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Toronto Maple Leafs emerge as Stanley Cup favourites

Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs, following free-agency developments on Sunday, are now the outright favourites to win the 2019 Stanley Cup with Bovada.

The Leafs sit at +800 in futures betting, odds that are just a tad shorter than the odds of +900 on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bovada recently shortened the odds on Toronto, a move that can only be viewed in the context of the signing of John Tavares. Free agency started for the NHL on July 1 and the former member of the New York Islanders is the first major signing. He signed a seven-year deal worth $77 million dollars.

Last season, Tavares was slightly better than one point per game with about as much goal-scoring punch as he had helpers. He also played in the full 82 games, a fact that speaks well to his injury resilience.

Tavares joins a team that already has some major talent, especially in Auston Matthews. Furthermore, the Leafs have a proven Cup-winning coach in Mike Babcock. The pieces do appear to be in place for Stanley Cup contention for Toronto.

However, odds as short as +800 might be tough to take when viewed in the context of historical trends. The Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967.

Additionally, no team based in Canada has won a World Series, an NBA title, or a Stanley Cup since the 1993 Montreal Canadiens. Given the volume of Canadian-based teams in those leagues, multiplied by the number of seasons since 1993 that is a significant trend.

But the Leafs’ chances will likely have more to do with their goaltending situation as opposed to any kind of long-term stats. Toronto has Danish standout Frederik Andersen signed, a goaltender with above average talent when compared to other NHL starters.

However, last season Andersen appeared in 66 games. He also appeared in 66 games the previous season. That is a high workload for an NHL goaltender and, if overly relied on again, Toronto’s chances could sink with an injury to Andersen or a below-average season for stats. His goals-against average with Toronto is much higher than it was in Anaheim earlier in his career when he had a smaller workload.

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