The dust has almost settled on the NHL's free agency bonanza with plenty of big names switching teams. Despite the wheeling and dealing, there are still a few unrestricted free agents on the market that could provide a nice little boost to any team.
With a bevy of rosters reshuffled and players (and fans) itching for the new season to start, we thought we'd take a look at three live long shot contenders to win the Stanley Cup in 2014.
Feel like taking a chance on a long shot? How about one of these three:
Into The Wild
Minnesota Wild (+1800)
The Wild made their free-agent splash a year ago when they signed a pair of faces for the franchise: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. They found themselves in the playoffs and, certainly, moving in the right direction. Next season is big for the Wild. Star-in-waiting Jonas Brodin will look to improve on a fantastic rookie campaign. They'll get a full season out of trade deadline acquisition Jason Pominville. They've brought in agitator Matt Cooke and took a gamble by acquiring Nino Niederreiter from the New York Islanders. The defense and goaltending is sound, but they need herculean efforts from a young crop of forwards to put pucks in the net. If youngsters like Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund can reach their potential and help out guys like Parise, Pominville and Dany Heatley, the Wild could make some noise in the Central Division.
Sens and Sensibility
Ottawa Senators (+2000)
The youngest team in the NHL - 26.753 is the rosters' average age - constantly triumphed in the face of adversity last season. Their best forward, Jason Spezza, played just five regular season games all year. Their best player, Erik Karlsson, had his Achilles sliced by Matt Cooke and logged just 17 regular season games. Craig Anderson missed more than a month with an injury and was arguably the best goalie in the league prior to being shelved. All these issues and the Sens still made the postseason and even won a series. They were a defensive powerhouse all season and their one problem was scoring goals. They've addressed that need by adding the highly-skilled Bobby Ryan to the forward lineup. A healthy season and the Sens could be poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Ride The Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning (+2200)
As long as sniper-extraordinaire Steven Stamkos is in a Lightning sweater, then Tampa is a live long shot. The Lightning were wildly inconsistent and finished their dismal 2012-13 season near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They can score with anyone, but they also allow goals by the boatload. Hopefully, a full season with youngster Ben Bishop in net will cure what ails them. With drafting Jonathan Drouin third overall and signing Valtteri Filppula to a five-year contract, the offense looks absolutely loaded, but they have yet to bolster a blueline that looked atrocious at times. If you like teams that look to outscore opponents 5-4 or even 6-5, then this is your team.
Here is a look at the updated outright odds courtesy of Bet365: