Updated Stanley Cup Odds for Every NHL Team
With the Stanley Cup back in Chicago, thoughts already turn to next season and projections for who the top challengers are for next year's title. A lot of moves will continue to be made with many restricted free agents unsigned and several unrestricted free agents still available.
The condensed regular season will take a greater toll on players than in a normal year. The 2014 Sochi Olympics will be both distracting and motivating for NHL players, coaching staffs and senior management.
Here are the updated odds to win the Stanley Cup for each NHL team.
All statistics can be found on nhl.com
Florida Panthers, Odds: 80-1
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 36 points, 15th place in Eastern Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Panthers have a lot of work to do, but the most important issue is changing the losing culture in Florida. The Panthers have to allow their young players to grow, develop and learn from their youthful errors as they determine what it takes to win at the professional level.
Trending Upward or Downward: It is challenging to see the Panthers making significant progress next season. While there are a lot of good young players in the Panthers system, a lot has to come together in the next few seasons in order for them to become a playoff contender.
The fact that the Eastern Conference has become more difficult, with 16 teams in the conference, does not help the Panthers’ cause. Young players Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad and Quinton Howden should give Florida fans some reason for optimism.
Buffalo Sabres, Odds: 75-1
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2013 Results: 48 points, 12th place in Eastern Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Sabres are making a lot of changes in short order. They have to stabilize things and determine who wants to be in Buffalo and who wants to head out of town. The issue is that it is not easy to move contracts, and they have players whose salaries and/or terms will not be easy to move if it comes to that.
Trending Upward or Downward: It is not all doom and gloom in Buffalo. The Sabres have some talented and skilled young players in their organization that will be part of the system for a long time. They may not be trending up for the time being, but once some of these prospects blossom, things should improve in the standings.
Fans have to be patient and let the youngest prospects continue to develop in junior or in the Sabres’ farm system. They are not a threat to win the Stanley Cup anytime soon.
Calgary Flames, Odds: 70-1
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 42 points, 13th place in Western Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Flames have finally begun a major overhaul of their roster and have lost veteran players that contributed mightily to the team for the past decade. With Jarome Iginla now a Boston Bruin, and by all accounts goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff retired, the team has some major holes on its roster.
Trending Upward or Downward: There is little question that the team is trending downward right now. They had a difficult time keeping the puck out of their own net last year, and that is likely to worsen in 2013-14. There are some talented forwards in the Flames organization, but there are some significant concerns on defense. The move to an even tougher division next year will also hamper the team’s results as it rebuilds.
Phoenix Coyotes, Odds: 55-1
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 51 points, 10th place in Western Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Coyotes have experienced the most off-ice turmoil of all NHL teams in the past few years. Despite the brave faces put on by everyone associated with the team, these ownership and relocation issues have to have an effect on the entire organization. The changes in Arizona may mean some stability for now, but the larger question of whether NHL hockey belongs in the desert needs to be addressed.
Trending Upward or Downward: The team continues to perform reasonably well under head coach Dave Tippett. Goaltender Mike Smith had a great season last year, although it remains to be seen if he can continue to play at such a high level. The club has had scoring concerns for a number of years, and that is not going to change next season. The team is trending slightly downward by most measures.
Tampa Bay Lightning, Odds: 55-1
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 40 points, 14th place in Eastern Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Tampa Bay Lightning did not have any issues with scoring goals last year. It was their defensive play that was not good. Overall defensive play, and in particular, their defensemen need to be upgraded in a big way.
Trending Upward or Downward: The addition of Jonathan Drouin will certainly help to offset the loss of Vincent Lecavalier over the offseason. Drouin could have an immediate impact at the NHL level given his high skill and all-world speed.
The issue for the Lightning is defending, and while puck possession is one way of defending, there needs to be marked improvement when the team does not have the puck. While their team defense can’t be much worse than it was last year, at best, the Lightning are trending slightly upward.
Colorado Avalanche, Odds: 50-1
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 39 points, 15th place in Western Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Colorado Avalanche added some more scoring in the form of first overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon should be a very good NHLer, but the Avalanche have some serious defensive issues that he’s not going to be able to remedy.
Trending Upward or Downward: New head coach Patrick Roy has been a winner at all levels of hockey. He will bring a new attitude to the team, and losing will not be an acceptable outcome for Roy. There is a lot of work to do in Colorado, though, and instant success is not likely.
The Avalanche had a horrible road record last year with just four wins away from home in 24 starts. That is an acute concern and speaks to some of the issues that Colorado had away from the puck, particularly when line matching was more difficult away from home. The Avalanche may not finish last in the West, but any upward trending will be modest.
