The 2018 NHL trade deadline has come and gone, thankfully. It’s the same old story every year. The hockey media hype it up like teams are about to dump players as though they’re going out of style. And again, the deadline day acquisitions were underwhelming in numbers. Sure, some quality players did move on Sunday and Monday. But the volume didn’t include stalwarts like Erik Karlsson, Max Pacioretty or Mats Zuccarello.
2018 NHL Trade Deadline Results
But one team did make out exceptionally well on Monday. The Tampa Bay Lightning, already the top team in the Eastern Conference, acquired the New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. Sure, they had to give up a solid roster player in Vladimir Namestnikov and some other pieces, but what they got back could indeed propel them to a Stanley Cup win.
The hockey betting odds now have Tampa Bay at 6/1 to win the Stanley Cup. Those NHL odds are indeed impressive when you consider that the two-time defending champion Penguins are 8/1.
The Lightning have the top goalie stat-wise in Andrei Vasilevskiy, the top goal-scorer in Nikita Kucherov and another threat in Steven Stamkos. Now you add the leadership and shutdown potential of McDonagh and the versatility, speed and scoring touch of Miller, and you really have something here.
There really isn’t any weakness on this club – provided everyone stays healthy. The only question is whether or not they’ll get complacent down the stretch. Indeed, the Lightning must beat out both a surging Leafs team and a strong Bruins squad to win their division. Then you have the Capitals, Penguins and Flyers who are all playing well early in 2018.
Still, when you are experienced, stacked at all positions and have strong coaching, it’s hard to for NHL betting aficionados to view the Lightning as anything other than the prohibitive favorites to win the 2018 Stanley Cup.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.