Raptors

Stanley Cup Odds (as of Wednesday):

Lightning: 6.50
Golden Knights: 8.50
Bruins: 9.50
Predators: 9.50
Capitals: 12.00
Jets: 14.00


A year ago, if someone had said that the Vegas Golden Knights would even be in a playoff position the following Valentine's Day, they may not have been able to fully complete the sentence without breaking into laughter.

An expansion team in the playoff race that late in its inaugural season? Come on...

But 2018 has already been crazy enough, and the expansion team that was supposedly building for its future three, four, five years down the road is not just in a playoff position. They're among the favourites - to win the Stanley Cup.

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The Golden Knights' only player in the top 25 in league scoring is Jonathan Marchessault, 21st on that list, building off the great year he had last season in Florida, which didn't protect him in the expansion draft. Of course, it's hindsight, but Marchessault is now over a point-per-game player and signed to a six-year, $30 million extension earlier this season.

The Golden Knights also had to survive injuries to starting goalies Marc-Andre Fleury AND Malcolm Subban early on. The latter is out once again due to injury. And yet, the Golden Knights continue to roll, blasting the Chicago Blackhawks - who continue their slide down the conference standings - on home ice, where Vegas has dominated.

It's only natural not to give an expansion team much of a chance to win a championship in their first year. In June, Vegas was certainly a long shot to win the Stanley Cup, with odds of 100.00 to win. They have steadily moved up the board, starting the season at 90.00 odds and now sitting at 8.50, behind only the Bolts and ahead of the Boston Bruins (talk about another surprise) in third.

If you did in June put money on the Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup, it seems like a good bet you kept that news to yourself, for fear of being laughed at mercilessly by others.

There is still plenty of hockey to be played, of course. But it may turn out that those bettors who went in on Vegas last summer end up getting the last laugh in a few months time.

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