New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins co-favorites as NHL readies for lockout-shortened season

nhl lockout ends pens rangers favesThe icy chains of the NHL lockout have finally melted and unshackled, ending a lockout that dragged on far longer than hockey fans like us would’ve liked. But now that the league and the union have finally come to an understanding, it’s that time of the year again: best to sharpen up those skates, warm up the Zamboni, and start prepping for what’s looking like a dramatic hockey season.

With the expected condensed schedule, odds to win the 2013 Stanley Cup are a lot different now than they were shortly after the Los Angeles Kings won the title last year. For one, the New York Rangers are now co-favorites together with the Pittsburgh Penguins to win Lord Stanley’s Cup, with both teams pegged at 8/1 odds. Coming in at 9/1 are the defending champion Kings, a little better odds than what they got (11/1) shortly after winning the Cup.

As expected, last year’s President’s Trophy winners, the Vancouver Canucks, are also one of the favorites, receiving 10/1 odds together with the Chicago Blackhawks. Slotted as dark horses and priced reasonably are the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins at 12/1, the Philadelphia Flyers at 15/1, the St. Louis Blues at 16/1, and the Buffalo Sabres at 20/1.

From here, it’s a case of picking which long shot you’d like to hitch your wagon on. The Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the San Jose Sharks have all been priced at 25/1 while the Anaheim Ducks, the Washington Capitals, the New Jersey Devils, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Minnesota Wild are all at 30/1 odds.

Sitting at 40/1 are eight teams (the Phoenix Coyotes, the Florida Panthers, the Ottawa Senators, the Dallas Stars, the Montreal Canadiens, the Edmonton Oilers, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Toronto Maple Leafs), some of whom are looking like intriguing long shots.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the 60/1 Winnipeg Jets, the 100/1 Calgary Flames, and the 300/1 Columbus Blue Jackets.

You’re better off holding on to your dough rather than spend on any of these three teams somehow defying the odds. With a condensed schedule and unpredictability running rampant, these three teams are the least likely to shock anyone by making a run at the play-offs, let alone winning the Stanley Cup.