Latest Stanley Cup odds see Minnesota and Carolina’s chances improve

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At the conclusion of the Stanley Cup finals, online gambling site Bovada put out their initial odds to win the 2013 Stanley Cup. That list saw the Penguins as the early leader to lift the Cup and after their latest update that’s still the case, but we’ve seen some changes thanks to trades and free agency.

Minnesota made their big splash signing both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter and thanks to that they went from being 75/1 shots to win it all to 18/1. Carolina went from 50/1 odds to 22/1 thanks to landing Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin while the New York Rangers saw a mild improvement thanks to acquiring Rick Nash going from 12/1 to 9/1.

Oddly enough, the biggest improvement in odds outside of Minnesota belonged to Edmonton. The Oilers went from 60/1 shots to win the Cup to 30/1. Who knew Nail Yakupov was that much of a difference maker?

It’s not all sunshine and roses, however, as Nashville went from 18/1 shots to 25/1 after losing Suter. Just think of how bad it would’ve been had they not matched Shea Weber’s offer sheet from Philly.

The Columbus Blue Jackets were already a bad bet the first time around at 75/1 but after dealing Nash to New York, their odds got longer at 100/1, the worst in the league.

Here’s the rest of the updated odds for your entertainment only purposes perusal with what they were on June 12 in parenthesis.

Pittsburgh Penguins 8/1 (7/1)
New York Rangers 9/1 (12/1)
Vancouver Canucks 11/1 (12/1)
Los Angeles Kings 12/1 (11/1)
Philadelphia Flyers 13/1 (14/1)
Chicago Blackhawks 14/1 (12/1)
Detroit Red Wings 15/1 (12/1)
Boston Bruins 16/1 (14/1)
St. Louis Blues 16/1 (12/1)
Minnesota Wild 18/1 (75/1)
San Jose Sharks 20/1 (22/1)
Buffalo Sabres 22/1 (25/1)
Carolina Hurricanes 22/1 (50/1)
Nashville Predators 25/1 (18/1)
Tampa Bay Lightning 25/1 SAME
Washington Capitals 25/1 SAME
New Jersey Devils 28/1 (30/1)
Edmonton Oilers 30/1 (60/1)
Toronto Maple Leafs 35/1 SAME
Florida Panthers 40/1 (35/1)
Anaheim Ducks 40/1 (25/1)
Colorado Avalanche 40/1 SAME
Montreal Canadiens 40/1 (60/1)
Ottawa Senators 40/1 SAME
Phoenix Coyotes 40/1 SAME
Calgary Flames 50/1 SAME
Dallas Stars 50/1 (40/1)
Winnipeg Jets 50/1 (40/1)
New York Islanders 75/1 SAME
Columbus Blue Jackets 100/1 (75/1)

Ducks say they’ve allowed Draisaitl too much freedom, too much fun

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Given the nicknames bestowed on Leon Drasaitl recently — the German Gretzky, Certified Duck Killer — it’s safe to assume the big Oilers forward is having a pretty good time.

That’s something Anaheim wants to put to an end, starting tonight.

“He’s a power forward and we’re allowing him too much freedom. He’s having too much fun,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle told the Journal, after Drasaitl went off for four points in Wednesday’s series-opening win.  “I don’t know how I can put it any simpler.”

The 21-year-old has made a habit of tormenting Anaheim this season. He has goals in five of seven career games at the Honda Center and, in his last 11 tilts versus the Ducks, has racked up an whopping 17 points.

Coming into this second round series, most of the focus was on how Carlyle and company would shut down Connor McDavid.

But now it appears they have another matchup issue on their hands.

Carlyle’s most logical choice is to put out the Ryan Kesler line against McDavid, given Kesler’s stout defensive play and ability to shut down opposing centers. But in terms of straight matching, that puts plenty of responsibility on Kesler’s wingers — especially Andrew Cogliano — to deal with Draisaitl. He has good size (6-foot-1, 216 pounds) and has been bolstered by McDavid’s playmaking ability.

As such, there’s a fascinating game-within-a-game to watch this evening. Carlyle has the benefit of last change. The forward matchups will be worth monitoring, but so will the defense — veteran blueliner Kevin Bieksa is doubtful after exiting Game 1 with a lower-body injury, but Sami Vatanen could return after sitting out since Game 1 of the Calgary series.

