The NHL season ended just six weeks ago but it has felt like an eternity as we crawl through the dog days of Summer.
Of course, it is an abbreviated offseason as the season ended in July as opposed to June but it still doesn’t make the month of August any less uneventful. Perhaps a Jack Eichel trade could help break the monotony? Don’t get your hopes up.
So, that leaves us with a great opportunity to look at who the early Stanley Cup favorites are heading into the 2022 NHL season.
If you took a guess and said the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning were the favorites, then you’d be wrong. In fact, it is Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and the Colorado Avalanche who sit as the betting favorite just six weeks away from the start of the NHL season. This is despite one of the slowest periods of sports wages placed in the state of Colorado since October 2020, especially during the month of June following the Avalanche’s latest second-round ousting in the playoffs.
So why are the Avalanche consider the favorites despite not making it out of the first round since 2002? Well, look no further than the aforementioned collection of talent that has had the Avalanche knocking on the door the last few seasons. MacKinnon is considered one of the best, if not the best, players in the league as well as guys like Makar, Mikko Rantanen, and Andre Burakovsky. All those players are aged 25 and younger with captain Gabriel Landeskog the wise veteran at 28-years-old.
The Lightning aren’t too far off, sitting just one spot behind the Avalanche and deservedly so as they are coming off back-to-back Stanley Cup wins. They are only the second team to accomplish this in the 21st century.
The Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, and Carolina Hurricanes round out the top five favorites. Newcomer, the Seattle Kraken, have the 21st best odds at +5000.