Maple Leafs exit trade deadline among Stanley Cup favourites

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) celebrates his power play goal against the Ottawa Senators with teammate Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (16) during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/CP)

A flurry of deals in the hours leading up to the NHL trade deadline on Monday afternoon have bolstered the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ position among the favourites on the Stanley Cup odds, where they now sit as a strong +750 wager at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Maple Leafs made their biggest moves on Sunday, landing veteran forward Nick Foligno in a three-way deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the San Jose Sharks, and later adding veteran goaltender David Rittich in a trade with the Calgary Flames.

The moves provide the Maple Leafs with some much needed depth as the playoffs approach. Toronto entered the day riding a six-game win streak and enjoying a comfortable six-point lead atop the North Division standings.

However, injuries remain a concern, particularly in net, with Frederik Andersen still on the sidelines and Jack Campbell getting the bulk of the starts.

Lagging second to Toronto among Canadian NHL clubs on the Stanley Cup odds at +2000 at sports betting sites, the Edmonton Oilers pulled the trigger on just one deadline deal, picking up veteran defenceman Dmitry Kulikov from New Jersey for a fourth-round pick.

With the Edmonton offence struggling to produce when Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl don’t score, there had been speculation as to whether the Oilers would pursue former star Taylor Hall before the deadline.

The Oilers suffered their worst defeat of the season on Saturday, a 5-0 loss in Calgary, and have averaged just two goals per game over their past six outings. But with Hall in control of where he would be dealt, the Buffalo Sabres shipped the former Hart Trophy winner to the Boston Bruins in a deadline deal.

The Montreal Canadiens remained buyers despite losing four of their past five games. Montreal got a head start on the deadline by acquiring veteran Eric Staal earlier this month, and added blue line depth by picking up Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill ahead of the deadline.

Those moves, and a comfortable hold on fourth place in the divisional standings, have helped keep the Canadiens at +2200 on the NHL futures.

The Winnipeg Jets stayed relatively quiet at the deadline, and remain steady as a +2600 Stanley Cup wager. The Flames’ housecleaning has left them deadlocked with the Vancouver Canucks at +15000 on those NHL odds, and the Ottawa Senators remain +150000 longshots.

The Colorado Avalanche have risen to the top of the NHL standings during an 8-1-1 run, and lead the way as the current +450 Stanley Cup favourites.

After acquiring defenceman David Savard this weekend the Tampa Bay Lightning are now set as the +650 second favourites, while the Vegas Golden Knights round out the front of the futures pack as a +800 wager.

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