The NHL trade deadline has come and gone leaving us with updated Stanley Cup futures odds. Here’s a look at two teams from each conference that offer excellent value in the wake of all the deadline deals.Eastern ConferencePittsburgh Penguins
: 11-1 (at Bovada Sportsbook
The Penguins didn’t make any big moves on deadline day – their biggest move was acquiring Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild two weeks ago. Zucker has proven to be an excellent fit on a line with Sidney Crosby, providing some nice secondary scoring over the last couple of weeks.
That’s not to say the Pens didn’t tinker with their lineup a little, adding veteran forward Patrick Marleau from the San Jose Sharks while also re-acquiring Conor Sheary along with Evan Rodrigues from the Buffalo Sabres.
I like the make-up of this Pens squad as it stands, particularly on the blue line where Pittsburgh has build a solid but unheralded defensive corps that matches up with most teams they’ll face come playoff time. The x-factor could be between the pipes where Pittsburgh will need Tristan Jarry and Matt Murray to round back into form down the stretch.Carolina Hurricanes
: 23-1 (at Bovada Sportsbook
This may be my favorite Stanley Cup play on the entire board. The Hurricanes bolstered their blue line prior to the trade deadline, acquiring Sami Vatanen from the Devils and Brady Skjei from the Rangers.
Carolina, of course, gained immeasurable playoff experience during last year’s improbable run to the Eastern Conference Final, where it was ushered out by what was simply a strong Bruins squad. This year, I believe the Canes can match up with anyone in the East, noting they already took down the mighty Washington Capitals, who were then defending Stanley Cup champions, in the opening round of last year’s playoffs.
The Canes young corps has only gotten stronger this season and I liked the savvy move of bringing Justin Williams back out of retirement for one more run at the Cup. It’s probably only a matter of time before head coach Rod Brind’Amour brings a cup to Raleigh – why not this year?Western ConferenceVegas Golden Knights
: 13-1 (at Bovada Sportsbook
The Knights appear to be rounding into form at the right time as they ascend the Western Conference standings in February. This is a roster that has only gotten stronger since going all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in the team’s NHL debut season in 2017-18. Given last year’s somewhat surprising early playoff exit, the hunger will certainly be there for the Knights to go on a deep playoff run this year.
Vegas didn’t stand pat in the days leading up to the trade deadline, acquiring Stanley Cup winner Alec Martinez to strengthen their defensive corps while also adding some depth between the pipes with Robin Lehner coming over from the Blackhawks. Even Nick Cousins looks like a nice under the radar pickup to add to their depth up front.
The Western Conference is wide open this season and I would put the Knights right up there with the Blues as one of the favorites to represent the conference in the Stanley Cup Final.Vancouver Canucks
: 21-1 (at Bovada Sportsbook
While the Canucks won’t be a sure thing to get out of the first round, let alone go on a Stanley Cup run, I do like them at the current price point as they offer a lot of upside, albeit with a young roster that doesn’t have a great deal of playoff experience to lean on.
Bringing in two-time Stanley Cup winner Tyler Toffoli from the Kings was arguably one of the biggest moves leading up to the trade deadline, and since joining the team he has proven to be a tremendous fit by all accounts. With Brock Boeser sidelined, Toffoli provides some much needed scoring punch up front.
While the Canucks future is bright, I do think they’re in ‘win now’ mode as well. Once again, with the West there for the taking, this might just be the year that a Canadian team finally ends the 27-year drought and hoists Lord Stanley’s Cup.