NHL Futures: Our Staff’s Early 2024 Stanley Cup Picks & Predictions

NHL Futures: Our Staff’s Early 2024 Stanley Cup Picks & Predictions article feature image

Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured (L to R): Leon Draisaitl #29, Connor McDavid #97 and Kailer Yamamoto #56 and of the Edmonton Oilers

Call it a bit premature, but we tapped our hockey experts for some NHL Futures and their 2024 Stanley Cup picks and predictions for next season.

Earlier this week, the Vegas Golden Knights celebrated the franchise's first NHL championship and hoisted the Stanley Cup.

But we're already looking ahead to next year.

In the recently opened futures market, the Knights can be found from +1100 to +1600 to repeat as champs. However, our NHL sharps are eying three other teams with their 2024 Stanley Cup picks.

Below, check out their early picks for next year's Cup champs.

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Edmonton Oilers (+1200)

Nicholas Martin: The Edmonton Oilers will be in their second-to-last season with Leon Draisaitl locked up at a team-friendly price of $8.5 million in 2023-24. They should continue to be aggressive in attempting to win now as a result.

Once they work out their restricted free-agent situation with Evan Bouchard, all of their most important pieces should remain on the team. They gave a worthy Stanley Cup-winning Knights team their toughest series this year, and they are well-positioned to build off that success next season.

Being able to run back a similar look will likely mean gaining ground on a number of Cup favorites out West this summer.

Even for someone who has always been bullish on the Colorado Avalanche's dominant current core, I think they currently have too many question marks to be worthy of being the outright favorite at +800. Vegas will still be strong, to be sure, but the team is going to be forced into some tough salary-cap decisions this offseason.

This free-agent class is also quite thin on high-end talent, which will prevent borderline playoff teams from drawing much closer to the Oilers.

The Oilers are one of the safest bets to be a legitimate Cup contender again next season, and they're one of the few favorites that are unlikely to move down from the current outright price at any point in time.

The Pick: Edmonton Oilers (+1200 at Caesars)

Edmonton Oilers (+1200)

Jonny Lazarus: The Edmonton Oilers finished as the sixth-best team in the 2022-23 regular season, boasting a 50-23-9 record and 109 points. Obviously, they came up short on the ultimate goal after losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in six games during the second round. That being said, out of the four opponents that the Golden Knights played, the Edmonton Oilers gave them their biggest challenge.

The Oilers are led by the two best forwards in the NHL, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who seem to get better and better as the years go on. McDavid and Draisaitl led the league in scoring by an absolute landslide. McDavid finished with 64 goals and 89 assists (153 points), while his running mate, Draisaitl, tallied 52 goals with 76 assists (128 points).

As long as these two are clicking as well as they have been over the past few seasons, the Oilers will continue to be in contention for the Stanley Cup. Despite coming up short this year, this group was probably the most talented, top to bottom, that McDavid has played with since joining the NHL.

The biggest question mark for Edmonton will always be its goaltending. Stuart Skinner and Jack Campbell shared a majority of the time in the blue paint, but Skinner appeared to emerge as the team's No. 1 guy. He finished the regular season with a .914 save percentage and a 2.75 goals against average, but he struggled in the playoffs as he skated to a .883 save percentage with a 3.68 goals against average.

The Oilers power play is by far the most elite in the entire league, and I don't see that changing anytime soon with the roster that they have in place. They had an unbelievable 46.2% success rate in the playoffs, which was easily the most successful while also leading this category in the regular season, scoring at a 32.4% rate.

The Edmonton Oilers are as hungry as ever to win the Stanley Cup, and I will never count out McDavid and Draisaitl.

I would take that at +1200.

The Pick: Edmonton Oilers (+1200 at Caesars)

Dallas Stars (+1800)

Ryan Dadoun: The Dallas Stars came within two wins of knocking off the eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final. If Jake Oettinger had done better in the series, that alone might have been the difference. The goaltender posted an uncharacteristically poor 3.06 GAA and .895 save percentage in 19 playoff starts, including a 3.84 GAA and an .877 save percentage in six contests versus Vegas.

