The odds for the 2013 Stanley Cup were released last week, and it revealed a lot about the way the sportsbooks in Las Vegas are predicting the 2012-13 NHL season to conclude.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were named the favorites, while the San Jose Sharks were given the 11th spot on the odds to win the 2013 Stanley Cup ahead of teams like the Anaheim Ducks and Buffalo Sabres, and just behind the Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers.
However, are the Sharks really the 11th-best team in the NHL right now?
San Jose finished last year's regular season as the seventh seed in the Western Conference, even after a thrilling run in the final weeks. They ultimately ran into the No. 2-seeded St. Louis Blues, which far and away outplayed them in the first-round series on their way to the next round.
There is currently nothing about this Sharks team that can make anyone think they are the 11th-best team in the NHL. They have a defense that was one of the biggest letdowns in the NHL last season, a terrible penalty kill that never even attempted to recover at any point last season and a talented core that seems to wither away once the biggest moments of the playoffs get underway.
Sure, San Jose will make some moves this offseason—they have to. GM Doug Wilson may be on his final leg if he does not come through with significant changes to this team this offseason, and coach Todd McLellan may be lucky to have his job right now.
After such a disappointing season in 2011-12, Las Vegas did the Sharks a great service by giving them the 11th spot in the Stanley Cup odds.
In 2011, Las Vegas gave San Jose the sixth-best odds to win the Stanley Cup, and we all know how that season ended—with more disappointment.
But maybe Las Vegas knows something we do not.
Will the Sharks land Rick Nash? Maybe Zach Parise?
The presumption Las Vegas is making is that the Sharks will be active on the free-agent and trade markets this summer, which they have to be. Wilson will be wheeling and dealing, and the Sharks may or may not be a better team when all is said and done.
Las Vegas seems to be banking on the former.
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