Despite the season beginning at the start of October, Pittsburgh have moved into outright favouritism for the 2017/18 Stanley Cup, which would be their third in succession.
The Penguins triumphed over San Jose in 2016 and Nashville in last year’s edition, and are slated to go back-to-back-to-back with the Mike Sullivan-led side as the favourites. Sports wagering providers are backing up this position as shown by NHL odds on CrownBet.
With Sidney Crosby continuing to fire and lead the way for the Penguins, there’s no reason they can’t become the first team since the 1980-1983 New York Islanders to win three Cups in a row.
Hot on their tail, however, is the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have been enlisted as the second favourites with the betting agency.
The Lightning didn’t qualify for last season’s playoffs, but with a number of additions during the off-season, Jon Cooper and his side are looking at their second ever Stanley Cup.
Canada’s greatest hope comes from one of the nation’s biggest cities, with the Toronto Maple Leafs set for an assault on the NHL’s biggest prize.
Toronto are currently listed close behind Tampa Bay, but are joined close behind by another Canadian side with the Edmonton Oilers currently equal-fourth favourites.
The Oilers will be looking to build on their second-round loss to Anaheim in last year’s Playoffs, although they haven’t necessarily started off season 2017-18 in the right form.
Edmonton won just three of their opening 10 games this season, although most are expecting the Western Conference outfit to bounce back, and bounce back fast.
Their opponents in last year’s second round, Anaheim, are currently one of the other favourites for the trophy, sitting in close behind but still inside the top five.
St. Louis join Anaheim as one of the teams in the chasing pack, as the Blues also fell in last season’s second round of the playoffs to eventual Stanley Cup runners up, Nashville.
Last season’s Stanley Cup runners-up, Nashville, are one of two sides along with the Ducks and Blues in that next group of sides, with the Dallas Stars also joining them.
The numbers match up with the favourites for both conferences, as Pittsburgh are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, while Edmonton are favourites to be the Western Conference representative at the end of the season.