Hockey is back, as the 2020-21 NHL season is set to kick off on Wednesday. The slightly shortened season will feature new-look divisions, but the same powerhouses in the league are currently near the top of the betting odds to win the Stanley Cup.
No New York team is close to that, but there is a somewhat surprising development from the latest Stanley Cup odds that might have some fans scratching their heads, while others will be excited.
The Rangers’ odds to win the Cup are set at +2400, according to Bovada, while the Islanders are at +3000.
Why is this a little shocking? Well, the Islanders did make it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season in the bubble, and the second round the year before that. The Rangers, on the other hand, made it to the qualifying round last season but lost. Before that, they hadn’t made the playoffs since the 2016-17 season.
But, of course, this is a new season and oddsmakers believe the Rangers are primed to break that playoff drought.
A solid young squad, the Rangers are led on the points front by Artemi Panarin, but they also have the first overall pick, Alexis Lafreniere, featured on their opening night roster. Mika Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko, Pavel Buchnevich and others at the forward and wing positions give the Blueshirts tremendous outlook for the season. Tony DeAngelo and Jacob Trouba lead the way on the back end.
It will also be interesting to watch the goaltender situation for head coach David Quinn, as Alexandar Georgiev and highly-touted prospect Igor Shesterkin are both on the roster.
But again, the Islanders – led by head coach Barry Trotz – also have a young core that is budding with potential and it’s already been displayed after last season’s run in the Eastern Conference. The Tampa Bay Lightning were too much, but the Isles took down the No. 1-seeded Philadelphia Flyers.
Mathew Barzal, a main reason for the run, also has his contract situation figured out — a three-year extension that will keep his mind solely on hockey for the near future instead of worrying about the financials. His line, with Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle, is always fun to watch. But second-liners like Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey are just as active when it comes to tallying goals.
A long season awaits both of these squads and the odds are bound to change throughout. But as of now, the Rangers have the slight edge in New York.
As for the Devils, the final team in the area, they are at the bottom of the heap with the second-to-worst odds of +7500 to take the Cup back to New Jersey. While they have good pieces around the organization, their rebuild is still in the works.