Puck drop for the 2019-20 NHL season is officially one week away. Final rosters are close to being made, and we have seen some big names such as Mitch Marner (Leafs), Brayden Point (Lightning), and Matthew Tkachuk (Flames) re-sign with their clubs. With the excitement of hockey on the horizon, there is no better way than to finish this NHL Futures series off with a value pick for the 2020 Stanley Cup Champion bet.
2019-20 Stanley Cup Odds Preview
Unsurprisingly, the Tampa Bay Lightning are the betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup, at +700 odds. The Lightning are absolutely loaded with talent once again this year and young star Brayden Point just re-signed. Coming off a first-round playoff exit, the Lightning will have a chip on their shoulder this season. The Toronto Maple Leafs (+950), Vegas Golden Knights (+1000), Boston Bruins (+1300), and defending champions St. Louis Blues (+1500) are the next four favorites.
The St. Louis Blues were a remarkable feel-good story in the NHL last season. They were the last-place team in the entire league back in January, and if you placed a futures bet on them to win the Stanley Cup, you would have had them at 300/1 odds! Anything can happen once a team makes the playoffs. It is not necessarily the best team on paper that will get the job done. Playoffs are a different animal, and the 2018-19 Blues were a prime example of this.
Best Bet: Dallas Stars (+1800 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Dallas Stars are my value pick to win the 2019-20 Stanley Cup. Getting these odds is a super nice value as this Stars team is built to win now. Management has proven this by signing elite goal-scorer Joel Pavelski in the offseason. He is a 13-year NHL veteran who has 10 seasons of 20-plus goals, including a 38 goal-season with the Sharks last year. This will help solve some of the Stars’ goal-scoring issues. Finishing 28th in total goals in 2018-19, the additions of both Pavelski and Corey Perry should help their offense out tremendously.
Pavelski joins an elite top-three scoring threat in Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, and Jamie Benn. These three players combined for 89 of the Stars’ 209 goals last year. Adding a 30-goal scorer in Pavelski and a proven scorer Corey Perry should take the team to a new level. Rookie Roope Hintz proved he can score when it matters, tying Radulov with five playoff goals last year.
Captain Jamie Benn had a bit of a down year in 2018-19, but he is the type of player anyone would want leading them. He is a fierce competitor and almost led the Stars past the defending champion St. Louis Blues in the second round last year. The Stars fell short, losing to the Blues in a double-overtime Game 7 thriller. This experience can only help the team this year, as they know how close they really were to a Western Conference Finals berth.
The Stars are also rock solid on the defensive end. John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, and Esa Lindell form a trio on defense that is tough to match. They are very fast and skilled with the puck and now carry that valuable playoff experience from last year. Goaltender Ben Bishop is a Vezina Trophy candidate, as his 1.98 GAA and .934 Sv% last year were among the best in the NHL. A strong goaltender and solid defensive core is the reason the Stars allowed the second-fewest amount of goals last year. With additional talent added on offense, things are shaping up nicely.
The “Stars” are aligning this year for Dallas, and I expect them to make a strong run at the Cup this season.