It would be a severe understatement to say NHL general managers and their respective front offices were busy in the weeks leading up to this past Friday’s trade deadline.
There weren’t merely the 19 deals completed on deadline day itself. Hockey fans witnessed more than 60 trades transpire since late January when the trade season unofficially began with the Vancouver Canucks sending Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and a partially protected first-round selection.
That significant swap was a catalyst for the 29 trades that went through in February, and the 16 additional moves that occurred between March 1 and trade deadline eve on March 2.
Superstars, future Hall of Famers, captains, top prospects, first-round picks, players with term, rental players, dead-cap deals, salary retention, future considerations. Anything and everything was on the table for GMs and they collectively shied away from conservative decision making.
With fewer than 20 games remaining in the regular season (for all but four teams prior to Monday’s slate) and with significant pre-playoff roster moves now in the rearview mirror, let’s look at the updated Stanley Cup championship odds.
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Betting odds for 2023 Stanley Cup champion as of March 6:
Boston +362 (Bruins opened at +2200)
Colorado +613 (Avalanche opened at +400)
Carolina +738 (Hurricanes opened at +1400)
Toronto +832 (Maple Leafs opened at +800)
New Jersey +1058 (Devils opened at +7500)
NY Rangers +1260 (Rangers opened at +2000)
With Boston still alone at the top of the standings, and currently riding a 10-game winning streak during which they’ve outscored opponents 44-19, it’s little surprise they remain the chalky pick. The Bruins had excellent off-season value so anyone holding a Bruins ticket from September or October is sitting pretty heading down the stretch. Jim Montgomery’s club might’ve lost Taylor Hall to injury, but they added forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway, plus top-four defenceman Dmitry Orlov, who already has nine points in five games with the Bruins and was named the NHL’s top star of the week.
Colorado is the only team from the Western Conference with odds shorter than 13/1, which is symbolic of the power dynamics between the two conferences at the moment. Oddsmakers are showing confidence in the defending champions over fellow Western teams like Vegas and Dallas despite the fact the Avs sit third in the Central Division and currently are 13th in regular-season points percentage.
The Devils’ biggest addition was Timo Meier from San Jose and Carolina did some minor roster tweaking; neither team was as busy as the Maple Leafs or Rangers.
New York made moves for marquee pending free agents Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane, which should be a huge boon to the team’s playoff scoring. The Rangers advanced to the Eastern Conference Final in 2022 with netminder Igor Shesterkin standing on his head for much of the post-season. His teammates only generated five goals in the final four games of their playoff run, though.
Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas also turned up the aggressiveness by pulling off six trades in roughly two weeks, adding Ryan O’Reilly plus defensive depth with Jake McCabe, Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn. O’Reilly sustained a broken finger but is expected to be available by the playoffs and that injury news did not affect Toronto’s odds Monday.
These are particularly short odds for a Toronto franchise that has not won a post-season series in the NHL’s salary cap era.
Vegas +1306 (Golden Knights opened at +1400)
Dallas +1412 (Stars opened at +4500)
Edmonton +1436 (Oilers opened at +1800)
Tampa Bay +1437 (Lightning opened at +900)
Minnesota +1883 Wild opened at +1800)
Los Angeles +2025 (Kings opened at +4500)
Seattle +2310 (Kraken opened at +10000)
Winnipeg +2581 Jets opened at +6000)
Pittsburgh +3301 Penguins opened at +2000)
Calgary +4239 Flames opened at +1800)
The best teams in the West will theoretically have an easier path to the Stanley Cup Final compared to the gauntlet Eastern Conference teams will need to traverse. If prospective futures bettors lean away from betting the Avalanche, this is where they could find some value in the West.
Vegas focused on depth at all positions; Dallas added offensive punch with Evgenii Dadonov and Max Domi; Edmonton got Mattias Ekholm in a move that helps them both short- and long-term; Minnesota’s big piece was blueliner John Klingberg from Anaheim; Winnipeg added a pair of proven forwards; Seattle was the least busy of the bunch only making one minor deal about a month prior to the deadline.
Florida +5390 (Panthers opened at +1000)
NY Islanders +5670 (Islanders opened at +3500)
Nashville +5840 (Predators opened at +5500)
Washington +7810 (Capitals opened at +3500)
Buffalo +7990 (Sabres opened at +5000)
Ottawa +10600 (Senators opened at +7500)
Detroit +15600 (Red Wings opened at +5000)
St. Louis +39100 (Blues opened at +2200)
These teams in the 50/1 to 400/1 range were mostly sellers ahead of the deadline and looking more towards the off-season and 2023-24 campaign even though making the playoffs this year is still realistic for a few of them. Based on the 2022 off-season, Florida is the most disappointing team in this group considering it had 10/1 Cup odds prior to the season.
Philadelphia +50000 (Flyers opened at +6000)
Anaheim +50000 (Ducks opened at +7500)
Arizona +50000 (Coyotes opened at +50000)
Chicago +50000 (Blackhawks opened at +10000)
Columbus +50000 (Blue Jackets opened at +10000)
Montreal +50000 (Canadiens opened at +15000)
San Jose +50000 (Sharks opened at +10000)
Vancouver +50000 (Canucks opened at +4500)
At this point, if you’re placing longshot futures on any teams in this bottom group, you are wasting both your time and money. Although no team is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet, these are the teams are not close to wild-card contention.
(Current odds via Sports Interaction as of Monday afternoon and subject to change; opening odds via Covers)