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There are a few surprises in early NHL futures action

Jon Campbell
It didn't take long for NHL bettors to pick their darling underdog to win the Stanley Cup this season. And that dog's name is Edmonton.

I spoke to five different sportsbooks this week - online, offshore and Las Vegas - and the Oilers were the one common denominator among them all when it came to teams seeing the most futures action so far.

"Edmonton was 35-1, then 25-1, now 22-1," says Aron Black, trades manager at "They are a very young team, but they have some really good young talent. They had good performances both in the AHL and at the juniors from some of their players."

A lines manager at Sports Interaction said Edmonton is the favorite futures bet from their players "by a wide margin". They have the Oilers bet down to 18-1 as a result.

The short schedule was the reason a few bookmakers cited for the Oilers drawing so much attention in spite of the fact they finished second-last in the league last year. They were the 15th youngest team in the NHL last season, but their brightest stars - Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and 2012's No. 1 draft pick, Nail Yakupov - are 22 years old or younger.

The Minnesota Wild is another popular play at several books, including the Las Vegas Hotel where they're set at 30-1. The Wild made the biggest splash in free agency this offseason by signing sniper Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million deals. LVH oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said the Carolina Hurricanes are another popular long shot among their bettors at 30-1.

The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins are set as the favorites at just about every book, with 8-1 on both teams being the best I've seen at the LVH.

Vancouver (10-1), Boston (10-1) and Chicago (12-1) were among the other teams that sportsbooks said are taking the most early futures action.

Note: I will be talking more NHL futures and odds on TSN Radio's Inside The Lines Sunday morning at 11 a.m. ET. Tune in online here.

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