The Pittsburgh Penguins have won the Stanley Cup two years in a row, so it is no surprise they have the best odds to win the Stanley Cup once again this season
Since no team has won the Stanley Cup in three consecutive years since the New York Islanders in the 1980s, there will be a lot of interest in the Penguins this season; hockey fans will want to see if Pittsburgh can achieve a feat that hasn’t been pulled off in over 30 years.
The road to a third consecutive Stanley Cup win for the Penguins isn’t going to be an easy one. Other teams in the league spent the offseason adding pieces to help their teams compete with the high-scoring Pittsburgh offense, hoping they have enough to knock off the two-time defending champions.
Teams like the Nashville Predators, who almost won the Stanley Cup last season, and other rivals like the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, and New York Rangers are hoping they can finally unseat the champions thanks to their offseason acquisitions.
In addition to the contenders that are hoping they have done enough to close the gap, Pittsburgh also knows that every team in the league will be gunning for them once again.
Since the Pens are champions, other teams will try to measure themselves by how well they play against Pittsburgh, which means Pittsburgh will be getting its opponents’ best effort every game. The fact that the Penguins have won two Stanley Cups in a row means the target on their backs is even bigger than it was last year.
If the Penguins had been able to retain all their players from last year, I would say they don’t have much to worry about because of the experience they gained winning two championships.
However, the Penguins lost a few key players that were instrumental to their success, so it will be interesting to see how they perform this year.
Players like goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who played a key role in their two championships, will be sorely missed. The team left Fleury unprotected and he was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, bringing his time in Pittsburgh to an end.
While Fleury is on the tail end of his career, he played well in goal last season and likely would have produced at the same level this year.
The Penguins already have the younger Matt Murry as a replacement for Fleury, but Fleury was a great insurance policy for a guy who has yet to face a full-season workload. The Penguins also lost Trevor Daley, Ron Hainsey, Nick Bonino, and Chris Kunitz in the offseason.
Some fans are surprised the Penguins, despite losing those players, weren’t very active in free agency, adding only Antti Niemi, Matt Hunwick, and Ryan Reaves. However, when you are on top too many big changes could be a bad thing.
This team still has the core in place to be the Stanley Cup favorites.The Edmonton Oilers have the second best odds to win the Stanley Cup at 9/1. Followed by the Chicago Blackhawks at 12/1, Dallas Stars at 12/1, while the Ducks, Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Toronto Maple Leafs come in at 14/1 payout.