When the NHL bubble wrapped up in September, I recommended the Montreal Canadiens as a Stanley Cup futures bet at 50-1. They didn’t end up winning, but it would have left you in a great spot to make some money, as they did make it to this year’s final.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup for the second straight year, which teams offer futures value right now?
The Dallas Stars appear to be a good futures bet, but it depends on the price, of course.
The Stars’ season was doomed from the start. The team started late due to COVID-19, and then when the Stars did get going, their season was disrupted by the weather. Dallas also dealt with a lot of injuries. Forwards Alexander Radulov and Roope Hintz played only 11 and 41 games, respectively, while center Tyler Seguin missed all but three games. Goaltender Ben Bishop missed the entire season. Some uncertainty surrounds Bishop’s future with the expansion draft on the horizon, but the Stars would still have a solid tandem in veteran Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger, who has shown a lot of promise.
The Central Division lacks the formidable opponents it used to have. Besides the Colorado Avalanche, no real juggernauts exist. The Minnesota Wild are good, but the Stars are arguably just as good or better. The Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues are not far off, but as long as the Stars have better injury luck, I would give them an edge over those three teams. They’re definitely better than the Arizona Coyotes and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Stars are more likely than not to make the playoffs.
At the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Stars are listed at 50-1 odds. That’s a bet worth adding to your futures portfolio this summer. Circa Sports lists the Stars at 23-1. The latter is not a good bet, as 35-1 seems widely available.
The expansion draft July 21 makes it tougher to predict what the rosters will look like next season. Teams will be looking to strike deals with the Seattle Kraken, and we have no idea what those deals will look like, so some big surprises could develop. This year’s crop of free agents is pretty large, and where they go will have a big impact on how the true Stanley Cup odds should shake out as we get closer to the season.
Where will Taylor Hall sign? Will Dougie Hamilton stay in Carolina? Will the Boston Bruins re-sign David Krejci and Tuukka Rask? A blockbuster trade or two is also a strong possibility. Jack Eichel’s time in Buffalo looks to be ending, as does Vladimir Tarasenko’s tenure in St. Louis. Where will they land, and will either even be healthy for the start of the season?
However, bettors should consider one more team at 30-1 odds — and no, I’m not talking about the Philadelphia Flyers. The New York Rangers are a good team that probably should have made the playoffs. They have a great goaltender and some legitimate superstar talent. The Rangers likely won’t be better than the Carolina Hurricanes or the New York Islanders, but they might be. They also could take a big step ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. I think the Rangers are better than the Flyers, and I know they’re better than the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New Jersey Devils. Gerard Gallant is taking over as coach, which should help get this team over the hump. Whether this wager has value come October will depend on whether the Rangers can assert themselves as a top team in the Metropolitan Division early.
I would have also liked to give the Florida Panthers (30-1) some love, but with Aleksander Barkov entering the final year of his contract and the slight possibility that negotiations could go south, leading to a trade, I will hold off on adding the Panthers as a futures bet. The Atlantic Division could end up being one of the toughest in the league, and I would like to be sure about the Panthers’ best player before taking a price I don’t necessarily believe reflects their true odds of winning.