Dallas Stars, Odds: 45-1
USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 48 points, 11th place in Western Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Dallas Stars are in the middle of a significant roster overhaul. The Stars do not have great depth at forward, but their defensive play is the most concerning. The Western Conference features a number of teams that are great at the puck0possession game. Dallas does not seem to have the defensive talent to better their weak defensive stats from last year.
Trending Upward or Downward: Dallas has become a slightly younger team with some of the trades they have made over the past few months, and there seems to be a real effort to add speed and skill. However, more changes are needed, and there are some significant issues on their blue line.
Depth is a problem in a number of areas, and there is not a lot of reason to believe the Stars will be playoff contenders with the improvements that some other Western Conference teams have made.
Nashville Predators, Odds: 45-1
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2013 Results: 41 points, 14th place in Western Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Nashville Predators took a significant step backward last year. No team scored fewer goals than the Predators last year, and there is not a lot of reason to believe this will change in a big way next season.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Predators have some high-end talent that is sure to help them in the next season or two. Seth Jones will likely get a chance to make a positive impact at the NHL level next season, although he will be a rarity if he does this as a rookie defenseman.
Nashville must play better on the road next year, but with the quality of teams in the Western Conference, improving its road record will not be easy. The Predators will be a long shot to challenge for a playoff spot next season, let alone win the Stanley Cup. Any trending upward will be relatively slight.
Carolina Hurricanes, Odds: 40-1
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 42 points, 13th place in Eastern Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Carolina Hurricanes had a dreadful season last year, and that was playing in the weakest division in the league. The Hurricanes are in a much tougher division now and are going to be overmatched against many of these new rivals.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Hurricanes still have one of the better goalies in the NHL in Cam Ward. If he doesn’t end up pushing for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team, despite his exclusion from the initial Olympic orientation camp, it will be a surprise.
The Hurricanes have some good talent on their first two lines, but their bottom six will be outperformed on many nights. Their defensive play is also highly suspect, and there is no reason to think this will change next season. The Hurricanes have some up-and-coming talent, but these players are not ready to have a major impact next season. The Hurricanes are not trending upward.
Columbus Blue Jackets, Odds: 40-1
USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 55 points, ninth place in Western Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Columbus Blue Jackets finished the 2013 season with a strong run of eight wins in their final 10 games. The realignment for 2013-14 is their main area of concern, as they will be playing some highly skilled teams in their new division. While they faced some very good opposing players in the Central division, they will be facing a number of superstars on multiple teams in the Eastern Conference.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Blue Jackets had a very good 2013 draft, and the recent signing of Nathan Horton is a positive move if Horton can get healthy and stay healthy. He will not be available to begin the season, and the Blue Jackets will need to have a very good start to stay in the mix in the highly competitive Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets may challenge for one of the final playoff spots, but they are no lock to make the playoffs in 2013-14.
New Jersey Devils, Odds: 40-1
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 48 points, 11th place in Eastern Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The New Jersey Devils had a disappointing season in 2013, and while the addition of goaltender Cory Schneider was a good move by GM Lou Lamoriello, the Devils have bigger issues at the other end of the ice. Scoring is their biggest concern, especially with the retirement of Ilya Kovalchuk.
Trending Upward or Downward: Martin Brodeur’s best years are now in the rear-view mirror, but until Schneider can prove himself over an entire season, expect Brodeur to play a significant number of games next year.
The Devils have also added Jaromir Jagr. It is difficult to imagine him regaining his offensive form with father time working against him, given the limited offensive talent that New Jersey has on its current roster. The Eastern Conference is going to be highly competitive, and it will be very difficult for the Devils to make the playoffs next season unless they add some more scoring.
Winnipeg Jets, Odds: 35-1
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 51 points, ninth place in Eastern Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Winnipeg Jets benefited from playing in the weakest division in the NHL last year. That will not be the case in 2013-14 as they move not only to a new division, but to the Western Conference as well. The Jets should continue to be a good offensive team, but their defensive play will be a major concern.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Jets have some highly skilled young forwards, and the move to the Western Conference should lead to some very good rivalries developing immediately. The Jets should challenge for a playoff spot, but with limited playoff experience, many players need to develop the winning mentality that does not appear overnight.
