With 1271 regular-season games ahead of us, the NHL regular season gets underway on October 12 and after two disrupted years, the league is back to full length this time, with the addition of a new franchise – Seattle Kraken – to shake things up. So, will Tampa Bay triumph for the third year in a row or is it time for a new city to claim the Stanley Cup? Find out more with our NHL Betting Guide.
|Stanley Cup Winner|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+600||+550||+500|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+850||+700||+750|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1100||+1100||+1200|
|New York Islanders||+1600||+1900||+1800|
|New York Rangers||+1800||+2000||+2200|
The three-peat has been achieved on five occasions by three separate teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and New York Islanders, so Tampa Bay Lightning are aiming to join an illustrious club. But bettors aren’t entirely convinced about their chances. Tampa Bay are generally second in the odds rankings, with Colorado Avalanche edging favoritism in the Stanley Cup winner’s market.
The Avalanche were Presidents’ Trophy winners last season so it’s not a huge surprise to see them at the top of the markets, or the team that knocked them out in the second round of the playoffs, Vegas Golden Knights, in third place. A little further back, there is some support for Boston Bruins and Toronto, while the Islanders have also attracted some bettors in recent days.
There will be plenty of bettors keen to back Tampa Bay for the three-peat but they have lost a chunk of depth in the off-season and they’ve played more hockey than any other franchise over the last few months, so they could be vulnerable at the business end of the season, while the ultra-tough Atlantic Division could have taken its toll by the time we get to the play-offs.
Toronto are capable of stunning hockey at times and can outscore any side, but do they have the consistency required to lift the Stanley Cup? That is in question, while the goaltending situation at Boston means bettors need to tread carefully if they’re going to support the Bruins. The Islanders look a little more interesting, with Barry Trotz in his fourth season as coach, but while their forward strength is impressive, their defense is weaker and the value in their price has evaporated over the summer.
Colorado are top of the markets for a reason, and exiting the play-offs at an early stage last time around may work in their favor in terms of additional rest as well as giving them a feeling of unfinished business that should serve as handy motivation. They look set to dominate the regular season once again, and their current price is likely to disappear pretty quickly once they get underway.
Colorado are going to take some stopping this season, but if you wanted a little insurance, who else can be considered as legitimate challengers out West?
Minnesota Wild were one of the surprises of the last season, but it is far from certain that they will be able to sustain a season-long challenge this time around, so their current odds aren’t that attractive. Dallas Stars made it to the Finals in 2020 then missed the playoffs completely last time, so you could be in for a roller-coaster ride if you hitch your wagon to that particular contender and their odds aren’t great.
It will be fascinating to see how Seattle fare and the recent experience of the Golden Knights, who have been an elite level team ever since joining the NHL, means that there is a clear precedent for teams making an immediate impact. Still, it’s probably asking too much for them to win in the West’s first time out, so with Edmonton’s defense still a mess, and both Calgary and Vancouver coming off mediocre seasons, I’ll be sticking with Vegas as my backup plan in the West.
The focus here is on the loaded Atlantic Division, but the three big guns – Tampa, Boston, and Toronto – all have flaws, as noted above. The three-peat is a tough thing to achieve and at the current odds, there’s not a lot of value in backing Tampa to pull it off, so if you’re looking for an alternative in the east, the Florida Panthers make a lot of sense.
Florida has done some good business this summer, bringing in the right-winger Sam Reinhart from Buffalo and veteran Joe Thornton is a good fourth-line addition. The prospect of a full season from Aaron Ekblad and Sergei Bobrovsky, along with the resigning of key players such as Sam Bennett and Gustav Forsling sets them up nicely for a strong campaign and I like their chances in the East.