If you're looking forward to next season already, the oddsmakers at Bovada offered their first glimpse at next year's Stanley Cup contenders. It's far too early to have a really good handle on things as teams' rosters will change over the next few weeks thanks to free agency, trades and the NHL Draft, but it's always fun to get a glimpse into the crystal ball.
The Chicago Blackhawks, Stanley Cup champions in 2010 and 2013, are favored to claim a third Stanley Cup in six years in 2015 at 15/2 odds. Perhaps the Blackhawks and Kings will pass the Stanley Cup back and forth a few times before the rest of the teams get a good crack at it.
As early as it is, here is a quick look at the top 10 via Bovada:
1. Chicago Blackhawks: 15/2
2. Boston Bruins: 8/1
3. Pittsburgh Penguins: 9/1
4. Los Angeles Kings: 10/1
5. St. Louis Blues: 10/1
6. Anaheim Ducks: 14/1
7. San Jose Sharks: 14/1
8. Colorado Avalanche: 18/1
9. Minnesota Wild: 18/1
10. New York Rangers: 18/1
According to Bovada, the Buffalo Sabres have the worst odds of winning the Stanley Cup at 75/1. Joining them near the bottom are the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders, all set at 66/1.
The Kings probably would have better odds if repeats hadn't been non-existent in the salary cap era. No team has gone back-to-back since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. Still seems like they have a decent enough shot to be next with so many players still under contract for next season and beyond.
Seven of the top 10 teams, per Bovada, are Western Conference clubs, though two of the top three are from the East. It's an interesting dynamic in the league, but the West certainly appears to be best even at this early stage.
I'm sure it will be fun to revisit these early odds at the end of next season, but we've got a long wait ahead of us before we can do that.