With minimal roster losses from its Stanley Cup-winning team, the Chicago Blackhawks have a real shot at becoming the first repeat champion in the NHL since the Detroit Red Wings went back-to-back in 1997 and 1998.
In fact, online bookmaker Bovada thinks the ‘Hawks have the best Cup chances of all 30 teams in 2013-14.
Following is the full list of odds:
Chicago Blackhawks 6/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 13/2
Boston Bruins 10/1
Los Angeles Kings 12/1
St. Louis Blues 12/1
Detroit Red Wings 16/1
Vancouver Canucks 16/1
San Jose Sharks 18/1
Edmonton Oilers 20/1
Minnesota Wild 20/1
New York Rangers 20/1
Anaheim Ducks 22/1
Montreal Canadiens 25/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 25/1
Washington Capitals 25/1
Philadelphia Flyers 28/1
New York Islanders 33/1
Ottawa Senators 33/1
Carolina Hurricanes 40/1
Colorado Avalanche 40/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 40/1
Dallas Stars 40/1
New Jersey Devils 40/1
Nashville Predators 50/1
Tampa Bay Lightning 50/1
Winnipeg Jets 50/1
Phoenix Coyotes 66/1
Buffalo Sabres 100/1
Calgary Flames 100/1
Florida Panthers 150/1
A few thoughts:
—- Can’t really argue with the ‘Hawks at 6/1. The one concern may be the center position, particularly after Dave Bolland was traded to Toronto. Remember, it was already a concern with Michal Handzus centering the second line heading into the playoffs. Could Brandon Saad fill that role?
—- Even with all its young talent, Edmonton at 20/1 seems rather optimistic considering the Oilers haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. Is Boyd Gordon that good?
—- For a long shot, you could do worse than Tampa Bay at 50/1. If the Lightning can get better goaltending than they got last season, they could make the playoffs and go on a run. We all know they can put the puck in the net.
—- Is Buffalo so bad that the Sabres deserve to be tied with Calgary for second-biggest underdog? We suppose it depends what happens with Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. If those two are traded for picks/prospects, the answer may be yes. Otherwise, it’s worth noting the Sabres finished 2013 quite well, going 8-4-0 in April. They badly need Tyler Myers to find his game again.
Aaron Ekblad has been medically cleared by Florida Panthers doctors, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
That’s a big relief for everyone involved after Ekblad was injured while representing Team North America in the World Cup. The injury was originally reported as a “mild” concussion, though it was later called a neck injury.
The 20-year-old has since been back on the ice working out.
“Ekblad is going to be fine,” Panthers coach Gerard Galant said. “You see him out there skating already. I think it was a little scary, but he feels real good. He’s going to skate and see how he feels, but everything looks good.”
The first overall pick in the 2014 draft, Eklbad had already dealt with at least one concussion during his playing career. He suffered one in an international exhibition game during the summer of 2014, just prior to his outstanding rookie season with the Panthers.
It didn’t take long for one of the top picks at this year’s draft to be sent packing from training camp.
On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that Logan Brown — the 11th overall selection in June — has been sent back to his junior team in OHL Windsor.
Brown, the son of ex-NHL defenseman Jeff Brown, played in Monday’s exhibition win over Toronto and scored once. He didn’t play in Tuesday’s OT loss to Buffalo.
Though he wasn’t expected to make the team this season, Brown, 18, is considered to be a high-end prospect, which makes his early dismissal a bit curious.
At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he has terrific size and the Sens wasted little time locking him in after the draft, signing him to a three-year, entry-level deal in August.
Related: Get to know a draft pick — Logan Brown
Dennis Seidenberg is expected to sign with the New York Islanders after the World Cup, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
It’s a one-year, $1 million deal, per Dreger.
Seidenberg is currently playing a significant role for Team Europe, a surprise finalist against the heavily favored Canadians.
The 35-year-old defenseman was unexpectedly bought out by the Boston Bruins over the summer. He had two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $4 million.
Seidenberg was a key part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup champion team in 2011, but injuries limited him to just 61 games last season, and his average ice time fell below 20 minutes for the first time since he was with the Hurricanes in 2007-08.
He’ll likely take on a bottom-pairing role with the Islanders, below Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Johnny Boychuk, and Calvin de Haan. He may even be the extra defenseman, pushing the likes of Thomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield for a spot in the lineup.
Related: Seidenberg shocked by Bruins’ decision
New Jersey needed some blueline depth after this summer’s blockbuster Adam Larsson-for-Taylor Hall trade and now, they’ve addressed it.
On Wednesday, GM Ray Shero announced the club signed veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Quincey, 31, spent the last four seasons in Detroit, emerging as a regular fixture on defense — but ’15-16 was hardly a positive campaign.
He missed 35 games with a serious ankle injury and, upon his return, never seemed to find his way into head coach Jeff Blashill’s good graces.
Blashill even scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why — a pretty bold move for a player that, in ’13-14, appeared in all 82 games for the Red Wings, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night.
Overall, this move seems like a pretty reasonable gamble from the Devils. Quincey has his flaws, but the term is short and the money is relatively low.
(Especially considering Quincey’s coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid $4.25M annually.)
Shero could end up getting a nice return on his investment. Quincey projects to challenge for top-four minutes in New Jersey, looking to break into a group that features the likes of Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore and Ben Lovejoy.
Jon Merrill, Steve Santini and Brandon Gormley are also in that mix, though likely to be challenging for spots on the bottom pair.