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Golden Knights Analysis

Oddsmakers Knock Golden Knights 2024 Chances for Repeat



Vegas Golden Knights Win Stanley Cup, Defeat Florida Panthers 7-2

“Cup in Six.” It took just six seasons (and a movie) for the Vegas Golden Knights to overcome all opponents and become Stanley Cup champions.

But oddsmakers aren’t as bullish on a repeat.

At the start of their inaugural season, the NHL’s freshest expansion team were the longest of longshots. At 500-to-1, oddsmakers gave them no chance to win the Stanley Cup. A $100 wager on a championship would have netted the bettor $50,000 (plus their original stake). That didn’t come to fruition, but they made oddsmakers sweat when the Misfits charged to the Stanley Cup Final.

After that magical first season, oddsmakers no longer counted out the Golden Knights. For the next three years, they placed Vegas among the favorites to win, alongside the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning. This season, most odds makers put the Golden Knights at +1100 or +1200.

Should someone have bet $100 at the start of the season, Tuesday’s victory scored them $1100-$1200.

The Knights are still celebrating and the parade should be an epic outpouring for the first champion of the four major sports leagues,

Sportsbooks have already started looking forward to next season, but they don’t have the Golden Knights listed as the frontrunner to repeat. Vegas Insider has the Avalanche listed as the favorite at +800. The VGK rests at sixth on that list, tied with the Bruins, Devils, Hurricanes, and Lightning at +1300.

A Reason for Odd Odds

As the Vegas Golden Knights have been among the favorites to win during recent years, it’s strange that the current Stanley Cup champions aren’t even ranked in the top three. This abnormality could narrow down to two major reasons: salary cap space and inherent difficulty repeating.

The Golden Knights currently have about $3.4 million available space, but that’s before they attempt to re-sign free agents such as Adin Hill and Ivan Barbashev. The Golden Knights will also find out in the coming days the status of goalie Robin Lehner, which could give them additional space if he will remain on long-term injured list.

Otherwise, the Golden Knights have 20 players under contract for next season.

Healthy goaltending was a challenge this year. Starting goalie Robin Lehner was out for the season after hip surgery in 2022. Injuries plagued back-ups Logan Thompson, Laurent Brossoit, and even playoff superstar Adin Hill. The Golden Knights acquired Jonathan Quick from Columbus (after the LA Kings dealt him to Columbus) before the NHL trade deadline, and they needed him for 11 games. Quick was their fifth goalie this season to start in goal.

However, Quick, Brossoit, and Hill are unrestricted free agents, and Lehner’s status remains a mystery. To hedge their own bets in the netminding realm, management will have to weigh their options carefully.

They will review forward depth as well. Pavel Dorofeyev, Brett Howden, Barbashev, Teddy Blueger, and Phil Kessel are all UFAs on July 1. Barbashev tallied 18 points in 22 playoff games, making him particularly instrumental in Vegas Golden Knights’ playoff run. Dorofeyev, though he only played 18 NHL games, netted seven goals.

Given the opportunity, he could be the depth VGK needs for a repeat championship.

The Golden Knights are +1300 with the core of the team coming back. Oddsmakers don’t often give such long odds to a team in contention. Perhaps the Golden Knights will make them pay.

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