The NHL’s regular season is fast approaching, and with the addition of another new team, the Seattle Kraken, this season will be interesting, to say the least. This season will see 32 teams competing in the hopes of making it to the Stanley Cup finals. The biggest change is the addition of a new team and the return to the usual four-division, two-conference format that was realigned last season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This season, with the return to the Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions, the race is expected to see some familiar faces. The defending champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, are not the favoured team to win, even though they have won the last two years straight. However, Tampa is only slightly behind the Avalanche, who bookies are predicting will win the coveted Stanley Cup trophy this year.
Sitting a close third in the hunt is the Vegas Golden Knights, and surprisingly, the Toronto Maple Leafs are coming in at +1100. Whether the Maple Leafs could finally dust off the cobwebs and get the job done is anyone’s guess, but it would be a celebration 55 years in the making.
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2021-22 NHL Odds & Predictions – Potential Champions
Yet, as we all know, predicting the outcome ahead of the season is a tricky thing to accomplish. While the oddmakers have a good foundation for getting the job done, looking a little closer at the top four will give us insight into who is the most likely contender.
* Odds have been provided by Bet365 and are accurate as of 11/10/2021
Odds to Win: +450
The Colorado Avalanche are the expected favourites, with bookies listing them at +450. If successful, it will be their first since first capturing the cup in 2021. There is no doubt the Avalanche have one of the best scoring lines in the league. With 30 goals and 65 points, Nathan MacKinnon was Colorado’s top scorer, and with Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog by his side. Add into the equation Cale Makar, one of the leagues top scoring defencemen, and they will be a force to reckon with and then some.
In an attempt to shore up any weaknesses, the Avalanche made some major changes during the off-season. This saw Philip Grubauer being replaced by Darcy Kuemper as the starting goalie, and several others from last year were resigned. Considering the Colorado Avalanche have been to the finals twice before and were winners of the President’s Trophy last season, the odds are looking in their favour if their key players stay healthy.
Tampa Bay Lightening
Odds to Win: +550
The Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of the last two Stanley Cups, are not expected to win for a third straight year in a row, but they are in contention with oddsmakers pegging then at +650. The Lightning has one of the league’s deepest lineups in the league, and with Andrei Vasilevskiy as their starting goalie, and that means they remain a threat. Last season, Tampa was 31-10-1, and their biggest challenge of the season will be remaining healthy.
While they have gone without Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos in the past, both were instrumental during the playoffs, and the same is expected this season. Considering they were the first team since the early 80’s to win back to back Stanley Cups and is a team who has the experience to win again, discounting them would be a mistake. If all goes their way this season, look for the Lightning to be in the fight and a strong contender to make it to their third Stanley Cup finals.
Vegas Golden Knights
Odds to Win: +700
The Vegas Golden Knights are the only other team listed by oddmakers with odds under +1000 to be contenders to win this years Stanley Cup. We all known the historic first season the Golden Knights had, and the Knights having strong financial backing and one of the NHL’s best defensive lines, they have every possibility of winning this season.
Unfortunately, the Knights lost Marc-Andre Fleury in the off-season after trading the seasoned veteran goalie to the Chicago Blackhawks. That made Fleury the first Vezina Trophy winner to be traded after winning since Dominik Hasek, but Hasek is no rookie, yet trading Flurry could be a mistake that costs the Vegas Knights the chance to go to the distance this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Odds to Win: +1100
It would be hard to say not many bettors predicted to see the Canada’s Toronto Maple Leafs being listed in the top four for contention this season. The Leafs are infamous for having gone over 50 years without a cup and even moreso for not investing and strengthening their lineups. However, with guys like Auston Matthews and John Tavarez, the Leafs were among the top eight scoring teams in the NHL, and likewise, the top eight for goals allowed.
While the Leafs were effective last year, it is expected this year they will be even moreso, and hopefully, they will once again bring home the cup to Toronto. To do so, Toronto will need to rely heavily on Tavarez, Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner playing their part. While many will shy away from a nod favouring the Leafs, the addition of Jack Campbell as their starting goalie and Morgan Rielly as their best defensemen will be a contributing factor. If all goes well, that could sway results in favour of a Stanley Cup final appearance for the first time in over 50 years.
Dark Horse: New York Islanders
Odds to Win: +1700
This year’s Dark Horse is the New York Islanders, a bit surprising to us as well but justified. While they have the roaster needed to win the Stanley Cup, they continually falter under pressure, which isn’t expected to change this season. Last season, they made it one stop short and forced Tampa Bay to Game 7 to decide the Eastern Conference final, and while a noticeable improvement, they lack on the offensive side, which limits their chances this season.