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2022 Stanley Cup odds: Bruins not among top five favorites originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The 2021 Stanley Cup Final ended earlier this week with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning back-to-back championships.
The hockey world has now shifted to the 2021-22 season, and so have oddsmakers.
The initial betting lines for the 2022 Stanley Cup title were posted this week, and the Lightning are not the favorites. The last franchise to win three consecutive Stanley Cups was the New York Islanders, who actually won four straight championships from 1980 through 1983.
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Here are the new odds for the 2022 Stanley Cup -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Colorado Avalanche were the favorites to win the Stanley Cup for much of this past season, and with good reason because their roster was loaded with elite talent. But they ultimately lost in Game 7 of the second round to the Vegas Golden Knights, who also should be a top contender next season.
The Avs should bring back a strong team again in 2021-22, but they have a lot of good players about to hit free agency -- including Gabriel Landeskog, Brandon Saad and Philipp Grubauer, etc. -- and bringing them all back might be impossible. Colorado has some tough decisions to make over the next month.
The Leafs being ahead of the Boston Bruins also is a little surprising given Toronto's inability to win big games. We saw it again this season when the Leafs blew a 3-1 lead to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, including losses at home in Game 5 and Game 7.
The Bruins, like the Avalanche, have several key players about to become free agents. If the Bruins re-sign their most important free agents and make a couple small improvements, they could easily be the second-best team in the Eastern Conference behind the Lightning next season.
The Lightning will enter the 2021-22 campaign with the best chance to win the Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay's roster is that good, even if it suffers some salary cap casualties. The Lightning will have plenty of competition, though, which should make for an exciting season.