Minnesota Wild, Odds: 30-1
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 55 points, eighth place in Western Conference; lost in first round of the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Minnesota Wild had a lot of games against some of the weakest teams in the Western Conference last season. They will not have that same luxury in 2013-14, as they will face St. Louis and Chicago on a regular basis. The Wild will need to find a way to score regularly against some of the better defensive teams in the NHL.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Wild have one of the deepest farm systems in the NHL. They also have some young forward prospects that are on the cusp of becoming very good NHL regulars. The Wild also have a talented defensive corps that should allow them to be competitive on most nights.
Scoring depth is an issue, though, and Minnesota will not win many games handily. That puts pressure on the top scorers such as Zach Parise, who will be counted on to play a lot of minutes in the condensed season. The Wild should challenge for a playoff spot in 2013-14, but fans should not expect a smooth ride to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Philadelphia Flyers, Odds: 30-1
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 49 points, 10th place in Eastern Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Philadelphia Flyers have added some goaltending depth for the 2013-14 season, and that was a necessary move as the Flyers continue to face questions in net. Despite this move, goaltending remains an issue, and while Ray Emery might be the answer, it remains the key area of concern in Philly.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Flyers always set expectations high, and fans will not be pleased if the team fails to make the playoffs again. The Eastern Conference is going to feature a lot of intense battles as teams are going to have to hurdle more teams to make the playoff cutline.
The Flyers need to improve their defensive play if they hope to make the playoffs next year, and it won’t be easy to do given the wide-open style of game that many Eastern Conference teams play.
Edmonton Oilers, Odds: 30-1
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2013 Results: 45 points, 12th place in Western Conference; missed the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Oilers have a lot of offensive talent in their top-six forward group, but their defensive systems play was very poor last year. The Oilers have a new head coach in Dallas Eakins, and their defensive play, starting with their rearguards, has to improve markedly if they hope to make the playoffs.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Oilers have been one of the poorer teams in the league for the past three or four seasons. They did have slightly better results last year, and there is reason to believe, given the number of new defensemen they have added, that Devan Dubnyk won’t be left alone as much as he has been in the past.
The Oilers also need improved defensive play from their bottom-six forwards. Dallas Eakins has been a very good coach at the AHL level, and he offers hope to an Oilers fanbase that is one of the most loyal in the NHL.
Washington Capitals, Odds: 25-1
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 57 points, third place in Eastern Conference; lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Washington Capitals had a great second half of the season in 2013, but a lot of their success was a result of the weak division they played in last year. They didn’t create these circumstances, but they will have a more difficult slate of games in 2013-14. There will be a number of divisional games against some of the best players in the NHL today.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Capitals have a very good young goaltender in Braden Holtby, and they will need him to have an excellent campaign in 2013-14. Against the superior competition they will face more regularly next year, there will be a lot more pressure on the Capitals defense. The Capitals will also need more production from their depth forwards if they hope to challenge for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Capitals are definitely not guaranteed to return to the playoffs, but with the reigning Hart Trophy winner in the fold, don’t be surprised if Alex Ovechkin finds a way to lead them to the playoffs again.
New York Rangers, Odds: 25-1
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
2013 Results: 56 points, sixth place in Eastern Conference; lost in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The New York Rangers will be learning a new system of play and will have to implement it with less practice time than usual given the condensed schedule. The Rangers will need to be even better offensively in what will be a very competitive division. Their highly paid stars will need to produce offensively.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Rangers should have a much different look under head coach Alain Vigneault. While Vigneault expects good defensive play, some of the more offensive-minded players like Rick Nash and Brad Richards should be given more latitude to be creative.
The Rangers should be a playoff team in 2013-14, and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist gives them a chance to win every night. He is one of the top goalies in the NHL.
Toronto Maple Leafs, Odds: 25-1
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2013 Results: 57 points, fifth place in Eastern Conference; lost in first round of the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Toronto Maple Leafs had a very good regular season last year and exceeded the expectations of most pundits. The Leafs will not have the luxury of being taken lightly in the 2013-14 season. Teams will be better prepared to face the Leafs next year, and the club will have to be that much better to make the playoffs.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Leafs have some excellent young offensive players at the NHL level and at the prospect level. The club is one of the youngest in the NHL, and its offensive stars will need to continue to produce at the high levels achieved last year.
The Leafs have added a very good goalie in Jonathan Bernier, so there should be a healthy battle between he and James Reimer for starts. The Leafs may not finish as high as fifth next year, but don’t bet against them making the playoffs.
New York Islanders, Odds: 20-1
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 55 points, eighth place in Eastern Conference; lost in first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: Much like the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Islanders were not expected to challenge so quickly for a playoff spot. They made the playoffs last year and pushed the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first-round series. The Islanders will face heightened expectations and will have to cope with those expectations right out of training camp.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Islanders have one of the deepest prospect talent pools in the NHL. The Islanders are particularly deep on the blue line and are the envy of most other organizations in that regard. Many of these players will not be available for NHL play next season, but the team does not need them immediately.
