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Pens made 2013 Cup favorites

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Odds to Win the 2013 Stanley Cup

With the 2011-12 NHL season now in the books - and congrats to the Los Angeles Kings for winning their first-ever Stanley Cup since entering the league in 1967 - it's time to look ahead to next season and see what the future holds.

Over at Bovada's online sportsbook, a series of futures odds has been created for all 30 NHL teams and their chances of winning Lord Stanley's mug next season. Let's take a look at some of the favorites, shall we?

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Pittsburgh Penguins, 7/1

Even though they were bounced in stunning fashion in the opening round this season, the Penguins are still the odds-on favorites heading into next season. Why? Well, they return a cast of stars which, to be fair, never had a chance to fully mesh this year. Injuries to key players like Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal derailed the season and when they finally got healthy, the defense and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury went south. Regardless, the Pens are still the most talented and dangerous team in the league and yes, that even includes…

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Los Angeles Kings, 11/1

The defending Cup champs head into next year right behind the Pens as second favorite. Like Pittsburgh, LA returns almost its entire core of star players - playoff MVP Jonathan Quick, captain Dustin Brown, leading scorer Anze Kopitar, stud defenseman Drew Doughty and versatile second-line forwards in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. The Kings will be a handful next year and will have an entire season under head coach Darryl Sutter. Should be fun to watch.

Chicago Blackhawks, 12/1

Another team that was bounced in the opening round of the playoffs, the 'Hawks should be back with a vengeance next year. Their biggest issue will be keeping pucks out of the goal, so don't be surprised if they make moves to bolster the defense and perhaps try to acquire another goalie to help out Cory Crawford. Regardless of last year's finish, Chicago is still a remarkably deep team and one of the most explosive units in hockey.

Detroit Red Wings, 12/1

Next year is going to be very interesting for the Wings. It'll be the first time since the early 90s that Nicklas Lidstrom (retired) won't be on the team, so they'll need to replace him and Brad Stuart on the blueline (the latter was traded to San Jose.) All that said, the Wings are expected to make a major play for the two big free agent prizes on July 1: New Jersey captain Zach Parise and Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter. If they land those two, they'll be instant Cup contenders.

New York Rangers, 12/1

The defending Eastern Conference champs might be big players on the trade market this season. Look for them to potentially go after Columbus captain Rick Nash in the hopes of solving their year-long goalscoring issues. If they do get Nash, look out - the Rangers instantly become one of the most dangerous teams in the East.

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