 

 

Canucks could really use Patrick or Hischier

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The Vancouver Canucks are hoping for better luck in tomorrow’s draft lottery. If they receive it, they may get a player who can step right into their lineup, and stay there for years to come.

The top two picks in the 2017 draft are expected to be centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier.

It remains to be seen who will go first overall. Patrick was the consensus pick for a while, but Hischier started to gain ground with an impressive showing for Switzerland at the World Juniors.

“I think the top two players in this draft have the potential to maybe step in and play next year and be productive players at the NHL level,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “But I think the next three players, whether you’re looking at a play-making center, or potentially a power-play defenseman, there’s good choices there too.”

Gabe Vilardi, Casey Mittelstadt, and Cody Glass are centers the Canucks could select if they fall out of the top two. Cale Makar, Miro Heiskanen, and Timothy Liljegren are options on defense.

But getting Patrick or Hischier would be a huge win for a team that will soon have to replace Henrik Sedin, who turns 37 in September.

Benning says Patrick offers a combination of size (6-3, 198), skill and hockey sense, with “no real weakness in his game.”

As for Hischier, it’s his speed that really stands out.

“He’s built for today’s game,” said Benning. “His speed going through the neutral zone is fun to watch.”

The Canucks have the second-best odds to win the draft lottery. The furthest they can fall is to fifth.

Last year, Vancouver fell two spots from third to fifth, with Winnipeg and Columbus moving up. The Canucks drafted Finnish defenseman Olli Juolevi with their selection.

Draft lottery odds

Colorado Avalanche 18.0%
Vancouver Canucks 12.1%
Vegas Golden Knights* 10.3%
Arizona Coyotes 10.3%
New Jersey Devils 8.5%
Buffalo Sabres 7.6%
Detroit Red Wings 6.7%
Dallas Stars 5.8%
Florida Panthers 5.4%
Los Angeles Kings 4.5%
Carolina Hurricanes 3.2%
Winnipeg Jets 2.7%
Philadelphia Flyers 2.2%
Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8%

Paajarvi out, Barbashev in as Blues look for ‘physical element’

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After losing Game 1 — and with it, home ice advantage — of their series against Nashville, the Blues are making a lineup change for Friday’s Game 2.

Ivan Barbashev, who’s been a healthy scratch the last three games, will draw in, replacing Magnus Paajarvi. Paajarvi sits despite being a fairly productive player recently, notching a goal and three points in his last five games.

This, of course, includes the game-winning, series-clinching OT goal against Minnesota on Saturday:

“We like to give players a chance to respond and a chance to get back in there when they’re coming out of the lineup,” Blues head coach Mike Yeo said, per NHL.com. “We saw what that did for (Jori Lehtera). It’s in no way anything against Magnus. We’re very grateful and appreciative of what he’s done and what he can do for us, but ‘Barby’ has been a good player for us for a long time, too.

“Having him in the lineup, he’ll be energized and bring a physical element… When he gets the puck of the offensive zone, he has a chance to create something. We’ll see how he does tonight.”

The hope is that Barbashev can rediscover some of the form shown during the regular season. The Russian rookie made an impact, scoring five goals and 12 points in 30 games.

Sabres granted permission to speak with Futa

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Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Kings promoted Mike Futa to assistant general manager.

But Futa received that promotion before the Sabres cleaned house last week, and that timing is important to note.

Because it’s now being reported, via a Kings spokesman, that the Sabres have been granted permission to speak with Futa about their GM vacancy.

It’s no surprise that Buffalo has asked to interview Futa. He was a candidate for the Sabres’ GM job in 2013 — a job that eventually went to Tim Murray.

Futa was once thought to be heir apparent to Dean Lombardi in Los Angeles. But when Lombardi was fired, the Kings went with Rob Blake instead.

Some background on Futa, courtesy the Kings:

Futa most recently served as Kings Vice President, Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel. This upcoming season will be Futa’s 11th season with the Kings.

Futa recently concluded his 10th full season with the Kings, and third in his most recent position. He was named VP of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel in May of 2014 after serving as Director of Amateur Scouting, a position he assumed on June 5, 2007, when he originally joined the Kings.

Futa came to the Kings when he was appointed Co-Director of Amateur Scouting along with Mark Yannetti. Together, Futa and Yannetti rebuilt and retooled the entire Kings Amateur Scouting staff.

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