As we approach the NHL postseason, 16 teams are hoping to win the Stanley Cup. But the league isn’t full of parity, and some teams are looking stronger than others – most notably, the Chicago Blackhawks.

 

Chicago Blackhawks +425

The Chicago Blackhawks are favored to win their third Stanley Cup in five years. With a winning pedigree that’s embodied by Jonathan Toews (21 goals, 37 assists), Patrick Kane (34 goals, 55 assists) and goaltender Corey Crawford (2.55 goals against average, .918 save percentage), the Blackhawks have managed to maintain a winning formula, while adding youngsters like Artemi Panarin (31 goals, 43 assists). Coach Joel Quenneville will have his team playing the hard-nosed, clutch playoff hockey that fans have come to expect from Chicago each spring.

 

Washington Capitals +450

The Washington Capitals and are no strangers to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They’ve qualified every year except for once since the 2007-08 season. However, there has been a lack of success once the postseason begins. Despite a great deal of regular season success over the past nine seasons, including a first place finish with 118 points this year, Washington has a reputation for faltering come spring. This Caps team is different, though. Head Coach Barry Trotz has instilled a defence-first mentality amongst his players, which resulted in the lowest goals allowed per game in the NHL (2.16). Combined with one of the more balanced offensive attacks in the league, Washington may finally break through.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins +600

Entering the playoffs at +600 as the defending Stanley Cup Champions and a roster that boasts Hart Trophy candidate Sydney Crosby, and three players who scored 70 or more points this regular season may catch some hockey fans by surprise. But the Penguins are banged up and enter Game 1 without forwards Carl Hagelin, Chris Kunitz and defenseman Kris Letang. Those injuries have cast some doubt in oddsmakers’ minds. They’ll need to rely on some unproven defensemen if they hope to prove their doubters wrong.

 

Minnesota Wild +1000

The Minnesota Wild were many hockey fans’ pick to win the Stanley Cup during the first half of the 2016-17 campaign. They had the best record in the NHL early on in the season and capped it with a 12-game winning streak in December. However, after struggling through March with a 4–10–2 record, Minnesota ended up finishing second in the Central Division. They regained some momentum through the last five games in April, and are looking to rekindle their early-season form.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets +1400

For the first time in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets earned at least 100 points in a season (108). 2016-17 was historic for the Blue Jackets: they won 16 straight games during the regular season, falling one short of the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins’ NHL record. The Jackets ranked second in team defence this year, giving up an average of 2.35 goals per game. Those numbers can largely be attributed to the Vezina-calibre performance of Sergei Bobrovsky. The netminder posted career bests in goals against average (2.06) and save percentage (.931) over a full season.

 

*Odds as of April 13, 2017