Odds and best bets for the 2021-22 NHL season: Which +6100 longshot could win the Stanley Cup?
The Tampa Bay Lightning are officially back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in five games on Wednesday night. For the first time since 2015, the Cup was won on home ice. After all the lockdowns and canceled sporting events, it was a sight to behold when Captain, Steven Stamkos, hoisted the Cup in front of his home crowd and a sold-out arena.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) after posting a shutout in Game 5 and dominating all postseason with a .937 SVP, a 1.90 GAA, and five total shutouts. Hats off to the Lightning, they won the hardest trophy in sports for the second year in a row and now hold the record for the shortest time between NHL championships. Now let’s take a look at some future odds for next season.
Stanley Cup odds
Colorado Avalanche +600
Last season’s Cup favorites are once again expected to win it all. One of the best players in the world, Nathan MacKinnon, is still searching for his first Cup and the Avs have the team to do it. With one of the best goaltenders in the league in Philipp Grubauer and the best young defensemen in the game in Cale Makar, Colorado is built for a Cup run and now they’re hungrier than ever.
Tampa Bay Lightning +600
The Lightning are heading into next season tied as the favorite. However, to win three Cups in a row is nearly impossible. Not since the 1980s New York Islanders dynasty team has there been a team that’s won three in a row. The Bolts can do it, but making three consecutive playoff runs will be an extremely difficult challenge for them; that’s a lot of hockey.
Vegas Golden Knights +700
This was supposed to be the year for the Golden Knights and, unfortunately, they suffered another loss in the semi-finals. In their first four seasons, the Knights have made the semis in three years. They’ve struggled to get it done in their last two attempts, but they’re probably one of the safer future bets in terms of their consistency. They also don’t have many free agents this offseason, meaning they’ll enter next season with a very similar roster.
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Toronto Maple Leafs +1100
The Leafs were seen as having a free trip to the semi-finals this season, but then they blew a 3-1 lead to the eventual runners-up in Montreal. There’s no denying the talent this team has, they arguably have the best top-six forwards in the league and their defense was extremely undervalued this year; but they need the effort. There are rumblings that their loss to the Habs shell shocked their locker room. Could the pain of losing this season be the solution to winning next season?
Seattle Kraken +5100
The NHL’s newest franchise will play for the first time next season. There’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding who will be on their team, but they could get some great players with the upcoming expansion draft and the second overall pick for the entry-level draft. The Golden Knights made it to the Cup Finals in their first year, the Kraken are a definite darkhorse but they might tap into some expansion luck just like Vegas from four years ago. With the expansion rules, Seattle will be primed to get an above-average goaltender as well.
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Stanley Cup best Bet
New York Islanders +2600
The New York Islanders were one goal away from the Stanley Cup Finals this year. They lost Game 7 in the semi-finals to the eventual champions 1-0 on a short-handed goal; the first shorthanded goal they allowed all season… It was a terrible way to go out for the Isles and they did it all without their captain and first-line winger, Anders Lee.
Besides the Golden Knights, New York arguably has the best goaltending tandem in the league with Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin. It was Sorokin’s first year in the league and the rookie goaltender looked elite on most nights. In 2018-2019, Sorokin won the KHL playoff MVP. If he can continue to develop his game in the NHL, he should provide the Islanders with excellent goaltending next season and likely becomes their starter. The Islanders have now made the conference finals two years in a row, at +2600 they have incredible value.
Stanley Cup longshot pick
Vancouver Canucks +6100
The Vancouver Canucks had terrible luck this season. From their star player Elias Pettersson getting injured and missing half the season, to the entire team getting COVID-19 and never being able to find their footing afterward; this team needs a bounce back. Two years ago the Canucks knocked off the defending Cup champs, the St. Louis Blues, and made it to the second round. This extremely young core has proven they can win in the playoffs, and win against tough teams.
With the divisions expected to go back to normal, the Canucks should be one of the better teams in the Pacific Division. The Pacific has been the weakest division for years now, and Vancouver has some of the best skill and speed in the entire league. The Canucks are a longshot for a reason, but in the Pacific division their chances of making the playoffs are much greater. In the NHL if you make it to the dance, you have a chance; look at the Habs this season.
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