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Handicapping Each NHL Team's Odds for Winning the 2013 Stanley Cup

Dan KelleyCorrespondent IIJanuary 14, 2013

Handicapping Each NHL Team's Odds for Winning the 2013 Stanley Cup

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    For a while, the odds of any team winning the Stanley Cup in 2013 seemed bleak. 

    The NHL lockout, which began in September and canceled all games through January 19, very nearly prevented Lord Stanley's hardware from being handed out for the second time in eight years. 

    Thankfully, the season is slated to begin on Saturday, meaning that all 30 teams have a chance to engrave the Cup with their names.

    Of course, not every team has an equal shot at the prize. Some teams are well constructed for a run through the shortened regular season and four rounds of playoffs, while others are in full-on rebuilding mode. 

    Here's a look at each team's odds of winning the Stanley Cup in June.

Anaheim Ducks

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    The Anaheim Ducks have some of the pieces in place to make a run at the Cup, namely the team's powerful top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. 

    However, Anaheim is still a few players away from being a legitimate contender. The Ducks' overall lack of depth qualify them as a team without the rounded attack it takes to contend for the Cup.

    Odds: 80 to 1

Boston Bruins

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    The Bruins are on the shortlist of teams equipped to make a major play for the Cup this year. 

    Tyler Seguin is prepared to emerge as a true superstar, the offense is as gritty as ever, and the defense, anchored by Zdeno Chara, is the envy of most of the league.

    The only significant question mark for the Bruins is the performance of goaltender Tuukka Rask. Rask has served as a backup for two years, but during his starts, he has shown he is capable of carrying a team.

    Odds: 8 to 1

Buffalo Sabres

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    The Buffalo Sabres are an interesting case. 

    The team is made up of some very talented individuals, but ultimately it underachieved in 2011-12. If the team can find its legs early in 2013, the Sabres could nip at the Bruins' heels in the Northeast Division all season long. 

    If they struggle to find ways to win, they'll fall out of the playoff picture entirely. 

    Odds: 50 to 1

Calgary Flames

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    The Calgary Flames are in full-on rebuilding mode, and 2013 isn't their year for Stanley Cup glory. 

    For the Flames, this season will be about the development of players like Sven Baertschi, and the big storyline will be whether or not team captain Jarome Iginla is traded. 

    No Stanley Cup in Calgary on this go-around. 

    Odds: 200 to 1

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Now led by a tandem of Staal brothers and backstopped by one of the game's most underrated goaltenders, the Carolina Hurricanes are building themselves up to return to the top of the Southeast Division. 

    They're probably still a year or two away from a division title, but big performances by guys like Alexander Semin, Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner could make this team a dark-horse contender, especially in one of hockey's easier divisions. 

    Odds: 75 to 1

Chicago Blackhawks

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    When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, they seemed poised to build a dynasty around young stars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith.

    However, the team struggled in the last two seasons, losing in the first round of the playoffs each time. The big question mark is goaltender Corey Crawford. If he can find his groove, the Blackhawks will be borderline unstoppable.

    Look for a bounce-back year from the boys in the Windy City.

    Odds: 20 to 1

Colorado Avalanche

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    The Avs have a solid foundation to build upon, and giving the captaincy to youngster Gabriel Landeskog symbolizes the franchise hitting the reset button.

    Colorado will get a fresh start, but 2013 will be just that: a start. The team has issues to address all over the ice, especially in net, and there will be no dividends paid in 2013.

    Odds: 100 to 1

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    The Blue Jackets finished 2011-12 in last place, and 2013 does not promise a brighter future for this struggling franchise. 

    Now, without star player Rick Nash to give the team an identity, the Blue Jackets'  goal will have nothing to do with championships and everything to do with figuring out how to gain a little respect as an NHL franchise. 

    So far, that project has not gone well.

    Odds: 500 to 1

Dallas Stars

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    Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk had some perplexing priorities this offseason. 

    He invested $13.5 million in two 40-year-old players, Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr, yet failed to sign budding superstar Jamie Benn before the lockout. 

    The franchise seems to be headed in the wrong direction, and hockey in the Lone Star State is shriveling up quickly. 

    Odds: 80 to 1

Detroit Red Wings

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    Due in large part to the departure of Nicklas Lidstrom, expect 2013 to be Detroit's worst season in a long time. 

    The silver lining for Wings fans: A bad season in Detroit still gives them a better shot at the Cup than a good season in many other places. 

    Even though the team will lose its elite defense with Lidstrom's departure, guys like Jimmy Howard, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are still very much a part of this squad. They have a tough division in which to contend, but the shortened campaign could favor a team that relies heavily on some older players. 

    Odds: 30 to 1

Edmonton Oilers

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    The offense is made up of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Defenseman Justin Schultz has been tearing up the AHL. The team has a solid foundation to make a Cup run. 

