that they’re getting better odds than San Jose right now at +1200, compared to +1400 for the Sharks.
Head coach Ken Hitchcock will get one more try to get the Blues a Stanley Cup before giving way to Mike Yeo. He’ll likely do it without captain David Backes, who is expected to depart as a free agent. There’s plenty left in the cupboard though with Vladimir Tarasenko leading a roster that also include Alex Steen, Paul Stastny, Robby Fabbri and, for now, Kevin Shattenkirk.
The Sharks caught fire in the playoffs to make it to the Cup final for the first time and there’s no reason they can’t do it again. San Jose has their veteran base with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns, but also plenty of young talent in Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, and Joonas Donskoi.