Penguins favored to win Stanley Cup next year

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions in the NHL’s salary cap era. Now, can they accomplish a three-peat?

Not even 24 hours after defeating the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, clinching back-to-back championships, the Penguins have been listed as the favorites to win it all in 2018.

Their most recent opponent, the Predators, are further down the list at 14/1 to win the Stanley Cup next year.

From Bovada:

Pittsburgh Penguins               9/1
Chicago Blackhawks             12/1
Edmonton Oilers                   12/1
Tampa Bay Lightning           12/1
Washington Capitals             12/1
Anaheim Ducks                      14/1
Nashville Predators               14/1
Dallas Stars                             16/1
Minnesota Wild                      16/1
Montreal Canadiens              16/1
New York Rangers                 16/1
Toronto Maple Leafs             16/1
Los Angeles Kings                 18/1
Columbus Blue Jackets        20/1
San Jose Sharks                     22/1
St. Louis Blues                       28/1
Boston Bruins                        33/1
Calgary Flames                      33/1
Ottawa Senators                    33/1
Florida Panthers                    40/1
New York Islanders               40/1
Philadelphia Flyers                40/1
Winnipeg Jets                         40/1
Arizona Coyotes                      66/1
Buffalo Sabres                         66/1
Carolina Hurricanes              66/1
Detroit Red Wings                 66/1
Colorado Avalanche               75/1
New Jersey Devils                  75/1
Vancouver Canucks                75/1
Vegas Golden Knights         150/1

It would definitely be a mountainous task to win three consecutive Stanley Cups. It hasn’t happened since the early 1980s, when the New York Islanders won four straight, before the Edmonton Oilers won five of the next seven. 

The Penguins should certainly be a contender next year in the Eastern Conference. Core star players Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang are all locked into long-term contracts, and the first three aforementioned talents finished in the top three in playoff scoring this year.

Letang missed the playoffs due to neck surgery, but he could also be ready to go for the beginning of next season.

There is still plenty of work and plenty of decisions ahead for Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. In addition to a decision on the future of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh has 12 players on expiring contracts, including seven pending unrestricted free agents and five pending restricted free agents. The latter category includes notables Conor Sheary, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz.

Related: Bargains in Murray, Guentzel could extend Penguins’ contending window