    Still, Devan Dubnyk and the overall defensive reliability of this squad is suspect. This could be a breakout year for the Oilers, but it could also be a bust. The offense-heavy approach is far from guaranteed to work.

    Odds: 80 to 1

Florida Panthers

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    The Panthers found their way back to the playoffs in 2011-12, but they did so by winning a division that was easily the weakest in all of hockey. 

    This year, the Capitals, Lightning and Hurricanes could all be much better, and unless Jonathan Huberdeau bursts onto the NHL scene, the Panthers will find themselves unable to keep up with the rest of the Southeast. 

    Odds: 100 to 1

Los Angeles Kings

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    It's tough enough to win the Stanley Cup once, but doing it twice in a row is nearly impossible these days. The feat has not been accomplished since the Red Wings won back-to-back in 1997 and 1998.

    However, the L.A. Kings are poised to have a shot at consecutive titles. Not only is much of the team still together, but with so many players under the age of 30, it stands to reason that the Kings will be better, on the whole, this season than they were last. 

    They won't surprise anybody in the playoffs like they did last spring, but this team, led by Jonathan Quick, Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown, is flat-out loaded.

    Odds: 10 to 1

Minnesota Wild

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    Flying high after the additions of key free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and excited about the emergence of prospect Mikael Granlund, the Minnesota Wild are well on their way to many years of playoff berths. 

    Of course, whether or not these moves pay dividends remains to be seen. The team choked in the second half of the season last year, finishing with an abysmal minus-49 goal differential. Whether or not Parise, Suter and Granlund can make that up is the big question in Minny.

    Odds: 35 to 1

Montreal Canadiens

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    These are dark days for hockey's proudest franchise.

    The Canadiens are in a rut, and the team is scrambling to work its way out of it. The Habs are looking to build around the likes of Carey Price, Max Pacioretty and Josh Gorges, but they seem destined for the basement of the Northeast Division this season. 

    Montreal's focus will be on making this rebuilding phase as short as possible. Still, make no mistake: The team has a long way to go to get back in the hunt for the Cup.

    Odds: 250 to 1

Nashville Predators

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    The good news for the Predators is that Shea Weber is locked up for life (or as long as the franchise can afford to keep him, at least).

    The bad news is that Ryan Suter is gone, and the window for a Stanley Cup championship may be closing. 

    Any team built around Weber and netminder extraordinaire Pekka Rinne has a shot at the title, but it's hard to argue that this team is better than last year's squad, which lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Coyotes

    The Preds have some of the building blocks of a championship squad, but stiff competition in the division and conference stands in its way.

    Odds: 40 to 1

New Jersey Devils

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    Most Devils fans will point to the fact that their team is the defending Eastern Conference champion and poised to make a legitimate run at the Stanley Cup.

    You never know with the Devils, but on paper, this squad will struggle to make the playoffs. They'll be without Zach Parise, and goalie Martin Brodeur has to start showing his age at some point, doesn't he? 

    Anything could happen, especially in this shortened season, but the Devils just aren't built to repeat their amazing 2012 run to the Cup.

    Odds: 75 to 1

New York Islanders

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    John Tavares is the rare player who makes everyone on the ice with him better.

    Unfortunately for Tavares, he can't be on all four lines, all three defensive pairings and in net all at once. 

    The Islanders have a superstar to build around, and build they must. But this franchise lacks the depth on all fronts to work its way into the playoff picture.

    Odds: 200 to 1

New York Rangers

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    Many would argue, myself included, that the New York Rangers were the Stanley Cup favorites last season. 

    They were the top seed in the Eastern Conference and allowed fewer goals than any team in the East, but ultimately they were defeated by the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. 

    Amazingly, this team is better in 2013. By adding Rick Nash, the Rangers now possess one of hockey's most potent offenses to go along with its impenetrable defense and goaltender. 

    On paper, no team is better equipped to win Lord Stanley's Cup.

    Odds: 5 to 1

Ottawa Senators

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    Daniel Alfredsson is back for one final hurrah, but it seems unlikely that it will amount to anything.

    The Senators are too inconsistent to be Cup contenders. Their goaltending situation is hot and cold, they have a number of capable scorers in Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Milan Michalek but lack the depth to be a true threat. And the team's defense is suspect.

    Like last season, the Sens could contend for an eighth seed in the East, but don't expect them to make a Kings-style run at the championship.

    Odds: 75 to 1

Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Philadelphia Flyers are quickly putting together the pieces to make a major run at the Stanley Cup, but the team isn't quite there yet.

    They'll spend 2013 hoping for youngsters Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier to take huge strides in their respective games, but the issue for the Flyers, as always, is the goaltending. 

