This time last year, a $20 bet on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup was slated to win $10,000. Ultimately, the expansion franchise fell three wins short of hoisting hockey’s ultimate trophy, but they gave Las Vegas sportsbooks a good sweat in the process.

That $20 bet on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup that last season would have yielded $10,000 will only payout $240 in their return to the NHL in October. (Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Needless to say, the Golden Knights won’t open this season with the 500/1 longshot odds they opened with last year.

The Westgate sportsbook has the Golden Knights as 12/1 favorites to win the Stanley Cup entering the 2018-19 season. Oddsmakers have the Golden Knights as the seventh-likeliest team to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup next summer, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

That means a $20 bet on the Golden Knights this season will only net $240 if they win the Cup: a far cry from the five-figure payout it would have yielded last season.

Ahead of the Golden Knights are the Tampa Bay Lightning (7/1), Toronto Maple Leafs (8/1), Nashville Predators (10/1), Winnipeg Jets (10/1), Boston Bruins (10/1), and last year’s champion Washington Capitals (10/1).

Additionally, the Golden Knights have been given 6/1 odds to repeat as Western Conference champions, behind Winnipeg and Nashville (both 5/1).

Sweating It Out

Not only did Vegas shock the hockey world with its improbable Stanley Cup run last season, the team nearly sent the betting world into frenzy, too. The Westgate sportsbook sold 13 tickets to bettors at 500/1 before last season. Those bets ranged from $10 to $60. Those wagers had the sportsbook sweating a possible $30,000 payout on a $60 bet.

After the Golden Knights showed they weren’t a Western Conference pushover, the odds began dropping. One bettor placed a $400 wager when the odds dipped to 300/1 — a bet which would have yielded $120,000 had the Golden Knights ultimately won the Stanley Cup.

This fall, the Knights open up the season at home at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas against the Philadelphia Flyers On Oct 4 at 7 pm PT.

Tough Start

If the Golden Knights want to replicate the stunning success of their first season, they’ll need to find a way to do it without the services of a key player for nearly a quarter of the season.

Last Wednesday, defenseman Nate Schmidt received a suspension for violating the NHL’s Performance Enhancing Substances Program. He’ll miss the first 20 games of the 82-game regular season. Schmidt issued a lengthy statement denying that the positive test was the result of an intentional action on his part.

Schmidt said the positive test was the result of “environmental contamination that [he] could not have possibly prevented.” He said the test yielded a “microscopic amount of a tainted substance,” that would not have been able to improve his performance anyway.

“While I support having a strong Performance Enhancing Substances Program in place for our sport, it is difficult to accept this suspension. I understand that I will miss these games, but I do not agree with the suspension and I will not accept being labelled a cheater,” Schmidt insisted.

“I have worked my whole life to become an NHL player, and I’m extremely proud to be a player in the NHL. I have never cut corners in order to achieve this goal. I am grateful for the support of the entire Golden Knights organization and I can’t put into words how disappointed I am that I will not be on the ice at the beginning of the season to help my teammate work towards another Stanley Cup run,” Schmidt continued in an issued statement.

The Golden Knights organization is standing by Schmidt, supporting his claim that the positive test was faulty.

“We firmly believe that the presence of a trace of the banned substance was accidental and unintentional,” a team-issued communication read.

“Based on our conversations with Nate, analysis from independent medical experts, and sworn testimony from the parties involved, we believe it is clear Nate was not able to reasonably ascertain how the substance entered his body. Nate is an honest person with high moral character and great integrity. We will stand by him and support him during this time,” the statement continued.

The substance Schmidt tested positive for has not been publicly identified.