Lightning’s Stanley Cup odds take hit with Kucherov out

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s odds of repeating as Stanley Cup champions lengthened Wednesday after the team announced forward Nikita Kucherov will miss the regular season due to a hip injury.

The four-time All-Star will undergo surgery next week and the Lightning hope he can return for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay was the co-Stanley Cup favorite along with the Colorado Avalanche at +650 by DraftKings on Wednesday morning. In the hours after the Kucherov announcement, the odds had shifted to the Avalanche being offered at +600 and the Lightning at +750.

Colorado was installed as the early 2021 favorite by at +700 shortly after Tampa Bay claimed the Stanley Cup in September. The Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights were right behind at +750.

Nikita Kucherov
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche were still being offered at +700 on Wednesday night, but are now the co-favorites with the Golden Knights while the Lightning’s odds have lengthened to +800.

Bettors backing Colorado Avalanche

Even before the Kucherov announcement, Colorado was being backed far more than Tampa Bay at DraftKings, where 41 percent of the handle bet on the Stanley Cup and 31 percent of the total bets have been on the Avalanche. The Golden Knights have been back by nine percent of the handle and 14 percent of the bets.

While the Lightning have been back by the third-most bets at nine percent, they’re tied for sixth-most with just four percent of the total money wagered coming in on Tampa Bay.

Kucherov, 27, registered 85 points (33 goals, 52 assists) in 68 games during the 2019-20 regular season and added 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 25 playoff games.

He won the Hart Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in 2018-19 after scoring a career-high 41 goals and leading the league in assists (87) and points (128).

A second-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2011, Kucherov has 547 points (221 goals, 326 assists) in 515 career games since making his debut in 2013.

Kucherov signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension in July 2018, an annual cap hit of $9.5 million for the Lightning.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)