Blah blah blah Pittsburgh Penguins, congrats, etc. The Chicago Blackhawks are no longer the defending champions - but according to Bovada, they're early favorites to get that title back next season.
Early - and I should stress it, early - odds have the Hawks 10/1 to win next year's Stanley Cup. They're tied for the second best odds with this year's President's Trophy-winning Washington Capitals, while the current Cup winners have the best odds at 8/1.
Of course, we have no idea what's going to happen between now and next puck drop. The salary cap is a very real issue for the Hawks that will likely force some roster movement; on the other hand, a bunch of good, young, cheap players seem to keep wanting to come to this team (because they know they've got a good chance here), so it's not all doom and gloom. The Hawks will look different - but they'll probably still be great.
The St. Louis Blues have the fourth best odds at 12/1, while the other Central Division teams clock in thusly:
- Dallas Stars: 16/1
- Minnesota Wild: 18/1
- Nashville Predators: 18/1
- Colorado Avalanche: 33/1
- Winnipeg Jets: 50/1
Despite the Hawks' first round exit this year, they're still clearly thought of as one of the best teams in hockey. Now, it'll be up to them to prove it next season.