Cover Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The puck drops on the 2018-19 NHL season tonight, and the favorite to win the Stanley Cup is NOT the defending champion Washington Capitals.

With the departure of forwards Jay Beagle and Alex Chiasson, as well as backup goalie Philipp Grubauer, the Caps look to defend their title without head coach Barry Trotz, who has moved on to the New York Islanders. 

While Washington has won three straight Metropolitan Division titles, the Caps aren't even the favorites to win their own division -- that goes to the Pittsburgh Penguins at +175, compared to the Caps at +210.

With the Maple Leafs coming in as the favorite, mostly due to the signing of center John Tavares, a group of last year's playoff squads rounds out the group ahead of the defending champs.

Washington didn't make many changes this offseason, after winning the first Stanley Cup in the franchise's history, and it seems like the oddsmakers know how hard it is to repeat as champs -- just as the Penguins did in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

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