It's the beginning of a new week and you know what that means: futures update!
We're looking at Stanley Cup odds today, identifying the teams we should be buying and selling based on what we've seen thus far. Let's dive right in.
|TEAM||ODDS (Nov. 29)||ODDS (Nov. 1)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+850||+800|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+900||+1000|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1100||+900|
|New York Islanders||+2200||+1800|
|St. Louis Blues||+2400||+2800|
|New York Rangers||+2500||+3000|
|Los Angeles Kings||+6000||+10000|
|New Jersey Devils||+6000||+5000|
|San Jose Sharks||+7000||+6000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+10000||+20000|
|Detroit Red Wings||+10000||+11500|
Toronto Maple Leafs (+1100)
I know, I know, the Maple Leafs need to get out of the first round before we start talking about the Stanley Cup. Nobody is buying into them until they prove it ... but that might be part of the reason we have an edge here.
The Maple Leafs rank second in the NHL with a 55.20% share of the expected goals at five-on-five. They lead the league in high-danger chances (252) by a landslide, sitting 35 clear of the closest team. Their power play is really clicking, and Jack Campbell has played at an elite level.
Toronto looks strong across the board, and that's with Auston Matthews finishing at about half the rate he has for his career. There's reason to believe he can produce a lot more, which is a scary thought when talking about a club with 14 wins in 16 games.
Really, this team's only red flag is its history. If, say, Vegas dominated at five-on-five to this extent, led the league in Grade A chances by a country mile, and had a starter with a .946 save percentage, the Golden Knights would be talked about as a force.
Toronto's reputation seems to have led the market to undervalue this year's edition of the Maple Leafs - which really looks like the best yet.
Minnesota Wild (+1400)
Speaking of undervalued, meet the Minnesota Wild. Only three teams have more wins to date. Only three teams have controlled a larger share of the expected goals at five-on-five. The Wild rank second in goals scored during that game state, and only the Bruins, Lightning, and Kraken have done a better job of suppressing expected goals. Put another way, Minnesota is lethal with the puck and suffocating without it.
Although the Wild have piled up the the wins and own a strong underlying profile, they're deemed ninth-most likely to win the Stanley Cup. I think that's too low, especially considering they're likely to go all-in on this year's team given the cap penalties that kick in next year from buying out Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.
New York Islanders (+2200)
The Islanders currently sit 15th ... in the Eastern Conference. They've won five of their 17 games. The offense looks lifeless, they're dealing with injuries to key players such as Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock, and COVID-19 is absolutely tearing through the roster.
Sure, they have a ton of home games coming up. But this team will be hard-pressed to crawl out of its early-season hole and make the playoffs, let alone make noise once it gets there.
I doubt the Islanders will fold like a tent and go quietly. But more than 20% through the season, a team 30th in points is priced as the 10th-most likely side to win the Stanley Cup. This Islanders team might finally be getting too much respect.
New York Rangers (+2500)
The Sabres, Senators, Flyers, Coyotes, and Blackhawks are the only teams controlling a lesser share of the expected goals than the Rangers at five-on-five.
While they have looked a little more potent of late, I simply can't buy a team routinely getting outplayed at full strength when the vast majority of every contest is played in that game state. And the refs tend to put the whistles away in the postseason, placing an even larger premium on success at five-on-five.
Igor Shesterkin, Artemi Panarin, and Adam Fox are all among the truly elite at their positions. However, there just isn't enough competent depth around them to make me a believer come playoff time.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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