2018 could mark an unwanted milestone for hockey fans – 25 years since any Canadian NHL team won the Stanley Cup. Montreal’s victory in 1993 goes all the way back to a time when Donald Trump was most noted for a cameo in the Home Alone movies, or when Justin Trudeau was still in college. Too long for most fans.
There is still a chance this could change in 2018, with a number of Canadian teams still in the hunt for a Playoff spot. In light of that, let’s take a look at those contenders, their odds and chances of success.
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Stanley Cup Odds: 16/1 (William Hill)
Central Division Odds: 5/2
Scoring the second highest number of goals in NHL has kept them on top of the Central Division. Goals are widely shared throughout the team, with Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers both ranked inside the top 10 in NHL. Blake Wheeler has also chipped in with a very healthy 38 assists. Crucially, Winnipeg also seem to be coming into a bit of form after winning the last three games (at the time of writing this piece). Some questions around defense, but an excellent record at the MTS Centre will have few Playoff teams wanting to go there.
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Stanley Cup Odds: 12/1
Atlantic Division Odds: 13/2
It looks fairly certain that Toronto will get a spot in the Playoffs, at the very least through the Wild Card. Like Winnipeg, they have no problem scoring but may lack something in defense. Auston Matthews, as with last year, has been the star of the franchise with 19 goals in 35 games. Calls have been made to trade the 20-year-old in order to bring in a top defenseman, but Matthews is the kind of player that Toronto could really build around. Tighten up the defense, keep Matthews firing and a deep run into the Playoffs could be on the cards.
Stanley Cup Odds: 33/1
Pacific Division Odds: 10/1
At the moment, Calgary are looking like a team on a mission to make the Playoffs. As this is being written, they are on a five-game winning streak and have sneaked into third spot in the Pacific Division. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have been excellent, but a marginal goal difference will worry coach Glen Gulutzan. There is a very good chance they will get to the Playoffs and fans should take heart from the recent 5-1 thrashing of the team with the best record in NHL – Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tampa Bay, Washington Look Like Potential Winners
Playoff hopes are diminishing for Edmonton (33/1), Montreal (50/1), Vancouver (66/1) and Ottawa (80/1). Despite that loss to Calgary, Tampa Bay Lightning remain the outright favourites at 6/1. The current champions, Pittsburgh Penguins, are available at 16/1. Make sure you take a look at the best online sports betting offers in Canada before selecting any team to succeed.
Nobody can really put their finger on why Canadian teams are not succeeding in the latter stages in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. At least, it looks like Canada will not suffer the ignominy of having no representation in the Playoffs like in 2016. And, Canadians can also celebrate the fact that, once again, no nation will have more individual players represented in the Playoffs. There is also that small, but not impossible, hope that a team finally brings the Stanley Cup back across the border after a quarter of a century of waiting.