In John Tavares, the Islanders have one of the game’s brightest young stars. With a number of talented young forwards to complement him, the Islanders should have a great chance to make the playoffs in 2014.
Montreal Canadiens, Odds: 20-1
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 63 points, second place in Eastern Conference; lost in first round of the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Montreal Canadiens had one of the best regular seasons of any team in 2013. The Canadiens are going to find it difficult to finish in the top three in their division with Boston, Detroit, Ottawa and Toronto likely vying for one of the coveted three divisional spots. The Canadiens will not be taken lightly by anyone in 2013-14.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Canadiens have one of the league’s best goaltenders in Carey Price. He is going to have to have a great year if the Canadiens hope to make the playoffs comfortably. The Canadiens are not a physically dominant team, and they will need to continue to rely on their skill and tenacity to duplicate their success from this past season.
The wear and tear on players is going to be greater than usual in this condensed regular season. The Habs will need all hands on deck to make the playoffs and make a run at the Stanley Cup.
Vancouver Canucks, Odds: 20-1
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 59 points, third place in Western Conference; lost in first round of the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Vancouver Canucks may have missed their window of opportunity to win a Stanley Cup in recent years as one of the top teams in the NHL. Several players remain at, or near their peak years, but the Canucks will be playing in one of the best divisions, if not the best division in the NHL next season.
A lot of their wins last year came at the expense of the Oilers, Flames and Avalanche. The regular season will not be as easy in 2013-14.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Canucks no longer have two starting goaltenders with the trade of Corey Schneider to the New Jersey Devils. The hope for Canucks fans is that they made the right choice, if they really had one given the existing term and value of Roberto Luongo’s contract.
The Canucks also have some very real issues with scoring depth. The club will face some top defenders on a more regular basis this year, and the scoring will have to come from more than their top two lines. It will be surprising if the Canucks do not trend downward in 2013-14.
San Jose Sharks, Odds: 15-1
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 57 points, sixth place in Western Conference; lost in second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The San Jose Sharks battled inconsistency all year, and long losing streaks will be difficult to recover from given the number of back-to-back games that all teams will play. If the Sharks go on lengthy losing streaks in 2013-14, they may not be able to recover in enough time to undo the damage.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Sharks have a very good mix of young players and experienced veterans. Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski have become key contributors to the Sharks’ success in the past two years.
The Sharks have a very big lineup that allows them to wear down their opponents with their puck-possession game. This was reflected in a home record that saw them suffer just two defeats in regulation at home.
It will be difficult to duplicate that home winning percentage in 2013-14, but if they even approach that percentage, they are a lock to make a run for the Stanley Cup next year.
Ottawa Senators, Odds: 12-1
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 56 points, seventh place in Eastern Conference; lost in second round of the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Ottawa Senators were hit hard by injuries last year, and Jack Adams Trophy winner Paul MacLean did a great job in leading the club to the playoffs. The Senators were challenged to score last year, and they will need production from star centre Jason Spezza and newly acquired Bobby Ryan if they hope to make a real charge for the Stanley Cup.
Trending Upward or Downward: Few NHL teams have demonstrated the character that the Senators displayed in 2013. They lost their two top players in Spezza and the amazing Erik Karlsson for extended periods of time, yet still made the playoffs.
The Senators have also added former Anaheim Duck Bobby Ryan, who should help boost the offensive output for the team. The Senators are not quite at the elite level yet, but this might be the year they get there.
Detroit Red Wings, Odds: 10-1
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 56 points, seventh place in Western Conference; lost in second round of the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Detroit Red Wings have made some significant roster moves since the end of the season. Additionally, they are moving to the Eastern Conference, which has some of the better offensive teams in the league right now. With these major changes, the Red Wings will need to get off to a quick start if they hope to finish in the top three in their competitive division.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Red Wings have some very good young prospects in their system and added Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss in the offseason. The Wings still have two of the best players in the NHL in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
Jimmy Howard has also developed into one of the more consistent goalies in the league. The Red Wings will need to continue to play their puck-possession game if they hope to excel in the Eastern Conference. Every indication is that they will continue to do so.
