The Chicago Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups within the past ten years and are the favorites to win it again in 2016. The Hawks are +650 favorites to win the NHL’s top honor and have plenty of great stars coming back including Jonathan Toews, Corey Crawford and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Duncan Keith.
Needless to say, there are a few concerns with the Blackhawks that could keep them from winning. For starters, a few prominent stars on the team have left in the free agency market. Johnny Oduya went off to Dallas on the market. Antoine Verette also left for Arizona while Brad Richards just left off for Detroit.
There is also a serious concern over a criminal case involving Patrick Kane. There are reports that he is being accused of sexually assaulting a woman. Whether or not he could face any real trouble is unclear. One thing is for certain in that Electronic Arts recently announced that he will no longer be on the cover of the NHL 16 video game.
The St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators are also making big runs for the Central Division. The Blues have a +1400 line while the Predators are at +1800 in the gambling odds.
The Blues recently got a new contract for leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko. However, T.J. Oshie left for Washington in a trade although the Blues did get Pheonix Copley and Troy Brouwer in that deal.
Meanwhile, the Predators have grown in prominence in recent time while Filip Forsberg and Pekka Rinne leading the team. However, there are concerns over whether defenseman Shea Weber should be traded due to salary concerns.
The Chicago Blackhawks will be facing a good turnover from last year’s roster as well as some real off-the-ice concerns over one of the team’s top stars while the Blues and Predators will be chasing after them for much of this year. Still, there is a real potential for the Hawks to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals and possibly win it again.