There are some powerful players in the NHL’s Western Conference. Several teams have rocketed up the futures board to start the season, but that has come at the expense of a couple of others. The Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks are newcomers to the top 10, while the Chicago Blackhawks and Seattle Kraken have fallen well short of early-season prognostications.
Top 10 Odds for Western Conference Winner
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- Colorado Avalanche +280 (Previously +200)
- Vegas Golden Knights +500 (Previously +300)
- Edmonton Oilers +650 (Previously +1300)
- Calgary Flames +1000 (Previously +2400)
- Minnesota Wild +1000 (Previously +1200)
- St. Louis Blues +1000 (Previously +2000)
- Winnipeg Jets +1100 (Previously +2000)
- Dallas Stars +2000 (Previously +1200)
- Nashville Predators +2800
- Anaheim Ducks +2900
Teams That Have Fallen Out of the Top 10
- Seattle Kraken +5000 (Previously +2000)
- Chicago Blackhawks +5500 (Previously +2400)
The odds-on favorites to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final have seen their odds increase since the start of the season. The Colorado Avalanche have started the season on rocky footing, putting forth the 12th-ranked expected goals-for percentage and losing six of their first 15 games. Darcy Kuemper has had trouble adapting to the Avs’ system, posting a save percentage of 90.6% or worse in six of his 13 starts. There’s lots of time for the Avalanche to get back on track, but they could fall down the futures board if they don’t figure things out.
Vegas Golden Knights
Similarly, the Vegas Golden Knights remain second on the futures board, but their odds have taken a hit to start the season. The similarities don’t end there. A big reason the Golden Knights haven’t maintained their typical level of success is due to changes in the crease. Robin Lehner hasn’t lived up to expectations as a primary goalie, combining for the 17th-best save percentage to start the season. Lehner may grow into the role or the Knights overcome their goaltending shortcomings; however, at +500, it’s probably best to wait for better odds.
After 15 years of futility, six of which were wasted on getting Connor McDavid the supporting cast he needed, the Edmonton Oilers finally appear to be pointed in the right direction. We’ve seen the Oilers put forward the best points percentage in the Western Conference, thanks to more balanced scoring and the best one-two punch in the league with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers aren’t without their own question marks, though, and that’s reflected in their betting price. Primary goalie Mike Smith was placed on the long-term injured reserve, and Mikko Koskinen is starting to falter. Stuart Skinner has exceeded the hype, but the Oilers are rumored to be interested in another goalie. If they acquire another goalie or somehow convince Tuukka Rask to sign in Edmonton, the Oilers could quickly move to the top of the futures board.
There must be something in the water in Alberta, as the Calgary Flames have also seen their futures odds improve since the start of the season. The Flames were the biggest movers into the top 10, going from +2400 pre-season to +1000 currently. Calgary is getting outstanding offensive production and better goaltending from Jacob Markstrom. They are overachieving relative to production metrics and are likely headed towards a correction phase, which will impact their standing in the betting market. We’ve seen how great the Flames can be, and if they can get hot in the playoffs, not many teams can beat them.
The Minnesota Wild have quietly asserted themselves as a powerhouse in the Western Conference. The Wild aren’t a flashy team, but they have some of the best metrics in the NHL. Minnesota has the second-best expected goals-for rating at five-on-five, dynamic offensive forwards, and rock-solid defensive systems, all of which lends themselves to long-term success. As good as the Wild have been, they remain below expected values implying they could progress over their coming stretch. This might be the best price you get on the Wild for the rest of the season.