The Nashville Predators burst onto the scene in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, earning respect from national pundits and, as it turns out, Vegas oddsmakers.
At the start of the 2017-18 season, the Predators had the fourth-highest odds to win the Stanley Cup. Despite some shake-ups at the top of the odds list, Nashville remains at the fourth-best odds as of last week at +1400.
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Given the Predators’ sustained success throughout the season, especially after the acquisition of forward Kyle Turris back in November, it’s no surprised that their odds have remained relatively stable. What is surprising, however, is the rise and fall of teams from the top of the list. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning had better odds at the cup at the beginning of the season.
As of last week, Pittsburgh and Edmonton had fallen from the top five (the Oilers even fell to the bottom 10). Meanwhile, the Lightning have taken the top spot and the upstart Vegas Golden Knights have ascended to the top five, along with the Boston Bruins. The Golden Knights were long shots to win the Stanley Cup at the start of the season, but their odds have risen as they’ve climbed the standings to the top spot in the Western Conference.
The respect for the Predators has also extended to individual players’ award odds. As of last week, goaltender Pekka Rinne has the second-highest odds for the Vezina Trophy at +500. He’s certainly earned that distinction, as he has placed second in wins and shutouts and sits in the top 10 in goals allowed average and save percentage. The only goalie with better odds at the coveted Vezina is Lighting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
In addition, defenseman P.K. Subban has entered into the Norris Trophy discussion, and the oddsmakers have taken note. He sits with the third-best odds for the Norris at +500. Only Drew Doughty and John Klingberg have better odds. Subban is in the discussion for good reason, as he leads all NHL defensemen in goals and is near the top in points. His defensive play passes the eye test as well, as he has been a workhorse in the defensive zone and rarely makes mistakes in his coverage.
It’s taken a long time for the Predators to make their way onto the national scene, but it seems they’ve gained plenty of respect across the hockey world.
(All odds via MyTopSportsbooks.com)