Jan. 29, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; A general view of the First Niagara Center during a game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Daily: NHL Odds, Elmira Jackals, Expansion

In just about a month, the Buffalo Sabres and other NHL teams will be finishing off their preseason schedules and getting their final rosters in shape for the NHL regular season. The season runs until mid-June, of course, when one of those 30 teams will win hockey’s Holy Grail….. but who will it be?

According to the oddsmakers at Bovada.LV, the team that has the best betting chance at winning the Stanley Cup in 2015 is………… *drum roll* the Chicago Blackhawks. With guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane returning for another season with the Hawks, plus new additions like Brad Richards, Chicago will seemingly remain a good – and dangerous – team this coming season. Could the year end with Kane bringing the Cup back to Buffalo for the third time in six years?

The Blackhawks’ odds to win the Cup, according to Bovada.LV’s predictions, are 13/2. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres are tied at the bottom for the worst odds at winning the Stanley Cup – 75/1 odds. Tied with the Sabres are the Flames, Panthers and Predators.

I’m not sure I put that much stock into the whole ‘betting odds’ thing, but it’s interesting to at least see how teams are ranked before the season begins. I’d be even more interested to see how it goes up and down throughout the season, with injuries, trades, waivers and other such occurrences.

The Elmira Jackals are taking a page out of the book of the Green Bay Packers and will become a community-owned team.

The current owners of the Buffalo Sabres’ ECHL affiliate, Tom Freeman and Nate Cook, will turn over the Jackals to the community. A board of directors consisting of local business leaders, community residents and politicians will take charge of running the team, under the name “Local Development Corporation.”

The ECHL has to approve of the ownership transfer, but the current owners don’t expect any hold-ups and hope to have this all set and done by the time the ECHL season starts in mid-October.

It’s a pretty interesting thought. Before reading about the Jackals, I had no idea the Packers were the only community-owned NFL team. It’s a great way to keep things local and in check, make sure profits stay in the community (ie., with youth hockey programs), and I’m interested to see how it pans out. Freeman and Cook will maintain ownership of First Arena, and also just purchased the Lindenwald Haus to use it as housing for the Jackals players. It seems like they’ve done a lot for the Jackals organization, so let’s see how that transfers to the season.

NHL expansion has been all the talks lately, and while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman denies it all, he has said that if expansion were to happen, it’d be expensive — as in, way more than $350 million. That figure came from a report by Sports Business News, and Bettman said that the teams would cost far more than that. Minnesota and Columbus paid $80 million each in expansion fees in 2000 — but that was 14 years ago, and the economy’s changed and league revenues have gone way up.

So hey, I guess if any of you have a lot of spare change lying around and want to expand an NHL franchise…. well, good luck to you.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Elmira Jackals NHL Nhl Expansion

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