St. Louis Blues, Odds: 10-1
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
2013 Results: 60 points, fourth place in Western Conference; lost in first round of the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The St. Louis Blues are one of the more difficult teams to play against in the league. They play a tight-checking style under coach Ken Hitchcock, but that type of game also takes its toll on players. The Blues are not offensively gifted, and with the loss of David Perron, the Blues will have to find new contributors on offense.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Blues have one of the better defensive corps in the NHL. Alex Pietrangelo should play for Team Canada in Sochi, and he leads the defensive crew in the offensive and defensive zones.
The Blues are one of the biggest teams in the league. When they are playing at their best, there is no better team at cycling the puck down low. There is every reason to project that St. Louis will be a Western Conference title contender.
Anaheim Ducks, Odds: 9-1
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 66 points, second place in Western Conference; lost in first round of the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Anaheim Ducks were one of the best teams in the NHL’s regular season in 2013. The biggest challenge they face in 2013-14 is complacency. The club realizes that it has talented players, but the Ducks still have to play well to reach the playoffs and gain a top seed. Coach Bruce Boudreau will need to keep the team motivated for the entire season.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Ducks have made some changes in the offseason, including trading one of their top players in Bobby Ryan. The Ducks do have some very good young forwards; Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly are likely to have expanded roles.
Dustin Penner is returning and played some of his best hockey in Duck silks. Newly acquired Jakob Silfverberg will also be counted upon to contribute offensively. The Ducks have excellent goaltending depth and should be a top team in 2013-14.
Pittsburgh Penguins, Odds: 8-1
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 72 points, first place in Eastern Conference; lost in Eastern Conference Final in the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Pittsburgh Penguins were humbled by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals. The Penguins will be challenged to put that defeat behind them, as it had to shake their collective confidence. The Penguins have not upgraded their goaltending, and that may need to happen if they want to win another Stanley Cup with this group.
Trending Upward or Downward: Counting the Penguins out is not a smart thing to do. The Penguins have some of the most talented players in the NHL. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are exceptional players.
The Penguins also have a number of solid offensive talents to complement these key offensive performers. The Penguins do need to be better defensively, and this is going to be even more challenging with the disciplined Detroit Red Wings now in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins will need to be even better next year if they want to challenge for the Stanley Cup.
Los Angeles Kings, Odds: 8-1
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Results: 59 points, fifth place in Western Conference; lost in Western Conference Final in the playoffs
Main Area of Concern: The Los Angeles Kings were guilty of sleepwalking through much of the 2013 regular season. The Kings have been very good for a number of years, and they know what it takes to win an NHL championship.
They will have an easier division than in years past and will have to fight against taking some nights off despite knowing that they will not have to be at their best to win.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Kings are a great team. They have no real weaknesses and can boast a roster that is very good in all three zones. Jonathan Quick is a very good goalie, and he benefits from a team that focuses on defense first. The Kings can skate, though, and they have a lot of size on every line and on the point.
Expect the Kings to coast through the regular season and be ready for playoff battles next spring.
Chicago Blackhawks, Odds: 7-1
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor
2013 Results: 77 points, first place in Western Conference; Stanley Cup champions
Main Area of Concern: The Chicago Blackhawks were the best team in both the regular season and the playoffs in 2013. They have kept the bulk of their team together, although they have lost some good role players in Dave Bolland and Viktor Stalberg.
The one area of concern could be in goal, as Nikolai Khabibulin is not likely going to give the Blackhawks the stability that Ray Emery did in 2013 as a backup goaltender.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Blackhawks have nowhere to go but down unless they can improve on what was a remarkable regular season. They will be challenged to duplicate their excellent winning percentage next season.
The Blackhawks also have a number of players that will be playing in Sochi at the Olympic Games next winter, so Joel Quenneville will need to manage their ice time accordingly. It is a fine balance to win games while ensuring that players will be relatively fresh when the playoffs begin.
Boston Bruins, Odds: 5-1
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2013 Results: 62 points, fourth place in Eastern Conference; Stanley Cup runners-up
Main Area of Concern: The Boston Bruins are one of the deepest teams in the NHL. At the forward position, they have two scoring lines that would be the first line on many NHL teams. The Bruins will be relatively young on defense with the loss of Andrew Ference. The Bruins may take some time to get to where head coach Claude Julien wants them to be defensively.
Trending Upward or Downward: The Bruins had an excellent playoff run despite a very real first-round scare at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team has lost Jaromir Jagr, Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin, but with talented prospects ready to join the NHL club, and Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson now in the fold, the Bruins are unlikely to skip a beat offensively.
Defensemen Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug will only get better next year. The Bruins will be a great team again in 2013-14 and should be considered the odds-on favourite to capture the Stanley Cup next year.