The Vegas Golden Knights enter the 2019-2020 NHL season as favorites to win the Western Conference and return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in their brief history. Are they a shoo-in to capture the Campbell Trophy, or is another Western Conference team capable of pulling off an upset?
Let’s examine the odds and see where the value lies.
|Team||NHL Western Conference Winner Odds|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+350|
|St. Louis Blues||+700|
|San Jose Sharks||+1300|
|Los Angeles Kings||+5000|
Vegas Golden Knights (+350)
The Golden Knights have been built for success since their first season in 2017-2018. They won the Campbell Trophy in that first season, and they’ll be eager to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2020. Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch form the core of their balanced attack. Their scoring can come from anywhere, and they have a healthy group of veterans and youngsters who can provide speed and defend well.
But even with that star power, they will ultimately only go as far as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury takes them. You’d better believe he’s determined to add his name to the Stanley Cup for a fourth time.
Good Thursday morning.
This Marc-Andre Fleury save still happened.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 17, 2018
Colorado Avalanche (+450)
The Colorado Avalanche have been trying to get a foot in the door, have been slowly creeping up the standings and have a roster that will be ready to contend this year. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog combined for more than 100 goals and 260 points last season, and that core will be expected to improve.
Just a run of the mill practice sequence with Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Andre Burakovsky, Samuel Girard and Cale Makar together that ends with a Landeskog goal. #Avs pic.twitter.com/Fu4GTcpejI
— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) September 15, 2019
Philipp Grubauer became the starter in goal late in the season, and he will expected to be the man that keeps the puck out of the net every night. If he can do that like he did late last season, the Avs have the scoring to get hot and make a run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
St. Louis Blues (+700)
The defending champions are back to prove last year’s title run was no fluke. Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn will help lead the Blues, while Jordan Binnington will be the man between the posts as the permanent starter.
Take a bow, Jordan Binnington. pic.twitter.com/RnS41k4Kzk
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) June 13, 2019
Keeping essentially the same roster means they’re going to try and ride the “Gloria” magic that propelled them last year to lift the Stanley Cup.
Nashville Predators (+1000)
The Nashville Predators have been an annual contender for the Stanley Cup, but since they traded P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils, some are starting to doubt whether they can get back to the Finals. They will be looking for increased production from Ryan Johansen, and Filip Forsberg is poised to take the leap to the next level with his game.
Ryan Johansen with filthy back-to-back shootout winners against the Wild that leave the goalie complaining pic.twitter.com/RW076EDbtx
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) March 6, 2019
Pekka Rinne is still the starting goaltender, and there will be increased pressure on defensemen like Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi to take out the trash in front of the net and use that to create scoring chances. Nashville has built a culture of success, so don’t count it.