Maple Leafs, Lightning tied atop Stanley Cup odds as camps approach

Greg Brady explains on The Starting Lineup why it might be beneficial for William Nylander not to sign for the longest term possible with the Maple Leafs.

With the opening of NHL training camps less than a month away the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to lead the way on the Stanley Cup odds, but are joined by the Tampa Bay Lightning as +750 co-favourites on those NHL futures at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto made the biggest splash of this summer’s free agent market, inking John Tavares to a seven-year, $77 million contract and bolstering an offensive attack that ranked second in the NHL last season at 3.38 goals per game. Tavares makes the move to Toronto after racking up 37 goals and 47 assists in his final campaign with the New York Islanders.

The Lightning have also kept busy since finishing the season with a league-leading 54 regular-season wins. The club opened the vault to ink superstar forward Nikita Kucherov and rearguard Ryan McDonagh to lengthy contract extensions, and have received a boost on the Stanley Cup odds, which lagged at +1000 back on July 1.

Tampa Bay’s first-place place finish in the Atlantic Division handed the club its first divisional title since 2004. However, the Lightning have been steady playoff performers, reaching the Eastern Conference final in three of the past four years, and cracking the 100-point mark in four of the past eight seasons.

Another Canadian club closely trails the favourites on odds to win the Stanley Cup, with the Winnipeg Jets at +950, followed by a trio of teams knotted at +1100 including the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Vegas Golden Knights, and the defending-champion Washington Capitals.

The Jets enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2017/18, compiling a franchise-record 114 points, and advancing to the Western Conference final for the first time in team history. And the loss of centre Paul Stastny to the Golden Knights through free agency this summer failed to dampen the club’s Stanley Cup odds, which have improved slightly from their position at +1000 back on July 1.

The Edmonton Oilers have also seen a jump in their NHL futures, climbing from +2500 to +2000. The Oilers enjoy a lift at the sportsbooks despite the recent loss of veteran defenceman Andrej Sekera to an Achilles tendon injury that will sideline him indefinitely.

The Calgary Flames continue to hold steady at +3300, well ahead of the Montreal Canadiens, who have tumbled from +5000 to +7500. The Ottawa Senators have also declined to +10000, while the Vancouver Canucks trail all Canadian squads at a distant +12500 on the odds.

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