Who's got next? Best bets to win the 2011 Stanley Cup

Before Chris Pronger even had a chance to pluck the Stanley Cup-winning puck from his own net Wednesday night, oddsmakers were already putting together odds on who will be next year's NHL champion.

Here's a look at the five favorites to win the 2010-11 Stanley Cup as well as one potential sleeper.

Chicago Blackhawks (+450)

If it were even 10 years ago, the young and talented Blackhawks might be on the verge of becoming a dynasty. But the salary cap era of the NHL will make it difficult for Chicago GM Stan Bowman to keep the defending champions together for a shot at a repeat.

Captain Jonathan Toews and overtime hero Patrick Kane are both in line to make about seven times more money next year than they did this past season. Goalie Antti Niemi and defenseman Duncan Keith are also due for hefty raises. Depth players like Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg and John Madden might need to be dumped in order to keep Chicago under the cap.

One other thing going against the Blackhawks is that no team has won two Cups in a row since the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

Washington Capitals (+600)

Washington has proven that it is an excellent regular-season team, racking up 108 points two years ago and a league-high 121 this past season. But the Capitals need to figure out how to translate that success into the playoffs, where they have been a colossal disappointment.

That may mean dealing some of their offensive talent (they have tons) in exchange for some defensive help. Stars Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green are all under contract for next year.

The Caps' biggest potential weakness remains in goal as veteran Jose Theodore is an unrestricted free agent, meaning 22-year-olds Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth could be Washington's main men between the pipes.

Pittsburgh Penguins (+600)

Reaching the Stanley Cup final two seasons in a row (and winning it in 2009) may have caught up with the Penguins this year as they bowed out of the playoffs in the second round. It could be a drastically different-looking group of Pens next year as the team has eight unrestricted free agents this summer.

The good news is that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury remain under contract, and that's a hell of a nucleus to build around. Rumor has it that Malkin might be shipped out of town in order to trim the payroll and improve the supporting cast.

Detroit Red Wings (+800)

When aren't the Red Wings listed among the favorites for the Cup? Detroit had a down year this past season but its experience and talent makes it a strong candidate for a good rebound campaign in 2010-11.

Captain Nicklas Lidstrom will be back for at least one more year, taking enough of a pay cut to help the Wings resign key forwards like Tomas Holmstrom and potentially Todd Bertuzzi. Detroit showed it still has plenty left in the tank after finishing last season with a 16-3-2 run to make the playoffs.

San Jose Sharks (+900)

If nothing else, they're due. San Jose has racked up 104 points or more in five of the last six seasons but only has a pair of conference final appearances to show for it. The Sharks are optimistic that they can build on this season's postseason run, making the Wes

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

            share   SHARE   rss   RSS FEED   email   EMAIL   print   PRINT
Hide All Responses
avatar

Posted by Skubishack
4 years ago

What's the price on the Caps winning a series...? Ha,ha,ha. I might concede one series to them but NO WAY they make the finals, let alone win the Cup. My West long shot is LA and in the East I still like my Flyers but they will need to be healthy for the playoffs. Carolina is an extremely great offer in my opinion. If they stay healthy they should make the playoffs easily... just have to make it there and anything can happen. Top 8 in the East (in no set order) should be PIT, WAS, PHI, CAR, BOS, BUF, OTT, NJ Top 8 in the West (in no set order) should be LAK, SJS, CHI, NAS, VAN, COL, DET, STL
avatar

Posted by the glass man
4 years ago

the up and coming....NEW YORK ISLANDERS!!!!!!
avatar

Posted by mrbigstuff2466
4 years ago

Chicago once again. Hopefully, we get a Chicago Washington final. I was hoping for that one this year.
avatar

Posted by mcallister
4 years ago

LA Kings in thew West, Ottawa in the East are good value
avatar

Posted by StevenGA1011
4 years ago

Ha Ha I knew the Caps would be all nestled up there close to the top LOL -- CHAAAAAHOKE!!!!!
avatar

Posted by FenderPlayer
4 years ago

Canucks next year !!!
avatar

Posted by gambino412
4 years ago

PENS , watch out for the Preds out of the west
avatar

Posted by TommyToronto
4 years ago

GO LEAFS GO...
avatar

Posted by nc1capper
4 years ago

big time youth movement underway for the canes ,,that is a tasty number tho no doubt
avatar

Posted by tmurda666
4 years ago

devils
         1      
You are currently not logged in.
Login | Signup | Help
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Top Response

Posted by FenderPlayer
4 years ago

"Canucks next year !!!"