Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
After signing prized free-agent center John Tavares on Sunday, the Toronto Maple Leafs are now 6-1 favorites to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19.
According to OddsShark, Toronto leads the pack, followed by the Nashville Predators at 9-1 and both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Winnipeg Jets at 10-1:
Updated odds to win the 2018-19 Stanley Cup (@betonline_ag):
On the heels of missing the playoffs in 10 of the previous 11 seasons, the Leafs have now reached the postseason two times in a row.
They were eliminated in the first round both times, however, by the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins, respectively.
Last season, Toronto pushed Boston to seven games before getting knocked out of contention.
Tavares is a massive difference-maker, as he is an All-Star who is firmly in his prime at 27 years of age.
The former New York Islanders No. 1 overall pick is coming off one of his best seasons after registering 37 goals and 47 assists for 84 points in 82 contests.
He will join a young and talented Leafs squad that already boasts a group of forwards that includes Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Nazem Kadri, KasperiKapanen and veteran Patrick Marleau.
Toronto’s defense corps does leave something to be desired, though, outside of Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner.
Also, goalie Frederik Andersen was fairly ordinary last season with a 2.81 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He also struggled mightily against Boston in the playoffs.
While the Maple Leafs have the pieces needed to be the NHL’s highest-scoring team next season, there are other teams that may be more complete.
The Predators, Lightning and Jets stand out in that regard, as do 2018 Stanley Cup Final representatives in the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights, who are both 12-1 shots to win the Cup next season.
As much as Tavares improved the Leafs’ Stanley Cup odds, he also hurt the Isles’ chances, as they are listed at 75-1. Only the Detroit Red Wings have worse odds at 100-1.
Toronto hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967 when there were still only six teams in the NHL. That also marks the last time it reached the Stanley Cup Final.