Stanley Cup Futures To Consider Right Now

Back These Teams At Larger Numbers While You Can

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Pittsburgh Penguins +2000

Pittsburgh is a team that is right in the thick of things right now, and even though they lost to the Kings last time out, it's been a fun ride as of late. After starting off the year a little bit slow, Pittsburgh had a 10-game winning streak snapped, and somehow is still only fourth in the Metropolitan Division. There is no question that they will have some tough contenders to deal with in the Eastern Conference, particularly the Lightning, Panthers, Maple Leafs, and Hurricanes, but the Penguins can compete with all of them. They are finally starting to get healthy again with Evgeni Malkin returning, and that spells trouble for the rest of the teams in the division.

This is a veteran team led by the ever spectacular Sidney Crosby, who might be getting up there in age, but can still play at a very high level in the NHL. Malkin has been his partner in Pittsburgh for a very long time, and now that he has returned, the dynamic duo will start the final stretch of their careers. You'd best believe they want at least one more championship before hanging them up, and the teams around them right now may be the best they will have for the rest of their careers. Kris Letang is still the leading D-man, once again being a great distributor and leading the team in assists with 28 of them. His play is often overlooked, but his defense and vision are critical to what drives an explosive Penguin offense. Jake Guentzel leads the team in points and goals, securing 35 and 18 respectively. He's a true star, and he'll lead the charge after Crosby and Malkin depart.

The Penguins have games in hand over the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, and they have put a 12-point gap between themselves and the next closest teams. They are here to stay and are just 5 points out of first place in the Metropolitan. 20/1 is a bargain for a team this good.

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Los Angeles Kings +10000

Okay, so maybe don't put down a ton of cash here because the Kings may very well just be a fluke. But what if they aren't? Jonathan Quick has turned back the clock, and looks like the goalie who had those crazy battles with the Blackhawks and Corey Crawford at the beginning of the last decade. They are getting steady play from their very balanced roster, and they don't seem to have any really obvious weakness. They still struggle to score at times, which seems to be a staple of their organization for some reason, but the defense and goaltending is stellar. They just defeated the team I mentioned above 6-2 in their last game out, and they have proved they can compete with some of the better teams in the NHL by also beating the Rangers in the game before.

At 100/1, I would at least put a little something down on the Kings. This number seems crazy for a team that might win their division. Los Angeles is 7-3 in their last 10 games, and the team is now just four points behind the Anaheim Ducks with two games in hand. That is pretty good positioning for a team at these odds, and when you look at the rest of the division, who can make an argument that they are better? With the Flames and Oilers starting to fall apart, that has opened the door for the Kings to grab the Pacific, and they have taken full advantage of that opportunity with all of their victories as of late.

It's a long shot certainly, but anything can happen when you get into the playoffs. A 100/1 shot is worth taking a chance on for a team that could be competing in the postseason.

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