    Ilya Bryzgalov has a lot to prove if he wants to avoid a buyout this summer, but ultimately, he can't take the Flyers past teams like the Rangers and Bruins.

    Odds: 25 to 1

Phoenix Coyotes

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    The Coyotes turned heads in the 2012 playoffs by making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals, backed by an amazing season from goaltender Mike Smith and the leadership of captain Shane Doan.

    Smith will be back in net this season, though it will be interesting to see whether or not he can capture the magic of 2011-12. Likewise, Doan chose to return to the Coyotes, giving this team a shot to compete for the Cup.

    Still, the Desert Dogs lack an "it" factor that makes them truly dangerous. They sit somewhere outside the realm of favorites but ahead of the true dark-horse teams.

    Odds: 30 to 1

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    If the Penguins get a full season out of Sidney Crosby, watch out.

    The team has one of the league's more potent offenses even without Crosby, riding the coattails of Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin and newfound scoring machine James Neal. 

    Pittsburgh's primary competition will be its division rivals, the New York Rangers. If Marc-Andre Fleury can avoid a meltdown as in last year's performance in the opening round against the Flyers, those two teams will be going head-to-head throughout the regular season and well into the playoffs.

    Odds: 7 to 1

San Jose Sharks

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    The Sharks' window of opportunity for a championship may be closing, but if the team can find some goaltending, it could finally get the playoff monkey off its back.

    Despite having a Stanley Cup of his own, Antti Niemi is not the answer for San Jose, and the team's success depends on the development of backup Thomas Greiss. 

    If Greiss can take a great leap forward this season, the Sharks can combine their experience with some of the youthful energy in Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to contend for the Cup.

    Odds: 30 to 1

St. Louis Blues

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    The St. Louis Blues are about two scoring threats away from being the best team in hockey. 

    If a player like Vladimir Tarasenko can win a spot on the roster and compete at the NHL level, St. Louis will have a little counter to its defense-first system, and it could easily become the Western Conference favorites. 

    The team is more than set on defense, in net and when it comes to depth forwards, and it's conceivable that the Blues could win with that complexion. However, having a well-rounded offense will safeguard St. Louis against another second-round sweep at the hands of a more dynamic team.

    Odds: 10 to 1

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    If Anders Lindback can become a legitimate starting goaltender, then the Tampa Bay Lightning will be a major threat in the Eastern Conference. If Lindback struggles, this team will find it difficult to make the playoffs.

    Tampa's potent offense is news to nobody, and the team upgraded its defense in the offseason. General Manager Steve Yzerman saw a need to move on from his 42-year-old goaltender, Dwayne Roloson, and search for a future franchise netminder. 

    Lindback, who backed up Pekka Rinne for two years, is untested, but if Yzerman's move pays off, Tampa will be the most complete squad in the Southeast Division.

    Odds: 40 to 1

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Other than concerns in net, on defense and on offense, the Maple Leafs are in good shape.

    The team does have a solid foundation up front, adding James van Riemsdyk to the mix with Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel. Jake Gardiner could emerge this season as one of the most underrated defensemen in the league.

    But until these players get tested, and until the Leafs land someone like Roberto Luongo, there are simply too many gaps in the equation to consider them legitimate contenders.

    Odds: 80 to 1

Vancouver Canucks

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    The Vancouver Canucks are still one of the top teams in the West, and if their decision to abandon Roberto Luongo in favor of Cory Schneider pays off, this team could work its way back to the Stanley Cup Final.

    The Canucks have one of hockey's more dynamic defenses, and the Sedin twins make their way onto the score sheet almost as often as Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows make their way into the headlines with their antics. 

    Still, the Canucks have famously choked when it matters most, and the rest of the West is beginning to catch up with them.

    Odds: 15 to 1

Washington Capitals

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    If Braden Holtby can recreate his performance from the 2012 playoffs, then the Capitals are in good shape. If not, he will see himself battling with Michal Neuvirth for the starting role. 

    The Capitals have a new head coach in Adam Oates, and after a terrible start to the 2011-12 season, Washington looked very good as it worked its way back into the playoffs and beat the Bruins before taking the Rangers to a Game 7. 

    They won't be an odds-on favorite to win the Cup, but this more defensively responsible Capitals squad has a better shot at a title than the run-and-gun teams of the past.

    Odds: 35 to 1

Winnipeg Jets

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    Last season, Jets fans felt the elation of getting their team back as the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg.

    This year, the fans will experience the depression of inheriting a team that used to be the Atlanta Thrashers. 

    Winnipeg received a team in desperate need of rebuilding, and that's how 2013 will be spent. Don't expect the Jets to finish anywhere outside the Southeast Division basement, but don't expect Jets fans to stop buying tickets anyway.

    Odds: 250 to 1

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