This is always a tricky situation; trying to determine which teams made the best and worst offseason decisions, and trying to determine which teams present the best value to the savvy gambler. Futures bets can present tremendous value to a person, as you often receive huge odds. I usually recommend mining the teams for value, and selecting 3-4 possible teams to win the Cup. The money is made trying to select teams that may win the Cup that aren’t getting much respect from Las Vegas. Let me present the four teams that I think present the best value:
Vancouver Canucks (18/1) – sure the Canucks are a team in transition. Sure there are lots of new pieces to the puzzle. However, the veterans took it upon themselves to get into much better shape in the offseason. They now have arguably the best goalie in the league. They have a solid defense, featuring Ohlund, Mitchell and Salo. I expect Naslund to have a big year, and I expect even more production from the twins. With a big pickup at the deadline, this may be the year that the Canucks make a run. They present good value at 18/1.
Nashville Predators (18/1) – again, it’s all about goaltending. With a brand new spanking contract, Vokoun should be one of the stand-out goaltenders again this year in the NHL. The Predators have a very solid team; a team that could do some damage in the playoffs. At 18/1, there are another team with good value.
Minnesota Wild (38/1) – did I say the Wild? The Wild make a bunch of acquisitions in the offseason, and have one of the best players in the NHL (Gaborik.) If they get some solid goaltender, they could go far, especially with their rabid fans.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks (10/1) – Any team that has both Pronger and Niedermeyer on defense HAS to be one of the favorites to win the Cup. At 10/1, you can’t go wrong picking the Ducks as one of your four teams.