NHL 2021-22 Stanley Cup Futures Update
Although COVID-19 has ravaged the schedule and many teams’ nightly rosters, the NHL season trudges on with the midpoint coming up late this month. Through all those difficulties, the Colorado Avalanche remain the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
At Bovada Sportsbook, the Avalanche top the Stanley Cup futures odds at +550. That puts them just ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, who are both listed at +700.
If you simply look at the NHL standings, it may seem odd that Colorado is the favorite since the Avalanche are currently tied for fifth overall in the Western Conference. However, due to COVID issues, Colorado has played only 29 games, seven less than the conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. If the Avalanche win even half of those games in hand, they would be ahead of Vegas.
Avalanche favored in Stanley Cup futures odds
Colorado has also done that despite stars Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen missing some time. If the Avalanche enter the playoffs healthy, they could be a matchup nightmare for whoever they face.
The defending champion Lightning, who are looking for their third straight Cup win, lead the league with 49 points on the season right now. Making that even more impressive is that they’ve done it without Nikita Kucherov for most of the season, and Braydon Point has also missed 14 games.
The Panthers are only one point back of the Lightning right now with two games in hand. Florida has also braved through injuries to key players this season, notably Aleksander Barkov’s 16-game absence. Jonathan Huberdeau has helped pick up the slack with 42 points in 33 games.
Rounding out the top five on the Cup futures board are Vegas and the Toronto Maple Leafs at +800.
Knights leading conference despite key injuries
The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference right now despite the fact they have rarely iced their best lineup this season. Vegas has been missing Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty on and off throughout the season. Pacioretty is out indefinitely once again after undergoing surgery on his wrist. Goalie Robin Lehner has also had trouble staying in the net at times this season due to injury. We haven’t even mentioned trade acquisition Jack Eichel, who has yet to make his Vegas debut while rehabbing following neck surgery.
Toronto is within striking distance of Tampa Bay in their division, sitting three points back with three games in hand. After a slow start to the season, Austin Matthews leads the team with 20 goals, while William Nylander is finally breaking through with 35 points in 32 games. Could this finally be the year Toronto gets past the first round of the playoffs?
The Stanley Cup odds on a few other notable teams include the Carolina Hurricanes at +900, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers at +1400, and the Edmonton Oilers at +2000. The Anaheim Ducks have climbed up to +3300 after starting the season at +10000.