Among the favorites on the odds to win the Stanley Cup this year at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark are the East’s Washington Capitals (at 4-1) and the Chicago Blackhawks (5-1) and West's Los Angeles Kings (9-1), Anaheim Ducks (9-1) and Dallas Stars (9-1).
Conference affiliation is noteworthy with regard to Stanley Cup odds because the West champion has won it the last four years, along with seven of the past nine. The defending champion Blackhawks have won the Cup three times in the previous six years (2010, 2013 and 2015), with the Kings taking it home in 2012 and 2014.
Los Angeles just missed the postseason cut last season and seems primed to make a deep run this year as the leader in the Pacific Division.
But the Ducks are the defending Pacific champs and one of the hottest teams in the league. They've won six straight games to move into second place ahead of the San Jose Sharks, who have 14-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. Anaheim lost to Chicago in the 2015 Western Conference Final.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks and Stars have taken turns leading the Central Division recently, while the St. Louis Blues are closing fast and are also 14-1 to win the Cup. The Blues won the division a year ago before falling to the Minnesota Wild (28-1) in the conference quarterfinals.
Minnesota has gone 4-1 since firing head coach Mike Yeo and replacing him with John Torchetti on an interim basis.
Chicago improved its chances to repeat by acquiring forward Andrew Ladd (h/t Yahoo) from the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Ladd has 34 points (17 goals and 17 assists) and was on the 2010 championship team.
The Capitals have been the class of the NHL for almost the entire season though, earning their status as consensus favorites to win the Stanley Cup. After losing to the New York Rangers (16-1) in the conference semifinal last year, Washington is a near-lock to win the Presidents’ Trophy, which is awarded to the team with the most points during the regular season.
The Florida Panthers (16-1) and Tampa Bay Lightning (18-1) are the only other teams from the East with odds of less than 20-1. Tampa Bay is the defending conference champion and lost to the Blackhawks in six games for last year’s Stanley Cup.