Ryan Miller

Online bookmaker: Blues are 5/1 favorites to win Stanley Cup


The acquisition of Ryan Miller has convinced online bookmaker Bovada to make the St. Louis Blues its 2014 Stanley Cup favorite. The Blues, a franchise that’s still looking for its first NHL title, is now getting 5/1 odds to win the Cup, down slightly from 6/1 on Feb. 4.

Here’s the full list of odds (Feb.4 odds in brackets):

St. Louis Blues 5/1 (6/1)
Chicago Blackhawks 13/2 (11/2)
Pittsburgh Penguins 13/2 (6/1)
Anaheim Ducks 15/2 (7/1)
Boston Bruins 15/2 (9/1)
San Jose Sharks 10/1 (10/1)
Los Angeles Kings 12/1 (16/1)
Colorado Avalanche 20/1 (20/1)
New York Rangers 20/1 (25/1)
Montreal Canadiens 25/1 (33/1)
Toronto Maple Leafs 25/1 (28/1)
Tampa Bay Lightning 28/1 (20/1)
Minnesota Wild 33/1 (40/1)
Philadelphia Flyers 33/1 (25/1)
Detroit Red Wings 40/1 (33/1)
Washington Capitals 40/1 (40/1)
Columbus Blue Jackets 50/1 (40/1)
Dallas Stars 50/1 (75/1)
Vancouver Canucks 50/1 (28/1)
New Jersey Devils 66/1 (50/1)
Ottawa Senators 66/1 (50/1)
Phoenix Coyotes 66/1 (66/1)
Winnipeg Jets 66/1 (200/1)
Carolina Hurricanes 100/1 (50/1)
Florida Panthers Off (300/1)
Nashville Predators Off (200/1)
New York Islanders Off (200/1)

The Oilers, Flames, and Sabres were all off the board on Feb. 4, and remain so.


— Tampa Bay saw its odds go up from 20/1 to 28/1, as Martin St. Louis was traded to the Rangers, whose odds fell from 25/1 to 20/1.

— Not surprisingly, Vancouver’s odds made a significant move in the wrong direction, going from 28/1 to 50/1. Carolina’s move was the biggest in that direction, from 50/1 to 100/1, but that was more a long shot turning into a really long shot.

— The biggest mover in the right direction? That would be Winnipeg, going from 200/1 to 66/1. Next would be Dallas, going from 75/1 to 50/1. The L.A. Kings, featuring Marian Gaborik now, also saw their number fall a significant percentage, from 16/1 to 12/1.

— If we had $5 to bet? We’d throw it on Columbus at 50/1. Of all the long shots, you could do worse than the Blue Jackets in a pretty wide open Eastern Conference.

Brandon Sutter didn’t have the greatest preseason

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When Brandon Sutter was acquired by the Vancouver Canucks, GM Jim Benning called the 26-year-old a “foundation piece for our group going forward.”

Sutter was quickly signed to a five-year extension worth almost $22 million, more evidence of how highly management thought of the player.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Benning was asked the following question:

“What does it say that you made the trade for Sutter, you called him a ‘foundation’ player, and it took him until the final night of the preseason to find a spot (with the Sedins) on the wing, which isn’t his natural position?”

Here was Benning’s response:

“Well, [head coach Willie Desjardins] wants to try that out, he thinks that’s going to be a good fit. At various times, the Sedins played with wingers with speed, with [Ryan Kesler], who could get in on the forecheck and had a good shot. Sutter brings some of those qualities, too.”

While all that may be true, Sutter was not signed to play the wing; he was brought in to play center, specifically on the second line. He finished the preseason with zero points in five games. And as mentioned, he’ll start the season on the wing, not his natural position.

Meanwhile, youngsters Bo Horvat, 20, and Jared McCann, 19, had outstanding camps and are expected to start the regular season (tonight in Calgary) centering the second and third lines, respectively.

Though Sutter did finish the preseason with 12 shots on goal, up there with the most on the Canucks, it’s fair to say he did not look like a “foundation” player.

“I haven’t seen him play his best,” Desjardins said last week. “I see a guy who’s big and a good skater and who understands the game real well, but just hasn’t got that involved.”

Now, we are only talking about the preseason here. New players often take time to get comfortable. Perhaps playing with the Sedins can provide Sutter with some confidence.

“I know he’ll be there and I totally believe that,” said Desjardins.

But it hasn’t been the best start, and if it wasn’t for the encouraging play of the youngsters, it would be a far bigger story in Vancouver.

Related: Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado

Detroit waives Cleary

Daniel Cleary

Dan Cleary‘s time as a Red Wing could soon be over.

Detroit placed the veteran forward on waivers Wednesday afternoon, per TSN. The move comes after Cleary signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $950,000 just weeks before training camp, then proceeded to play in four of Detroit’s exhibition contests, scoring two points.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens now.

At 36, Cleary doesn’t have much left in the tank and is coming off a year in which he played just 17 games. But as we noted back in the summer, this seems to all be part of a larger plan.

From the Free Press:

A situation that bears the handprint of former coach Mike Babcock has put the Wings in the position of being honor-bound to keep Cleary, 36, aboard, even as he is coming off a season that saw him play just 17 games, producing two points.

This debacle began two years ago. The Wings had offered Cleary a three-year, $6.25-million contract before he became unrestricted July 1. He declined. The Wings then signed Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson, leaving little space under the salary cap. Then Cleary didn’t sign with anyone. September rolled around. The Flyers offered Cleary a three-year deal for $8.25 million, but Cleary then decided he wanted to stay in Detroit.

He ended up flying to Traverse City, where the Wings already had begun training camp. He met in a hangar with Holland and Babcock. Holland pointed to a near maxed-out budget. Babcock pushed hard for Cleary to be signed. What resulted was a one-year, $1.75-million deal with the understanding the Wings would take into consideration what Cleary left on the Flyers table.

After playing out that $1.75 million deal, Cleary re-signed in Detroit last summer to a one-year, $1.5 million pact — so, essentially, the Wings are now in final year of an unspoken three-year agreement that’s (sorta) aimed at repaying what got left on the table in Philly.

Got all that?

If Cleary gets through waivers, the Wings could send him to AHL Grand Rapids. Since he signed a one-way deal, he’d get his money regardless.

There’s also the option of Babcock and the Leafs claiming Cleary off waivers — a scenario that, as unlikely as it sounds, has already made the rounds on social media.