During the regular season, Oettinger was the team’s foundation, and the good news is the 24-year-old should bounce back. He’s certainly shown that he’s skilled enough to do so, and while underperforming in the playoffs is cause for concern, it’s too early in his career to suggest he wilts when the stakes are high, especially given his fantastic 1.81 GAA and .954 save percentage in seven starts during the 2022 postseason.

Plus, there’s the fact that Dallas got that far into the playoffs even without Oettinger playing at his best. That’s because while the Stars are one of the league’s best defensive teams, they don’t lack for scoring threats.

Jason Robertson is one of the league’s top forwards and has an ideal partner on the top line in Roope Hintz. Meanwhile, Jamie Benn seems to have turned around his career, and even with Joe Pavelski celebrating his 39th birthday in July, he’s still more than qualified to serve in a top-six capacity.

Dallas came so close in 2022-23, and that blend of high-end young talent and seasoned veterans has a good chance of pushing them over the edge next year.

If you're looking for a team with significantly longer odds to roll the dice on though, consider the Pittsburgh Penguins (+3500 at FanDuel). It's true they missed the playoffs, but the core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang remains effective. The Penguins are in win-now mode as they try to squeeze one last big championship run out of this group, and new team president Kyle Dubas will bring a fresh perspective during an important offseason.

The Pick: Dallas Stars (+1800 at BetRivers)

Dallas Stars (+1800)

Tony Sartori: After finishing second in the Central Division in 2022-23, the Dallas Stars put together a strong playoff push. They beat Minnesota in six games in the opening round, Seattle 4-3 in the second, and then fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final, 4-2.

It was a great run under coach Pete DeBoer. Dallas can hold its head high; it lost to the Cup champions and will likely be right back in the mix next year, making 18/1 a number I love in this market.

First of all, all the key pieces are coming back next year. The Stars are one of the most balanced teams in the league and typically do not get the respect they deserve, because they are certainly not a "media darling."

However, there is one guy in the forward group who, if he improves even further in 2023-24, will be breakout star: Wyatt Johnston.

The 20-year-old put together a brilliant rookie campaign, potting 24 goals en route to 41 points while playing all 82 games. While the point production took a dip in the playoffs, he stepped up when he needed to with his Game 7 winning goal over the Kraken in the second round.

Johnson showed that, with more development, he is going to be a 30- or 40-goal scorer in this league, which honestly could happen as soon as next year. Backing up this strong roster is goaltender Jake Oettinger, who could be a great bet for the Vezina Trophy next season once those odds release.

Oettinger had a rare poor performance in the playoffs this year, posting a .895 SV% and 3.06 GAA. With that said, I have nothing but optimism for the American netminder moving forward.

At +1800, the Stars are one of my favorite futures for next year, and I will be putting two units on it.

The Pick: Dallas Stars (+1800 at BetRivers)

Los Angeles Kings (+2500)

Greg Liodice: The Los Angeles Kings are an interesting team to follow for the 2023-24 season. After suffering two consecutive first-round losses to the Edmonton Oilers, it’s time for them to look in the mirror.

Goaltending hasn’t exactly been a strong suit since winning their last Stanley Cup in 2014, and I think this offseason is when the Kings address it. Whether it be trading for Connor Hellebuyck or prying away Adin Hill from this year’s Cup champs in Vegas, something has to give. They thought Joonas Korpisalo was a solid piece posting great regular season numbers, but he crumbled in the playoffs.

Los Angeles has the pieces in place. Anze Kopitar is on the last season of his contract, and a new first-line center could very well be what the doctor ordered (looking at you, Pierre-Luc Dubois). And the defense is stable as ever (placed fourth with a 2.38 xGA/60). I fully expect the Kings to be active this offseason to improve the team and take the next step.

It will also be huge for their younger players to step up. Gabe Vilardi had a great breakout season, and now it’s Quinton Byfield’s turn. The 2020 second overall pick has shown flashes of being a great playmaker at this level, but he wasn’t trustworthy to take on a full load just yet. I think another year under his belt will be extremely beneficial to the soon-to-be 21-year-old.

DraftKings has the Kings to win the Cup at +2500, and I think it’s a great opportunity to buy low. Once Los Angeles makes its offseason moves, I expect that number to drop significantly. Get in while you can.

The Pick: Los Angeles Kings (+2500 at DraftKings)

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