Conference Realignment and Preseason Stanley Cup Vegas Odds for Every NHL Team
We're finally back!
Here are the preseason odds to win the Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks and the rest of the NHL—directly from "America's Playground."
Odds taken from Sportsbook.com
The previous makeup of the NHL featured two conferences of 15 teams that each carried three divisions: Northwest, Pacific, Central, Atlantic, Southeast and Northeast.
Beginning in 2013-14, the NHL has changed the format to having just 14 teams in the West while 16 are in the East with just two divisions each: Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan.
The only teams to change conferences are the Winnipeg Jets (joining the Western Conference) while former Central Division foes Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets head to the East.
Here is how the new NHL breaks down:
Pacific: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, San Jose, Phoenix and Vancouver
Central: Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg
Atlantic: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto
Metropolitan: Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey and both the New York Rangers and New York Islanders
The Pacific Division of late featured five highly competitive teams with playoff dreams: San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix and Dallas.
Now, there are seven teams scattered throughout nearly 1,800 miles of Western land in North America.
The Stanley Cup favorite from the new Pacific Division are the Jonathan Quick-led Los Angeles Kings.
Pacific Division Stanley Cup Odds:
Los Angeles Kings (12/1)
Vancouver Canucks (14/1)
San Jose Sharks (18/1)
Anaheim Ducks (22/1)
Edmonton Oilers (30/1)
Phoenix Coyotes (60/1)
Calgary Flames (100/1)
Last season, the Central division nearly sent all five teams to the playoffs—one being the eventual Stanley Cup champion and this year's favorite Chicago Blackhawks.
This season, however, with the new realignment, the Central Division removed the Wings and the Blue Jackets while adding Dallas, Minnesota, Colorado and Winnipeg.
Central Division Stanley Cup Odds:
Chicago Blackhawks (11/2)
St. Louis Blues (14/1)
Minnesota Wild (30/1)
Dallas Stars (50/1)
Winnipeg Jets (50/1)
Colorado Avalanche (50/1)
Nashville Predators (60/1)
The Western Conference has a fairly understandable level of travel for each division. The Eastern Conference, however, makes absolutely no sense.
The new Atlantic Division includes teams from Canada, New York and Florida. If and when the Montreal Canadiens have to travel to play their now-division rival Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Fla., they will travel just over 2,600 miles to do so. That is the same distance the San Jose Sharks would have to travel to play the Pittsburgh Penguins, the only difference being the change in time zone.
Regardless of whether or not these divisions geographically make sense, here are the odds for each Atlantic Division team to win the 2013-14 Stanley Cup:
Atlantic Division Stanley Cup Odds:
Boston Bruins (9/1)
Detroit Red Wings (15/1)
Montreal Canadiens (25/1)
Toronto Maple Leafs (25/1)
Ottawa Senators (30/1)
Tampa Bay Lightning (40/1)
Buffalo Sabres (100/1)
Florida Panthers (100/1)
The new Metropolitan Division was created to combine the rivalries of the three New York-area teams, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh and the neighboring clubs of Columbus and Carolina.
NHL fans will be able to enjoy longstanding rivalries like Penguins-Flyers and Flyers-Rangers while adding the Crosby-Ovechkin debate to the mix.
Metropolitan Division Stanley Cup Odds:
Pittsburgh Penguins (11/2)
New York Rangers (12/1)
Philadelphia Flyers (25/1)
Washington Capitals (30/1)
New York Islanders (40/1)
Columbus Blue Jackets (60/1)
New Jersey Devils (60/1)
Carolina Hurricanes (60/1)