The Pittsburgh Penguins had barely enough time to lift the Stanley Cup before odds for 2018 were posted. The Pens broke a 19-year-old curse. No team had repeated as Stanley Cup favorites since 1997 and 1998. For their effort, Pitt has been installed as the 8/1 chalk to secure the three-peat.
Keep reading for my picks to win the 2018 Stanley Cup.
2018 Stanley Cup Picks
The Favorite Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins 8/1
The Pens beat Nashville 4 to 2 in the 2017 Stanley Cup. It was a dynamite performance by Pittsburgh who went through the tough Washington Capitals on their way to back-to-back Cup wins.
But, if Pitt thought winning back-to-back Cups was tough, wait until they try for a three-peat. The last team to win 3 in a row were the New York Islanders. The Islanders won 4 in a row in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983. For Pittsburgh to win 3 in a row, we’d have to call them a dynasty. I’m not ready to do that. I think 2 in a row is all they get.
The Smart Pick: Edmonton Oilers 10/1
I believe things could set up nicely for Edmonton next season. With a 47-26-4-5 record, the Oilers finished second in the Pacific to Anaheim. After beating San Jose, the defending Western Conference Champions, in 6 games in the playoffs, Edmonton pushed the Anaheim Ducks to 7 games. Edmonton ranked in the Top 10 in goals scored, shots, and power play percentage. On defense, they ranked in the Top 10 in goals against, shots against, and shutouts.
Goalie Cam Talbot had 42 wins and 7 shutouts during the season. I think Edmonton could make moves in a rather pedestrian Pacific Division in 2018.
The Longshot Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets 20/1
The Columbus Blue Jackets seemingly came out of nowhere this season. The Blue Jackets ended the season with a 50-24-6-2 record. They finished third in the Metropolitan Division behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. The Blue Jackets won as many games on the season, 50, as the Pens did.
Pitt beat Columbus in 5 games during the NHL Playoffs. During the regular season, the Blue Jackets went 2 and 2 against Pittsburgh. They can build on that. They can also build on their excellent defense, which yielded 2.4 goals per match.
Columbus averages 3.0 goals per match. Don’t sleep on the Blue Jackets to be the team that comes up big in 2018.
Other 2018 Stanely Cup Odds
The Predators are 14-1 to win next year’s title, along with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars. The Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings are next at 20-1, heading into what could be an intriguing offseason, especially in Washington, D.C.
The expansion Vegas Golden Knights, at 200-1, are the biggest longshots to win next year’s Stanley Cup.