by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
The Tampa Bay Lightning may have been one of the least active teams during the first few days of free agency, but they are simply hoping another successful regular season with almost all of the same players will turn out better next year.
The Lightning are +700 favorites (bet $100 to win $700) on the updated 2020 Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com following a disappointing postseason that saw them get swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.
While Tampa Bay is simply picking up the pieces for another run with essentially the same team, the same cannot be said about a Columbus squad that lost three key players in center Matt Duchene, winger Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Blue Jackets acquired Duchene from the Ottawa Senators prior to last year’s trade deadline knowing that his contract was expiring, and they were unable to resign him. Instead, the Nashville Predators scooped him up with a seven-year deal worth $56 million and improved to +1600 on the Stanley Cup odds at sports betting sites. Columbus fell to +4000.
Meanwhile, Panarin also got the richest deal ever for a wing, as the New York Rangers inked him to a seven-year contract worth $81.5 million. The Rangers still have some holes to fill, but they are better with Panarin on the ice, according to sportsbooks, who have moved them down to +2500 on those NHL odds.
Bobrovsky is the new goalie for the Florida Panthers as well, replacing the retired Roberto Luongo after agreeing to a seven-year deal worth $70 million. The Panthers have a new head coach too in Joel Quenneville, who had hoped to add Panarin to the mix but did get defenseman Anton Stralman from the Lightning to beef up the blue line. Florida is now +2000 with those additions and should compete for a playoff spot.
In addition, the Toronto Maple Leafs were part of a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Avalanche, and both teams should benefit. The Maple Leafs and Avalanche are each listed at +1200 behind the Lightning, the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins (+1000) and the Vegas Golden Knights (+1000).
Toronto got defenseman Tyson Barrie and forward Alex Kerfoot from Colorado in exchange for forward Nazem Kadri and defenseman Calle Rosen. The teams also swapped a pair of draft picks in the deal.
The defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues are +1400 to repeat and did not make any big moves either. Instead, the Blues focused on re-signing defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and 23-year-old winger Sammy Blais, who was a restricted free agent.
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