|Sportsbook.com has posted updated odds on the quest for the 2006 Stanley Cup, with the fortunes of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers looking brighter following some key off-season moves.|
The original odds by Sportsbook.com were made after the new collective bargaining agreement between the League and the union was signed. The Toronto Maple Leafs have seen their odds improve from 15-1 to 12-1 following the signings of Eric Lindros, Jeff O’Neill and Jason Allison; this despite criticism from local media. The Canadian team to make the biggest splash has been the Edmonton Oilers. Their odds have improved dramatically to 25-1, from an opening line of 40-1, following the acquisition of Chris Pronger and Michael Peca. The Calgary Flames have also made a big splash, locking up Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff and adding Tony Amonte to a line-up that reached the last Stanley Cup Final. Their odds have gone from 25-1 to 20-1.
“The Canadian teams have all been very active in either signing high profile new players or retaining the services of their key players, like Iginla in Calgary, Naslund in Vancouver and Kovolev in Montreal,” said Peter Childs, Odds Maker, Sportsbook.com. “Everyone in Canada is excited about the upcoming season and we’re already starting to see a lot of wagers coming in.”
The Ottawa Senators, perhaps the best Canadian based team in the NHL, has seen its odds drop to 10-1, from an opening line of 8-1. The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks remain at 20-1 and 12-1 respectively.
The biggest jump in odds, not surprisingly, has been for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went from 100-1 favourites to 35-1 after drafting Sidney Crosby and signing Ziggy Palffy and Sergei Gonchar. Their interstate rival, Philadelphia, has the best odds at 5-1, following their acquisition of Peter Forsberg and Derian Hatcher.
“Canada is the hotbed of hockey, but Pennsylvania may give us a run for our money this year. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are going to be a lot of fun to watch,” added Childs.
Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes are a 75-1 long shot to win the Stanley Cup in the Great One’s first season behind the bench.