With the start of the 2014/2015 NHL season very imminent, fantasy pools are starting up and everyone is getting ready to watch the most brutal game on ice once again. Just think: it's been almost four months since the L.A. Kings defeated the New York Rangers in five games to win the Stanley Cup.
Among the many games occurring Wednesday, October 8th, the first is a game which will reignite the most historic rivalry in the NHL, between the constantly competitive Montreal Canadiens and the team with the most loyal fans, in spite of terrible teams year after year; the Toronto Maple Leafs (No offense to Torontonians, I'm a Leafs fan, but be realistic, the franchise laughs at us).
Along with the start of any sports season, there will be a tsunami of fans, analysts and street preachers howling about how "THIS IS OUR YEAR!" and how "TEAM X FINALLY HAS ALL THE OFFENSIVE WEAPONS THEY NEED TO HOIST THE CUP!" In reality though, most of these people are just enthusiasts who watch a few games per month and just want to spread their optimism.
The people one should listen to are the oddsmakers. They make these predictions for a living, and while they make mistakes as well, they've crunched more numbers than any fan in his or her basement or any analyst on TV or radio. To start off your NHL watching season with some solid information; here are the top 10 NHL teams most likely to win the Stanley Cup during the 2014-2015 season.
While any website can publish their own numbers, these are taken from vegasinsider.com. Remember, just because your team may make this list, we here at Thesportster.com do not advise anyone to bet their spouse, family, car or house on any of these teams.
10 Montreal Canadiens - 18/1
Remember how Canadians invented the game with a couple of downed tree branches on a frozen pond? Neither do I, as money talks and all the best talent seems to be in the United States right now. As such, (spoiler alert) the Habs are the only Canadian team on this list. The team that has won the most Stanley Cups in the history of the league have a lot going for them this year.
9 Tampa Bay Lightning - 15/1
At number nine on this list stand the Tampa Bay Lightning. These guys have the best of both worlds; they get to play hockey for a living and they don't have to live in the frozen tundra that is Canada.
8 San Jose Sharks - 14/1
The Sharks enter the 2014-2015 season with one of the most explosive offenses in the NHL. While many of them are up there in years, the team has a scary amount of mature talent from which to choose among their forwards.
7 T6. St. Louis Blues - 12/1
The Blues were very close to winning the Central Division last year but came up just a point shy of the Colorado Avalanche. Many were disappointed by their first round exit from the playoffs but beating the Chicago Blackhawks is no simple task.
6 T6. Minnesota Wild - 12/1
The Minnesota Wild pulled off something very unexpected during the playoffs a few months ago, beating the Colorado Avalanche in the first round. Unfortunately, they were unable to get past the Blackhawks in the next round.
5 T4. Pittsburgh Penguins - 10/1
This list can't be written without mentioning the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will yet again be leading one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. Their defense is not too shabby either.
4 T4. Anaheim Ducks: 10/1
While they may no longer be mighty, the Ducks still have a great looking team that is poised to do big things this year. The Ducks have great balance on their roster, with defensemen and forwards who can all be goal scoring threats. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will likely lead the scoring once again.
3 Boston Bruins: 8/1
2 Los Angeles Kings - 15/2
They may have won two of the last three Stanley Cups but few oddsmakers are calling for the Kings as their number one this season. There is good reason for their being named number two by the vast majority. They have maintained a very strong offense during the offseason, but many still question whether they are as strong as the number one team on this list.
1 Chicago Blackhawks - 6/1
While some may disagree with the placement of these top three teams, the Blackhawks definitely belong among them. They won the only cup not won by the Kings in the past three seasons and there are plenty who consider them to be the likely winners this year.
Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa and Brad Richards. That is a mean group of players and a winning group at that. This is shaping up for a phenomenal year for the Blackhawks, who are another consistent threat in the NHL.
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