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Capitals Headline Cup Futures

With the Olympic tournament now in the books, the National Hockey League season will re-launch this week with teams jockeying for postseason position in both conferences.

And that means bettors will be starting to take a closer look at the Stanley Cup futures.

Alexander Ovechkin and his Russian club bombed out of the Olympic tournament, but his NHL Capitals lead the league with 90 points heading into the week. That has made Washington the favorite at most sportsbooks to take home the Stanley Cup this season.

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Whether or not the Capitals are satisfied with their current roster, however, remains to be seen. The league’s trade deadline comes up on Wednesday, and the Caps could be in the hunt for some short-term help for Ovechkin as they attempt to steamroll the East.

Also rumored to be looking for some upgrades on the trade market are the Chicago Blackhawks who, along with the San Jose Sharks, are pegged as the top Cup contenders out of the Western Conference by the oddsmakers. Chicago is likely to kick the tires on a couple goaltenders, as Cristobal Huet is considered the team’s weak link.

Last year’s Stanley Cup final had the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the Detroit Red Wings, but only one of those two teams remains high on the championship odds list right now – and that’s Pittsburgh. The Red Wings have shown their age so far this year, and if the postseason got underway this week they wouldn’t be in the Top 8 of the West.

Below the cutoff line in the East right now are the New York Rangers, a longshot Cup contender at most books. New York enters the week just one point back of the Montreal Canadiens for eighth in the East, but they need to keep forward Marian Gaborik healthy.

Gaborik, who has 35 goals in 58 games for the Rangers this season, suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury while competing for Slovakia at the Olympics. Gaborik was able to play in the Bronze Medal Game, but bettors still need to monitor his status.

Get the latest Stanley Cup future odds at Bovada.