Even the most optimistic Vancouver Canucks fans would have had trouble envisioning a headline like this at any point this season.
Yet here we are, a month into the season, and analytics-based website MoneyPuck.com is currently giving the Canucks the best odds of winning the Stanley Cup.
The odds of the Canucks making the playoffs is currently at 86.2%.
The Canucks have been given a 6.2% chance of winning the Cup, followed by the Boston Bruins (5.9%).
Wouldn’t that make for an interesting Stanley Cup Final?
The website focuses on a number of different analytical factors to determine probabilities – meaning that wins and losses alone aren’t the reason why the 9-3-2 Canucks are ranked so highly. The Edmonton Oilers, for instance, have been given the 14th-best odds of winning the Stanley Cup despite the fact that they’re currently ahead of the Canucks in the Pacific Division.
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It feels like in recent seasons when casual fans have boasted feelings of optimism, pundits would punt them aside with a swift dose of statistical reality, predicting that the Canucks were bound to regress.
And they were always right.
In areas such as unblocked shot attempts percentage, the Canucks have continuously been ranked at the bottom of the league. This season however, that’s one area where not only are the Canucks actually good, but they lead the league with a 57% share of unblocked shot attempts.
They also have an expected even-strength goal share of 54.3%, which is third in the league only behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins according to MoneyPuck.com.
A third reason why the team ranks so highly is because of the strength of the Canucks’ first line of Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and J.T. Miller. According to MoneyPuck.com, the Canucks have the fourth-best line in hockey. They trail Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, and Mikael Granlund in Nashville, Clayton Keller, Phil Kessel and Derek Stepan in Arizona, and Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, and Reilly Smith in Vegas.
One of the reasons why the Money Puck line is newsworthy is because many betting outlets aren’t buying into the Canucks’ recent success. PlayNow.com, for instance, gives the Canucks just the 16th best odds of winning the Stanley Cup right now, despite the fact that Vancouver has the fourth-best points percentage in the league to go with an NHL-best +19 goal differential (tied with Boston).
There are some reasons for skepticism, such as the Canucks having a relatively easy schedule to this point, but there is also so much to love about this team.
They’re third for goals scored and fifth in goals against. They have the ninth-best power play and the third-best penalty kill.
It’s hard to find a flaw with the Canucks right now. While they might not maintain the best Stanley Cup odds throughout the season, it’s nice to see that some are catching on to this team’s outstanding start.